How Tim Kaine becomes president

Dec. 19 – The Electoral College meets. Enough Trump electors question Trump’s commitment to the Constitution to keep him from reaching 270 votes on the first ballot. After much wrangling and four more ballots, the college elects Hillary Clinton.

Dec. 20 – Donald Trump files a lawsuit demanding that the Electoral College follow the voting results.

Dec. 21-23 – The Supreme Court hears the arguments and deliberates. The four “conservative” justices may lean toward Trump politically, but they are also strict constructionists. They affirm that the Electoral College has the constitutional right to choose the president, so they vote to uphold Clinton’s election.

The four “liberal” justices may lean toward Clinton politically, but they are not strict constructionists. They believe that the essential elements of the Constitution are applied in ways that change. They note that the precedent for many years has been that the Electoral College chooses the president in accord with the voting results in the states, and so they vote to overturn Clinton’s election.

Dec. 25 – Merry Christmas!

Dec. 26 – To break the deadlock, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calls the Senate into session to seek confirmation of President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland. After some sputtering, the Senate passes confirmation.

Dec. 28 – New Supreme Court Justice Garland retreats to an undisclosed location, protected by Dick Cheney and his trusty shotgun, to contemplate the deciding vote in the Electoral College case.

Dec. 30 – Garland renders his decision. He invokes the NFL instant replay review protocol. Because there is insufficient evidence to overturn the action of the Electoral College, the ruling on the field stands. Hillary Clinton is president-elect.

Jan. 1 – Happy New Year!

Jan. 3 – Trump declares that the Electoral College vote was rigged, and calls for an investigation. He calls attention to reports of surreptitious meetings between electors and Clinton surrogates. The Clinton transition team springs into action. The press soon discovers that all of Clinton’s appointees have already been chosen, and most of them had new stationery printed in October.

Jan. 5 – Donald Trump renews the call to “lock her up.” To show he is serious about Clinton facing justice, Trump releases his tax returns and invites investigation into his business dealings.

Jan. 9 – FBI Director James (J. Edgar) Comey, perhaps sensing that it’s now or never, releases his files on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to federal prosecutors.

Jan. 11 – Attorney General Loretta Lynch announces that a quick review of Comey’s files and Trump’s tax returns shows there is plenty meriting prosecution against both Trump and Clinton. She states that indictments on some (but not all eventual) charges against Clinton and Trump will come out on Friday (the 13th!).

Jan. 13 – As promised, Loretta Lynch hands down indictments against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. But she acknowledges that it will be impossible to complete trials before Inauguration Day, one week away. Legal experts and late-night comedians note that it will be nearly impossible to find juries for these trials. About the only juror they can agree on is Sasquatch.

Jan. 20 – Inauguration Day. Hillary Clinton approaches the podium, where Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the oath of office. But Roberts stops her. “The Supreme Court has decided that we cannot accept the oath of office for president of the United States from someone who is under federal indictment.

“Timothy Kaine, are you ready to take the oath of office of president of the United States? Please repeat after me: I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

The Rev. David Paul Henry is the former pastor of the Lamoine Baptist Church.

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