Can We Replace Congress With Politically Minded Authors?


If LitPAC ran for Congress, we’d know what we’d be getting. The cabal of politically minded authors is confident (“Progressive values are American values”), its platform is clearer than some Democrats’ (American military power as a last resort, with honest and full disclosure)—and they’ve got bookish charm (in some districts, offering Election Day get-out-the-vote phone calls from your favorite writer). For midterms in 2006, LitPAC plans to support at least 15 House candidates with money raised through individual donations and fundraisers like the Progressive Reading Series. Money goes to handpicked candidates “who support our values and are not afraid to say so,” such as Democrat and former schoolteacher Nick Lampson of TX-22, the southeast Texas district that brought us Tom DeLay. In this month’s series, executive director Stephen Elliott (author of 2004’s Looking Forward to It, an unruly, heartbreaking journal of a year on the campaign trail) hosts and Mary Gaitskill, Rick Moody, David Rakoff, Amanda Stern, and Jim Shepard read. June’s installment will feature Malcolm Gladwell, Ariel Levy, Sean Wilsey, Colson Whitehead, and Jonathan Franzen.