The Candidates Review
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Every four years, this country finds itself in another heated battle to see which politician will end up in the nation’s highest office. It’s a year of heated debates—generally with a heaping side of name-calling and maybe a touch of scandal. This year, it’s more like a circus sideshow. But even this presidential race can’t compete with the craziness of author Matthew S. Hiley’s political satire The Candidates.

The story follows the campaigns of the two front-runners in the latest presidential election. Republican Skip LaDouche is a clueless and power hungry failed businessman. He’s in favor of guns, big business, and warming up the environment—just as God intended. Democrat Harry Pinko is a lazy hippie who’s fighting for equality for all and the people’s right to work 10-hour weeks and live off government handouts. But they share one thing in common: a pretty reality TV star who’s about to expose them both. And the cover-up quickly turns from desperate to deadly to comically catastrophic.

Even a few years ago (when it was originally self-published), The Candidates would have sounded like a ridiculous, over-the-top political farce. And, in a way, it still does. But after the antics we’ve already seen from the latest presidential race, it hits a little too close to home.

Here, the presidential campaign is more of a reality TV circus than a real political campaign—a wild mix of attention-grabbing, mud-slinging, and no holds barred death match. And each new threat—whether it’s the threat of an exposed scandal or the threat of a televised debate that neither candidate can handle—makes the behind-the-scenes battle more vicious and violent and totally outlandish.

Hiley tells the story without bias—except, perhaps, a strong anti-politician bias. Both of these candidates are unqualified, self-serving, and completely uninterested in what’s best for the American people. Neither party is safe from his wild and wacky skewering—and while that will most likely offend diehard members of both parties, it will definitely amuse the politically cynical.

The humor, meanwhile, may often be clever and perceptive, but it’s also about as sophomoric as it gets. The characters all have names that sound like the product of a 12-year-old boy’s imagination, and the characters’ actions really are no better. They act more like children than potential leaders of our nation. But while their behavior may be frustrating and entirely immature, it’s all a part of the absurdly irreverent appeal of this outrageous political comedy.

If you’re already tired of the bitterness and violence of this year’s presidential race, The Candidate is the perfect solution. Because, unlike this year’s real political drama, there’s absolutely nothing serious about the fictional version.

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