Dateline Nov. 8, 2016: What the freak? You gotta be kidding. After all this?
It was an unpleasant surprise. Everyone thought voters would decide the nation’s 45th president Nov. 8, followed by the electoral college confirming the popular choice. But no, Trump and Hillary, traded angry criticisms all the way to the end, stayed neck and neck and then tied — yes, tied — with an equal number of electoral votes, 269.
By law, that put the job of choosing the president in the hands of the House of Representatives. The Constitution says that, in the case of a tie, the House must meet in early January to choose a new leader for the country and the Senate must choose the VP.
With the possibility looming that the House — expected to be more evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats after Nov. 8 — would also end up stalemated over this thing, the leaders of both political parties, nauseous at the thought of more nasty electioneering, decided we could not afford to wait.
There was urgency. Wikileaks in mid-November revealed that Russia planned an invasion of Cuba — by New Year’s Day.
Congress met hastily and passed emergency legislation to settle the election another way: using a polygraph.
Deciding who was the biggest liar seemed to be a fitting way to end an election season marked by claims and counterclaims of untruthfulness, exaggeration and downright prevarication.
With President Obama also signing off on the plan, a Senate “True Dat” committee hired the world’s top polygraph operator, arranged for Hillary and Trump to face-off at the Walter E. Washington convention center in D.C., contracted cable TV coverage and solicited tough questions from Trump and Hillary supporters.
Trump tried at first to put the event off for a week, claiming he hurt his back picking up a lookalike baby wearing a wig in Philadelphia. But, organizers pressed him to show; they agreed he could use a recliner on stage.
Of course, everyone realized that lie detectors have flaws. But these were desperate times and the man hired, Barry B. Truman, had been recognized internationally for outing those prone to lying.
So, with the world watching, Truman went to work.
To Hillary: Did your husband have sex with that woman?
Hillary: Well, that certainly depends on what you mean by sex. And just hold on a minute. I want to note something here as part of the record. If that machine shows an increase in my heart rate, it could have nothing to do with lying. This is somewhat provocative subject matter, you know.
Trump: You can ask me about sex, I like it when my heart races. I’m in fantastic shape, the best shape of any candidate for president ever. I have stamina.
Truman: Please, Mr. Trump. You will get your turn. Ms. Clinton, we’re only trying to get a baseline here, by asking questions with obvious answers.
Trump: I have one for her. Did you create ISIS before or after you decided to send all our manufacturing jobs to Mexico?
Hillary: Right back at you, vulgarian. Did you start groping women before or after you learned that your hands were unnaturally small?
Truman: All right. All right. Settle down, now, both of you. Let’s move on. You both agreed to this, right?
Trump: She lied about agreeing to it.
Hillary stares at Trump, face reddening as her lie detector machine starts scribbling wildly.
Truman: Ms. Clinton, another baseline question, was your private email server that was subpoenaed by the FBI called “Hiding Mail for Dummies?”
Hillary: Jeez, I dunno. I might need to take the Fifth on that one. Donald seems to know everything about the FBI and my emails. Maybe he ought to answer that one.
Trump (brought out of a distracted stare off into his crowd of supporters): No, I didn’t have sex with that woman.
Truman: Mr. Trump, let’s try some basic questions with you, to establish that baseline.
Trump: OK, but as I told you beforehand I’m injured from my last campaign event. I’m going to relax in this chair. By the way, Hillary paid that baby to hurt me. She paid it $1,000. You better believe that she did. And we have proof; she’ll be prosecuted.
Truman: Please, Mr. Trump. Focus. Is your last name Flintstone?
Trump: That’s a vicious slander! Did she tell you that? I’m better looking than that obese cartoon caveman. That is the worst. Ridiculous. The worst. (As a female camera operator catches his eye, he kicks back in the recliner and whispers to her: I wouldn’t kick Betty Rubble outta bed, though. If ya get my drift.)
Truman: Mr. Trump. Please just answer the questions. Here’s another. Are you a red-blooded American?
Trump: Well, geez. What a silly question. Why, I … why, what have you heard?
Hillary: Can we please move this along. I have better things to do than stand here next to a wimpy billionaire who can be put out of commission by an infant.
Trump: I know you are but what am I?
Truman: OK. OK. Settle down please. I need to ask Ms. Clinton these important questions. Ms. Clinton, did you deliberately mislead America about using a private email server to share classified information?
