The People’s Choice


Chapter Summaries & Ideas To Consider

Just a reminder:  only hand written notes are allowed on the day of the quiz.  This cannot simply be printed out and brought to class.  Good luck!


Chapter One


·        We’re introduced to Al DeRossa who works in the media.  A TV network is tearing down the temporary set from the previous election.  It was complete chaos for DeRossa until the election, but now he figures things will calm down now that the winner in the election has been determined.

·        The winner in the past day’s election almost lost due to the background of his Vice Presidential running mate and some “troubling statements” made by this running mate during the campaign.


Chapter Two


·        The scene shifts to the advisors for the winner in the recent presidential campaign.  The campaign manager is angry and wants to blame a staff member because the winner of the election (President-elect) will be forced into a photo-op due to a promise made during the campaign.


Chapter Three


·        Lawyer/lobbyist Jack Petitcon is introduced. He is trying to manipulate a member of the press. There isn’t much detail (yet), but Petitcon may have offered his Party’s presidential candidate some advice, which was ignored.

·        Reverend W. Dixon Mason is introduced.  He also is trying to manipulate a member of the press.  In the previous election, it seems as if Mason held a grudge against one of the candidates.


Chapter Four


·        The campaign manager for the losing candidate in the previous election looks back to try to determine why his candidate lost the election.  His personal life is in a shambles.  It seems as if something happened with black voters (who usually would have voted for his candidate) the days before the election that influenced them to stay home, and not vote, on Election Day.


Chapter Five


·        We meet an old veterinarian who is charged with making sure the horse ridden by the President-elect is a good choice for someone to ride who is not experienced with horses.


·        Chapter Six


·        We get a behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming photo-op involving the President-elect.  It seems that his staff and the press are only worried about images and photo-opportunities, rather than developing substantive policies designed to help improve the country.


Chapter Seven


·        During the photo-op the President-elect’s horse becomes startled, the President-elect is thrown from the horse, and he breaks his leg.

·        Everyone is stunned but it seems like the press is just out for blood and TV ratings as they capitalize on the spectacle of the event.


Chapter Eight


·        The spectacle surrounding the President-elect’s injury continues.  Members of the press are portrayed as stupid; among other things they ask dumb questions and repeat information.

·        The President-elect dies.


An Interlude On Chance


·        NUMEROUS previous elections are mentioned and described.  Essentially, “chance” has had a major impact on the development of the nation.  In previous decades, if just a small percentage of the US population had changed their vote, the outcome would have been much different.  Assassination attempts have been made in the past—if they had been successful (or unsuccessful) this would have led to very different outcomes for the nation.


Chapter Nine


·        This chapter focuses on the very rough life members of the media face.  They are average people who work hours and hours each week chasing a story, and spend very little time with their families.  Several generalized stories are used as examples.

·        The scene shifts again to the story involving the death of the President-elect and shows how the media picked up on the “scoop” and reported it.


Chapter 10


·        We’re introduced to the Vice President-elect & we see his profile/background.  He’s young, rich, handsome—that’s why he was picked as a running mate.  Unfortunately, he’s not very smart.


Chapter 11


·        The scene shifts to the VP-elect’s chief of staff who has had to “babysit” him through the previous campaign.  When she learned of the President-elect’s death, she was upset, but then realized she would go from a “baby-sitter” to a key advisor to the man who was now in line to become the next President of the United States.


Chapter 12


·        The chapter begins with a network commentator practicing his coverage for the upcoming funeral of the President-elect (viewers don’t know it, but he’s a jerk in real life).

·        There is a lot of uncertainty as to what the next step will involve due to the death of the President-elect.  Images of the previous campaign are presented, such as when the VP-elect’s chief of staff manipulated the media to make her candidate look good in the campaign.


Chapter 13


·        The chapter begins by describing people who call into TV stations to point out the factual errors that are common. 

·        Behind the scenes of the TV network, the reporters and executives are trying to figure out what will happen next.  The candidate for the Republican Party won the Presidential election.  Due to his death, will the party simply declare a vacancy, name the VP-elect up to President, and then nominate a new VP?  They’re not sure.

·        They don’t know who was serving as electors.  However, what is clear is that 538 people will have the power to choose the next President.


Chapter 14

·        We are introduced to Dorothy Ledger and given her profile.  She is devastated by the death of the President-elect and uncomfortable with his choice for VP.


Chapter 15


·        The VP-elect is preparing a speech for the memorial service of the President-elect.  His Chief of staff has manipulated him in the past and hopes to get him to deliver the prepared speech.  He wants to use his own words instead.


Chapter 16


·        At the memorial service for the President-elect, the VP-elect puts aside the prepared speech and speaks from the heart.  His speech is a flop.


Chapter 17


·        The press is analyzed—most people think the press is out “for blood,” but instead, they just don’t want to look stupid in front of millions of people.  While the VP-elect clearly said something stupid in his speech, their initial reaction is very timid. 


Chapter 18


·        We’re introduced to Connor Doyle (a Republican & House Minority Leader).  He realizes the VP-elect has just made a mistake and speaks with the chief of staff of the VP-elect.


Chapter 19


·        Jack Petitcon is contracted by the Speaker of the House (Democrat) who is seeking advice.  It turns out the Republicans want him to speak at their National Committee Meeting to nominate the VP-elect to become President.  The House Speaker and Petitcon are stunned.


Chapter 20


·        Jack Petitcon gives Al DeRossa a history lesson concerning the electoral college and hints that although Republicans won the popular vote (and a majority of the electoral vote), due to the VP-elect’s actions, the Republican electors may not support the VP-elect.  Petitcon also calls several other members of the media with this story.