The iCandidate: 25th Installment
iVote in this Installment, and send your favorite iCandidate on to the election! Your iVote really matters - decide who will face Hilary and Trump this November!
To begin with Installment 1, please click here.
The iCandidate is a guilty pleasure - a unique interactive thriller about a political reality show to choose a potential President of the United States - in which the reader has a key say in how the plot unfolds.
In The iCandidate, eight finalists from all walks of life face the kind of challenges they might have to deal with in the Oval Office:
• Will they use the nuclear button?
• What will they do about ISIS?
• How will they cope in a crisis?
At the end of each round the reader gets to cast an iVote to help determine who stays and who goes home. It is democracy in its purest form, free from party loyalties, donor obligations and antiquated electoral practices - and it keeps the authors on their toes!
In the novel, serialized weekly only on NoteStream, the eventual people’s champion goes on to challenge the political establishment in an iCampaign for the presidency climaxing in an explosive finale in Washington on November 8.
But The iCandidate has even greater aspirations to trigger a revolution in the way America selects the most powerful man or woman on the planet, and really, would it be any crazier than what we've got now?
Change America one iVote at a time - and cheer on your iCandidate! Be sure to cast your in-app iVotes to save your favorite iCandidates!
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For a list of all authors on NoteStream, click here.
Read the NoteStream below, or download the app and read it on the go!
CHAPTER 76 - SHOWDOWN
In just 24 hours, Tom, Grace or Todd would be crowned The iCandidate.
“This is it folks. We’ve reached the end of our competition. They’ve done all they can and now it’s up to you, America. We’ll have our studio vote in just a moment, and you at home, please be ready to start voting.” Kristoff shouted over the credits.
“Our special results show is tomorrow night, at Dodger Stadium, so, as usual, we’re going to keep you in suspense for twenty-four hours. When you are ready studio audience, whose iVote are you sending?”
“MyiVote,” the audience shouted.
“That’s right. So, you all know what to do.”
The screen flickered into life, and two bar graphs and a pie chart loomed in bright colors as the votes translated to the screen. Within one minute all the studio votes were in.
Too Close To Call
“This is amazing. Could it be any closer?” Kristoff gasped. “For the very first time in this competition, Grace has taken the lead, only by a hair, but with 44% to Todd’s 42%. Tom trails with 14% of the vote.”
Everyone now knew this was just between Todd and Grace. “Now it’s up to you at home,” Kristoff spun to face Camera One.
He closed the show: “Vote for the iCandidate that echoes your own thoughts, your beliefs. Vote for the man or woman who you believe can achieve extraordinary things.
And yes, vote for the iCandidate who you think could go on to become the President of the United States.
To quote a certain Republican senator who upset a few people over in Cleveland, ‘Vote your conscience.’
I can’t see what’s so bad about that.
“We’ll see you tomorrow night. From myself, the judges, and our very impressive iCandidates here at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, goodnight and God bless!”
Grace left the stage. Gillian was waiting to congratulate her.
Todd tried to squeeze past, obviously in a hurry, but Grace stopped him. “Well done, Todd, that was quite an adrenalin rush out there tonight and you did a fine job. Except for that cheap shot at the end, of course.”
She extended her hand and he looked embarrassed, hesitating before taking it. He glanced at Gillian.
“You too, Grace. You were a formidable opponent. I was just trying to make my point. You know it wasn’t personal.”
“Oh, it was to me. Let’s hope for your sake, women voters still love you.”
He walked away wearing a tight smile as Gillian narrowed her eyes. “Typical man. But it’s all karma. You’re gonna win, Grace.”
CHAPTER 77 – IN THE GAME
Todd’s research on the movers and shakers in Washington was so thorough he immediately recognized three people sitting at a discreet table at a private club, in downtown Los Angeles.
Desmond was with the middle-aged trio in their blazers, slacks and twin set. “I think you guys probably know plenty about our three finalists here,” he said standing up. “Todd, Grace, Tom, I want you to meet Senators Timothy Sheff, Bill Foreman, and Congresswoman Denise Fury.”
The other three iCandidate founders, Jacqueline, Kristoff, and Mason, joined them a few minutes later.
Looking For Answers
The euphoria of the final show earlier that evening had quickly worn off and Grace felt physically and emotionally exhausted. Why they’d been dragged there she had no idea.
“I don’t need to tell you guys that we are talking in absolute confidentiality,” Kristoff said, squeezing in next to Tom. They were sitting in a dimly lit alcove in a quiet corner. The century-old club located inside a grand, renaissance style building was in the city’s business district.
No, you don’t, thought Grace, because I don’t actually know why we’re here.
“Our friends here,” Desmond made a sweeping gesture towards the lawmakers, “kindly agreed to make the trip across country to meet the three of you.”
“We’re honored,” Grace offered graciously.
“They’ll be backstage with us at the results show tomorrow and I’ve assured them a big surprise. Bill, would you mind explaining what’s going on?”
The balding senator looked like he had never had to shave a day in his life, although he must have been at least 50. He had a habit of smiling after virtually every sentence.
“As you may know, I was closely involved in Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign and Timothy, my colleague from across the aisle, single-handedly got George W. elected the second time around; he marshaled the evangelical Christian vote. Denise mobilized the current president’s Internet donation network.
Long story short, we know how to win presidential elections and we’re prepared to help you.”
“But we don’t even know who the iCandidate will be until tomorrow,” Grace said.
