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What happens when an actor who plays a fictional US President on television gets drawn into real-world politics?
Set in the year 2019, The 28th Amendment introduces us to an actor named Victor Glade who plays the President in a popular television series called The Oval Office, and does his job a little too well — embarrassing and threatening the Administration of the real President, Republican Burton Grove.
When a wealthy fan of The Oval Office launches a campaign to draft Glade into the 2020 presidential race, Glade insists he won’t run, and instead discharges his civic duty by endorsing the 28th Amendment — a proposal to limit the total amount of money that can be spent on Federal general elections.
The already-paranoid Grove Administration, vehemently opposed to the 28th Amendment, soon concludes that The Oval Office is no longer just a television show but also an unregistered political party, and tries to shut it down.
The result is a startling, twisting tale of espionage, domestic terrorism and presidential politics that pits the Grove Administration’s theocratic Chief-of-Staff, Morely James, against the enormously popular Victor Glade and his coincidence-prone, card-playing lawyer Jeremy Lerner.
By turns intelligent, fascinating, and outrageously funny, Rechtman’s narrative works on several levels. It explores the potential for conflict between politics and entertainment in a media-defined age, and is also a chilling parable of the US government’s relentless stoking and exploitation of our nation’s post-9/11 Osamaphobia. At the same time, in the realm of non-fiction, the 28th Amendment is an actual proposed amendment to the US Constitution that addresses campaign finance reform by limiting the total amount of money that can be spent on Federal general elections (cf. www.amendment-28.com; click the right-side arrow “FACT”).