By Larry Schweikart
(The following is a fictional exchange based on the 1960s barbershop setting where men used to go to talk sports and politics. As Barack Obama might say, it’s a “composite” of today’s election discussions).
Phil the barber is clipping hair diligently as Chris, the lawyer, and Stan, the realtor patiently wait in their chairs, talking about the day’s affairs. A bell rings as the door opens and Aaron, the local high school history teacher comes in, face covered in a China Virus mask.
“Aaron!” shouted the men in unison.
Before he can respond Phil sternly addresses him.
“Take that damn mask off. This is a mask free zone.”
Aaron obeys, then asks, “Aren’t you afraid of the China Virus?”
Phil shakes his head without missing a clip. “Heck no. I hiked the Grand Canyon last year. I’ve had the flu, shingles, and was stung by a scorpion. You think some bug from China is gonna get me?”
Aaron good-naturedly nods and sits, acknowledging the other customers. “Chris,” he says, you expect a lot of work after the legalized marijuana law passed?”
Puzzled, Chris asks “What do you mean?”
“Well, you know. All those claims from people saying other people were stoned when they hit them, backed over them, whatever. You know how old people are out here. Reefer madness.”
Chris laughs. “No, not a part of our business model so far.”
John, who runs a local pizza shop, gets up from the chair as Phil dusts him off. “Boys, I gotta go, but I’ll say one thing: I think my business is gonna do just fine with that new law!”
Everybody laughs. John tips Phil and waves as he walks out.
“Chris, you’re next,” says Phil, pointing at the lawyer.
‘I’ve got time if Aaron needs to get to class,” he replies, looking at Aaron.
The teacher shakes his head. “No, I don’t have to go in early anymore. We’re 90% remote, which means we’re about 100% ineffective. I can’t get kids to do the work without cheating—if they do it at all—and the school district just ‘credits’ them with the class anyway. What’s the point?”
Everyone shakes their heads as Chris shrugs and climbs into the chair. “In California, they have even eliminated the final exams at the law schools, although you still have to pass the bar.”
Stan laughs. “I have trouble passing any bar.”
Phil wraps the gown around Chris. “It’s just ridiculous. None of the small business merchants enforce that mask law. Some have been harassed by the city or the state. So far, I’ve told them to pound sand.”
“That’s gonna change if Biden wins this,” adds Aaron.
Stan, probably the least politically aware of the group, turns to Aaron. “What do you mean ‘if’, Aaron? I mean, hasn’t Biden won it already?”
“Well, yes and no,” replied the teacher. “I mean, President Trump still has a crapload of lawsuits out there.”
“Lotta good that will do him if they don’t have an actionable path by the courts,” interjects Chris. “From what I’ve seen, the suits themselves are fine—but I haven’t yet seen the numbers adding up for doing anything significant, let alone overturning the results of elections in these states.”
Stan was puzzled. “Whaddya mean, Chris? If the suits are good, why wouldn’t it result in a revote or something?”
Aaron jumped in. “No, Chris is right. The judges can rule for President Trump, but in the end, it has to result in actually taking votes off the board. There is no such thing as a revote.”
Phil stopped cutting. “What do you mean no revote? Even if it’s corrupt as hell like this one is?”
“I’m no constitutional lawyer,” said Chris, “but I have read a lot about this on my own, you know when I make speeches for civic groups. Say Trump gets the Pennsylvania case—which clearly is an instance of the state violating its own laws, so Trump has a chance—to the Supreme Court. The justices cannot order a national revote. Nothing like that has ever happened, and you have all these various federal and state positions like congressmen, senators, dog catcher on the ballot. Plus our favorite ballot initiatives . . .”
“Like weed . . .” Stan laughed.
“ . . . like weed, like marijuana, like tax levies.” Chris continued as if in court, now standing. “So the best Trump’s team can hope for is to get rulings that will invalidate certain groups of Biden’s votes and take them off the board.”
“Yeah, Chris is right. I was just teaching the Bush/Gore race last week,” Aaron added. “The Democrat operatives were frantic to, as they put it, ‘get votes on the board,’ because it’s twice as hard to take them off once they are up there.”
Phil returned to his cutting. “Oh, you mean like the instant replay rule in the NFL? A team scores a touchdown with seconds remaining and it’s ruled a score on the field. It goes up on the scoreboard. Now, to take it off, the other team has to hope that the replay officials find overwhelming evidence to overturn the call on the field.”
“Exactly right,” Chris nodded. “Trump has got over 72 million votes, almost 10 million more than in 2016, yet he supposedly lost. He can’t get more votes. The only hope now is to change Biden’s totals.”
