South Lake Tahoe author publishes book with roots in 2016 election |

South Lake Tahoe author publishes book with roots in 2016 election

Autumn Whitney
South Lake Tahoe local Clark Vandeventer's new book, "Backdoor to the White House," released on Aug. 19.
Courtesy / Clark Vandeventer |

South Shore resident and author Clark Vandeventer followed his first election at the age of 12 and referred to himself as a “Ronald Reagan fanatic” in high school. In college he began his time at the Reagan Ranch in Santa Barbara as an intern and eventually moved up to deputy director, spending a total of eight years on the property.

“I’ve always been a political junkie,” he said.

Vandeventer’s newest book, “Backdoor to the White House,” was published on Aug. 19 and examines what happens when neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump gets elected president in November. The fiction, based on real people, is accompanied by the tagline “Never Trump? Never Hillary?” and is set in the months between Election Night and Inauguration Day.

In this hypothetical world, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson has won the state of New Mexico, giving him five electoral votes, compared to Clinton’s 264 and Trump’s 269. All fall short of the 270 electoral votes necessary to become President of the United States.

“I looked at the map — what would happen if [Gary Johnson] won New Mexico and Trump and Clinton split the rest? I became obsessed,” Vandeventer said.

What happens next is a combination of the 12th Amendment — a premise that revolves around what to do when no presidential candidate reaches the 270 electoral votes required for election — and a frenzy of political negotiations that the reader gets to explore, discovering who will be named the next leader of the United States of America on January 20, 2017.

“[The book] educates on the 12th Amendment and about the question is a vote for a Libertarian a wasted vote, and my answer is no,” Vandeventer said. “All that has to happen is one little thing.”

From the idea’s conception to the book’s publication, the entire process took Vandeventer 70 days.

“I felt urgency to publish. If things change after [the book comes out], it’s whatever. If things change before [publication], I have to change the whole book,” Vandeventer said.

After running for U.S. Congress in 2010 and losing, Vandeventer became so disillusioned with politics that he ceased to vote in 2012. He contributes his return to the political scene to the fun he had watching Republicans fight in the early stages of the 2016 race, and expressed some interest in seeing his fictional story play out in real life.

“I just want to pop my popcorn and watch the show,” he said.

“If you like House of Cards, the Da Vinci Code or other alternative histories, I think you’ll like the book,” Vandeventer added.

Additional information can be found at, and the book is available for purchase on Amazon.

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