Petitions for a recount of the 2016 presidential election have upset Donald Trump, pierced his thin skin and provoked more inanities and false claims, and that alone may be worth the cost of the plan to recount the votes in three states—Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
This action was sparked and driven by Jill Stein, the presidential candidate for the Green Party. Most pundits and political analysts agree that the recount won’t change the outcome, and Stein does not appear to be working under any illusion about this prospect.
“We are standing up for an election system that we can trust; for voting systems that respect and encourage our vote and make it possible for all of us to exercise our constitutional right to vote,” she explained. It is for this reason, and perhaps a few others that the Clinton team has agreed to join in this joust at windmills.
It would make sense if the races in the three battleground states were close (that would also provide financial relief because the federal government would foot the bill), but the margins by which Trump won are in the thousands, and even though, for example, nearly 5 million votes were cast in Michigan, to overcome the 11,000 votes Trump amassed is inconceivable.
Rather than this futile waste of money—it is reported that Stein has raised more than $7 million—the money might be better used for future down-ballot races or to help the senatorial campaign in Louisiana, although shifting the money in this manner may not be appropriate.
Other detractors have suggested that there are winnable battles that need financing, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ACLU, the NAACP and other human rights organizations that will no doubt need monetary support as the Trump administration gets into high gear with a number of actions to roll back the gains we’ve made in civil and human rights.
Some are enthusiastic about Stein and the Green Party’s concern for fair play in what Trump once called a rigged system when he was losing, but they also feel the Greens would be better off devoting time and money to building their party, giving their causes wider recognition.
In any case, Stein’s push for election integrity is a good thing and it may reveal some voting irregularities and mechanical problems, and explain the disparity between paper ballot and machine ballot counts in Wisconsin. The idea that the voting machines could have been hacked has been posed but is highly unlikely. It could also mark a possible next step in looking at voter suppression and a move to eliminate the Electoral College. In other words, it might not bring a significant change in the results of the last election, but it could show the democratic process is a precious piece of our constitutional rights and vigilance is always required.
The amount of money Stein has raised as well as the nod from the Clinton team (despite the Obama administration’s rejection of the recount) is indicative of the ongoing dismay and activism from the left, and if folks don’t mind their donations being spent in this regard, then that’s their decision. And while we are on the subject of money, let’s not forget the millions that the city will spend protecting Trump and his family at their residence on Fifth Avenue.
What it boils down to gang, is that the recount must be completed by Dec. 13, six days before the electors meet to announce the winner. Maybe, just maybe, we can put a cap on this rancorous bid for the White House, but don’t count on it.