how it might play out
In October 2016, voters in the United States find they can choose among:
• The Blue Team: A career politician, former Secretary of State, and longtime Washington insider, with all the baggage such a resume entails. It is widely believed that the candidate has a congenital variation in the 23rd chromosome unknown among previous presidents. Most commentators consider this genetic irregularity irrelevant to the office, but the candidate sometimes implies that it confers advantage.
• The Red Team: A real estate developer who attempts to bankrupt the opposition's propaganda machine by providing attack ad material faster than anyone can process it.
• A mountain climber.
• Someone else.
The outcome is uncertain.
There are no further surprises.
November 4: Approval ratings for the mountain climber soar by 50% to mid-single digits after video circulates online showing his response to an interview question about Updog.
November 5: Someone using a social media account with the name D. B. Cooper II, representing a group called "Power of Strength," claims to have abducted a number of "illegal citizens" and threatens to kill one every day until a package containing 1000 unmarked bitcoins is delivered by unmanned drone to the coordinates 44.44N 111.1W. The real estate developer declines to condemn the act, describing it as "plucky."
November 6: The vote-swapping site makeminecount.org promises to "teleport" 24,500 votes to swing states.
November 7: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak offers to provide Russian inspectors to ensure a fair election.
1:42 p.m. The governor of Colorado asks voters to "think twice, vote once" and tells CNN that anyone who sent a mail-in ballot and also votes in person is "just making it that much harder for democracy."
4:19 p.m. A Florida election official issues an "urgent request" that any citizen with a Zoom Pocket Modem contact the Florida Elections Commission immediately.
7:00 p.m. Internet traffic slows to a crawl as the domain name system is attacked by an army of baby monitors.
10:17 p.m. makeminecount.org claims to have "saved" Ohio by importing thousands of Blue votes from other states.
11:24 p.m. A Florida election official announces that the state will "probably" go to the Red Team. Asked about reported irregularities in some precincts, the official says "We have a hand in it—a handle on it."
1:21 a.m. A representative of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact announces that votes in Florida "don't count" and instructs members to "initiate the plan."
2:04 a.m. Google Trends show a spike in searches for "faithless elector."
2:40 a.m. Texas secedes from the United States, announcing that it is now the Lone Star Nation State. D. B. Cooper II requests asylum.
3:45 a.m. The president claims "I am in control here" in a White House press conference.
4:28 a.m. The real estate developer makes an unannounced landing in a Boeing 757 at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, D.C., escorted by F-16s. A live streamed video depicts him shouting "make way for the commander in chief" as he departs in a motorcade.
5:00 a.m. Agitated crowds around the White House boo Secret Service officers who refuse to open barricades on Pennsylvania Avenue. The motorcade proceeds past the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center to 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue.
5:12 a.m. Blue Team officials launch a fireworks display over the Hudson River.
5:30 a.m. The real estate developer appears with a bullhorn in the 315-foot clock tower of the Old Post Office Pavilion, throwing cigars to cheering crowds on the street.
8:00 a.m. Google Trends show increased searches for "CIT 0001."