“That’s not important,” Desmond responded. “One of you will be the iCandidate, one of you will be the running mate.
The third… well, we will get to that in a moment. The point is that our friends here are prepared to help make the iCampaign a reality.”
“That’s fantastic,” Tom gushed.
“But why would you do that when you’re already in Congress?” Grace asked, slightly confused. “Won’t your parties go ballistic?”
“They will be unhappy, certainly,” Senator Sheff said. He looked a little like Pee Wee Herman. “But you can leave them to us.”
“We’re not alone,” Rep. Fury interjected. “Many of our colleagues are facing a lot of pressure from our constituents to make the kind of changes being talked about on The iCandidate.
What The People Want
Quite simply, many are being told to join forces with you or risk taking a beating at the ballot box. There are at least 100 of us who are defending narrow majorities and are willing to try something new; but, we need to determine whether the show’s popularity is just a flash in the pan.”
Peering more closely at the three finalists above her bifocals, she added: “We need to know whether you’re serious. That’s why we asked to meet you tonight.”
“We couldn’t be more serious. We haven’t come all this way to let up now. This is just the start.” Todd had a habit of making everything he said sound like part of a speech.
“My thoughts exactly,” Desmond added. “But I can see that our friends may still need some convincing. I think that after tomorrow night, you will see just how serious we are.”
“I’m sure we’re all looking forward to that,” Senator Foreman took a sip of wine. “And if that turns out to be the case, I think I can speak for all three of us when I say we’ll be prepared to work with you and develop the campaign.”
“Our only proviso,” Senator Sheff leaned forward, “is that our involvement remains confidential, at least in the early stages.”
“There is something else.” The congresswoman brushed her boyish bangs away from her face.
“We each want cast iron guarantees that we’ll be in the Cabinet if we pull this thing off. I want Education, Bill wants Defense and Tim has his eyes on the Treasury.”
Kristoff glanced at Desmond before answering. “I’m afraid that’s out of the question, our other iCandidate finalists will certainly want to be considered and we…”
“How about this?” interrupted Desmond. “Help the iCampaign to victory and you’ll all be in the Cabinet, but we can’t guarantee your exact roles. Is that reasonable?”
Rep. Fury looked at her two colleagues and they all nodded. “It looks like we have a deal.”
CHAPTER 78 – SHOWTIME
Todd believed himself invincible; he’d visualized this moment so many times in his head. Although he felt bad about bringing up the attack on Grace, he really felt he had no choice.
Tom knew he wasn’t going to win; he was astonished he’d survived so long. He never even thought he’d make it through the first round; the fact that he’d come so far gave him hope that America had also come much further than many gave it credit for. He was happy just to enjoy the moment.
Grace looked out across the sea of people and it literally took her breath away.
Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock
The finale was originally going to be held at the Staples Center, but there was so much demand it was switched to Dodger Stadium which is three times bigger. She never expected to win either, and was pleasantly surprised every time she passed through to the next stage.
But she wanted this now, for a number of reasons.
Her parents, of course. She wanted to win it for them, to make sure everyone in the country knew about their sacrifice. But most importantly, she wanted to win for the great majority of ordinary people who wanted the same things she did; a roof over their heads, food for their families; a little room to dream of better days, and for their opinions to matter.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re finally here.” Kristoff’s voice echoed across the vast floor of the stadium. “Allow me to introduce your judges one last time.”
The judges walked out from the back of the stage, the men in tuxedos and Jacqueline in a flowing, white backless gown.
“Please also welcome back Dulce Ramirez, Cameron Banks, Rich Francombe, Jennifer Flynt, and Gillian Lawfull!”
The five walked out on stage together to deafening applause, waving and smiling at the crowd. In turn, Kristoff asked them how The iCandidate had changed their lives. A brief video depicting each contestant's journey was played on giant screens around the stadium.
“Tonight is just the beginning for our winner,” Kristoff pointed out, moving back to center stage. “He or she will get to choose their dream team from a pool of campaign experts recruited from across the political spectrum.
The first ever iCandidate will lead the new iCan Party in the iCampaign in this year’s presidential election. This is history in the making, America, and here are the three finalists at the vanguard of the new political frontier - Tom Jodes, Grace Conwright, and Todd Greenacre.”
They walked out together with Tom, more formal than usual in a cherry red suit, Todd, looking a million dollars in a black Armani tux, and Grace stunning in a midnight blue, Badgley Mischka, one-shoulder, ruffled organza gown.
The nation was kept in suspense while Rob Balfour and Paul McCartney performed solo versions of their greatest hits. Nicholas Byrnes, the father of the Marine killed by friendly fire, was invited to join them both on stage for an encore.
The judges preened about how they had chosen such wonderful candidates.
Now, Tom, Todd, and Grace watched the show in silence from the wings with Tom cracking jokes despite their nerves frayed ragged by the wait through a succession of commercial breaks.
Then it was time.
“Everyone at home please read through the short list of finalists on your NoteStream app and pick the one you want to lead your country,” said Kristoff.
Please start our final iVote NOW.
Make It Count
He paused. Even the unflappable presenter was caught up in the moment.
“The next President of the United States does not need to be Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. You have seen the alternatives for yourself. You judge therm every week. You know what they can do.
“Ladies and gentleman, it’s time for us to step up for what’s right. Let’s make this iVote count.”
The lights went down. This was it.