Hillary: Not that I recall at this time.
Truman: Did you arrange for special access to anyone in the Obama administration in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation?
Hillary: Not that comes to mind as I try to recall this afternoon.
Truman: Were you truthful with Congress about the Benghazi situation that resulted in American deaths?
Hillary: Yes, even if they failed to ask the right questions.
Trueman: OK, Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump. Are you awake?
Let me put that another way. Not at least as I can recall with complete accuracy this afternoon. See what I did there. I’m answering like her, like a lawyer. Or should I say “liar?” You know she’s a liar, don’t you. Everybody knows that.
Truman: OK, Mr. Trump, did you ever grope a woman’s genital area as you were advocating to the TV personality Billy Bush?
Trump: Hah! No, I never even touched that part of a woman, any woman, ever! That is just disgusting. Ridiculous.
Truman: Hmm. Well. That’s surprising. How about this: Did you walk into the dressing rooms during beauty pageants when women or girls were nude or partially nude?
Trump: Are you crazy? I’ve never even been to a beauty contest. I don’t believe in them. If we’re going to have them we need to have ugly contests, too. That’s America. Civil rights. Equal opportunity.
Truman: Mr. Trump. I have to say I’m surprised by your answers. You do realize you are hooked up to the polygraph machine, right? Moving on. Did you deliberately inflate the value of Trump University, exaggerate what students would receive, in order to make money?
Trump: No. I don’t even like money. In fact, I’ve taken a vow of poverty. Right after I lose the election, I’m going into the monastery.
At this, Truman, looking exasperated, inspects the polygraphs. After about five minutes, Trump, prostrate and smiling broadly prods Truman to hurry up.
Truman finally speaks: I must say, the machine isn’t infallible here but, Mr. Trump, your results are way off the charts. They say you have lied each of the last three important questions.
Trump: What are you saying?
Examiner: Well, while Ms. Clinton’s reactions fall within normal ranges, your reactions indicate you have been uttering complete falsehoods.
Trump: Oh really. What exactly are you saying? C’mon Mr. Expert Detector, spit it out.
Examiner: Mr. Trump. It’s obvious to the machine and to thousands here in the convention hall, as well as millions across America, that YOU ARE BLATANTLY LYING!
Trump (laughing to the point he is holding his sides): I’m what? I’m lying. Duh. Look at me. You told me I didn’t have to stand up, or sit down. Yes, I’m lying back in this recliner. I lie because I’m lying. Get it?
Am I clever or what? I really got ya, there, didn’t I Mr. Polygrapher of the Year. Hey, do me a favor, lemme ask her something. Hey, Hillary, what kind of emails did ya get from that Weiner character? You save any? How much you want for them? I’ll trade you four of my wife Melania in the nude for one of Weiner
Whaddya say? We got a deal?
Hillary couldn’t take it any longer.
She jumped on the recliner and started choking Trump. He tried to fight back but his fingers wouldn’t fit around her neck.
His last words were “Lock her up.”
It took a while for the shock of a televised murder of a would-be president to wear off.
But political leaders could not allow the nation to fall into chaos. They decided to let the House vote on the president and they orchestrated another tie, which required the House of Representatives (yes, this is really in the Constitution) to move on down the line and consider making a vice presidential candidate the president. It worked.
Over the next four years, Tim Kaine, with the support and help from Mike Pence as VP, did surprisingly well.
He helped calm everything down by avoiding a high-profile and lengthy trial when he pardoned Hillary due to mental anguish brought on by provocation. Then, he scared Putin out of invading Cuba by threatening to bring Hillary back as secretary of state. Kaine and Pence also kept America out of war, saved Social Security and killed all the leaders of ISIS.
Most importantly, a year after the fateful and fatal presidential polygraph test, Pence prodded the Congress to pass the a law requiring a lie detector examiner in each of the houses of Congress, the Oval Office and the Supreme Court.
It is called The Don’t Trump the Truth Act and, thus far, has withstood court challenges by the ACLU, Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani.
Most importantly, Kaine and Pence helped create and promote a new atmosphere of candor and honesty in Washington. After watching what happened to Trump, the two vowed to never, ever, ever — so help me Sarah Palin — lie.
Unless, of course, they happen to be in a recliner.