“I ain’t no teacher, and certainly ain’t no lawyer,” said Stan, nodding with respect to both Aaron and Chris, “but it just doesn’t stand to reason that Joe Biden, who never even came out of his basement, got more votes than Barack Obama, who everyone thought was the Second Coming of Martin Luther King.”
“And you would be right, Stan,” said Aaron. “The fact is that Trump was ahead in Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania when all of a sudden in the middle of the night they all quit counting—or in Georgia’s case claimed a plumbing leak—and got the poll watchers out. Then, shazaam! Hundreds of thousands of Biden votes appeared on the ledgers.”
“The Dominion voting machines . . .” Chris inserted.
Stan was puzzled. “Wait, what are ‘Dominion voting machines? We had a paper ballot here where we used a sharpie to draw a line from Trump’s name over to a dot. Like connect the dots.”
“Wait,” said Phil, “You used a sharpie? They didn’t give us sharpies. We had special pens attached to the voting booth itself.”
“Well, at our location they said they ran out, so they gave us sharpies,” Stan noted.
“Are you sure your vote was counted?” Phil asked.
“How would I know that?” replied Stan. “I just assumed it was.”
Phil went over to his in-shop computer, poked a few keys, and up popped the county website. “Right here, Stan.” After a few more keystrokes, his information came up with the statement, “Your vote has been counted!”
“Would you look at that?” exclaimed Stan. “So, anyway, how is Trump going to overcome all those votes. Isn’t he behind by five or six million . . .?”
“All fraudulent . . . .” murmured Chris.
Aaron picked up the opportunity to educate Stan, whose Constitutional grounding was obviously inadequate.
“Trump doesn’t have to overcome all of them, just those in the four key states of Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. And they all used these Dominion machines.”
“Dominion.” Said Phil, stopping again. “There’s that word again. What are you talking about with the ‘Dominion machines?’”
Chris jumped in. “Many states had these voting machines made by Dominion that, it is argued by the Trump lawyers, changed votes. In one case, I think in Michigan, over 19,000 votes were added to Biden and at the very same moment, the exact same number of votes disappeared from Trump’s column. And these changes mostly happened in the middle of the night when the poll watchers were excluded . . .”
“ . . . so nobody could stop it,” Aaron added.
“So what are Trump’s people doing about it? I mean, isn’t there a time limit on how long this can go on?” Phil clipped while questioning, pulling out the electric razor for the back hairline.
Chris continued to explain. “As I said, they have these suits that may take some of the votes off, but I don’t think enough.”
Phil made a face, though not clear if it was at what Chris said or at his handiwork, which he proceeded to redress. “So why would they do it if it’s not enough?”
“One theory,” Aaron said, “is that they are trying to lay a cross-state case for the state legislators to clearly see fraud at work and to submit slates of Trump electors.”
“Wait,” said the confused Stan, making a timeout signal. “I thought electors just rubber-stamped what the people voted.”
“Not quite, Stan,” said Aaron. “Originally the state legislators had all the power. They selected whomever they wanted. But by the early 1800s, they started following the will of the population. Today? Most legislators don’t even have a clue that they are empowered by the U.S. Constitution to make their own elector slate selection if they think fraud was involved.”
Chris shook his head, “No, we have a number of states that have laws requiring the state legislators follow the popular vote in their state.
Aaron looked shocked. “Chris, you know better than that. The U.S. Constitution says that the state legislators are not bound by state law if it violates the Constitution.”
“Yes, I know. But do they?”
“Well,” responded Aaron, “that’s the $64,000 question, isn’t it? And it’s one thing if they are aware of their Constitutional role and powers, it’s quite another for them to act. This hasn’t been done, ever. The state legislatures have never invalidated a national election.”
“True,” Chris agreed. “But neither have they ever seen this level of fraud before.”
“Aren’t we running out of time? I mean, there is an inauguration of somebody in about two months.” Phil tapped his calendar behind him.
“Probably,” Chris admitted. “Time is against Trump. The longer this drags on, the longer it is assumed Biden won, and the harder it is to overturn anything.”
“So the fate of the United States rests in the hands of a few judges and some state legislators?” Stan asked in amazement.
“Yep” Chris, Aaron, and Phil all said in unison.
Larry Schweikart is the co-author with Michael Allen of A Patriot’s History of the United States, author of Reagan: The American President, and founder of the Wild World of History, a history curriculum website with full courses in US and World History for grades 9-12, including teacher guide, student workbooks, tests/answer keys, images/maps, graphs, and video lessons accompanying every lesson (www.wildworldofhistory.com).