Meet Adam Gordon Sachs, author of Don't Knock, He's Dead, on August 23rd at 6:30pm!
Don't Knock, He's Dead: A Longshot Candidate Gets Schooled in the Unseemly Underbelly of American Campaign Politics
Primary election night, and I had nowhere to go. Ordinarily not a big deal, except I was a candidate, and candidates always have somewhere to be, somewhere their supporters are gathering in anticipation to shake their hand and celebrate. In the galaxy of campaigns, I was the ring, not the Saturn. But for a year, I was in the orbit of a rollicking, free-for-all, 10-candidate race that one observer called a "three-ring circus," complete with carpetbaggers, doctors, a governor's speechwriter, a disbarred attorney and a legendary senator's daughter. The race was an education in politics’ exhilaration and disillusion, its meaningfulness and corruption.
Don’t Knock, He’s Dead: A Longshot Candidate Gets Schooled in the Unseemly Underbelly of American Campaign Politics takes readers into the trenches of my longshot bid for Maryland delegate, with no political machine, in the dog-eat-dog, incestuous, narcissistic world of politics. It’s the unvarnished story of an under-funded, Everyman’s challenge to break into a Byzantine, sycophantic business, where cozy relationships, cronyism, influence, backroom deals, power plays and horse-trading rule the day and politicians consolidate their power to form a perpetual ruling class. My race was like the RMS Titanic: Some candidates would receive priority service, sailing and dining first-class and aided by the arms of many in authority positions onto the seaworthy boats, destined for survival; others, like me, would be left aimlessly at sea to their own devices, cueing up in steerage for porridge and begging for a life vest, seemingly pre-destined to go down with the ship.
Don’t Knock, He’s Dead peels back the curtain to find questionable practices to be routinely performed to strengthen and enrich those who are entrenched insiders and well-versed in political gamesmanship:
• A candidate who is a member of a powerful “team slate” drops out on the election deadline to withdraw, only to be replaced two days later on the candidate filing deadline by her husband.
• An entrenched state senator with a massive “war chest” uses his largesse to distribute a quarter-million dollars to more than 40 other candidates and political slates over a four-year election cycle to strengthen allegiances.
• A wife who is a high-earning lobbyist represents several of the same industries – and in some cases, the same organizations – that make large political contributions to her husband, the powerful Senate budget chairman.
• A longtime delegate with leadership positions on several health care committees receives 60 percent of her campaign contributions from health care and health insurance interests. • A state senator who lost a bid for Congress resigned his Senate seat more than a year early to become an uber-lobbyist, spreading his remaining campaign money into contributions to more than 60 different political organizations to solidify his future business relationships.
What you will find in Don’t Knock, He’s Dead, if you’ve ever had the aspiration to run for a high-stakes public office, or even wondered what a political candidate must endure, is what it’s like to spend every weekend and many weeknights until dusk knocking on doors of strangers; to be ignored by political organizations supposedly responsible for fairly evaluating candidates to make endorsements; to feel poor and unsuccessful among more financially-connected candidates; and to be exposed to public criticism and targeted for barbs by highly opinionated, unfiltered bloggers. If you’ve ever wondered whether it would be worth the time and effort to run for public office, or maybe if you're just waiting for that perfect "someday" -- you know, when the moon eclipses the sun, cicadas emerge after 17 years underground and the Chicago Cubs win the World Series, "someday" -- Don’t Knock, He’s Dead will either inspire you to throw your hat in the ring or disavow you of that foolish notion forever.
Adam Gordon Sachs has garnered 2,277 votes in his two unsuccessful runs for public office, county council in 2006 and state delegate in 2014. He is a master’s degree candidate in pastoral counseling at Loyola University-Maryland (2017 graduation) and has interned as a therapist at outpatient community mental health clinics. He has worked in public relations representing a health care profession, health insurer, developmental disability agency, public school reform organization and the American Lung Association. He has been a reporter for the Baltimore Sun, Sarasota (FL) Herald-Tribune, NFL Properties and health care trade publications. His first book, the novel Three Yards and a Plate of Mullet, also published by Sirenian Publishing, describes the travails of a rookie sportswriter in a backwater Florida town covering an intense season of high school football and going head-to-head against the ruthless, win-at-all-costs coach from the town’s dynastic family. Sachs lives in Columbia, Maryland with his wife, Amy. He has two children, Rebecca and Daniel.