For those who still cannot countenance a Donald Trump presidency, the recounts being pursued in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania represent their last hope – which is why it was so easy for Jill Stein to raise $6.5 million to fund them. But it’s a false hope.
In Wisconsin, there is fighting over how to recount the votes. The state’s Republican administration argues a more precise hand recount will take too long; Stein’s group says machine recounts have already failed. A judge has ruled each county can decide how to recount – meaning some votes will be recounted by hand, others by machine.
Pennsylvania’s rules don’t weigh in Stein’s favor, either. The state uses entirely electronic ballots; counting a second time seems pointless. Recounting has begun in Michigan, where Trump’s margin is only 10,704 votes, but even if the recount finds 5,353 Trump votes that should have been Hillary Clinton’s, Trump would still win in the Electoral College.
Even Clinton, who did not request the recounts, doesn’t believe the outcome will change. Nor do we.
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So why do it? Stein was but a footnote to the 2016 campaign, but her plea to fund the recounts went viral. Undoubtedly, the names of those who contributed will be added to her fundraising list, which might come in handy in, say, four years.
Clinton announced her team would only “observe” the process – a responsible decision. After all, 64.9 million-plus Americans voted for her, or 2.4 million more than voted for Trump, and they’re all very interested. And don’t forget those on both sides who believe the election was rigged.
After filling Twitter with hundreds of thousands of pre-election messages insisting the election was rigged, Trump supporters suddenly went silent on Nov. 9; mashable.com reported “rigged” tweets fell 90 percent. If all those angry tweeters really thought the election was rigged, why not welcome the recounts?
Instead, we get tweets direct from Trump’s battered ego. Without a shred of evidence, he tweeted out accusations that he actually won the popular vote: “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”
He said California – where two voters chose Clinton for every one who voted for Trump – was especially suspect. Those who take Trump’s cheating claims seriously should be demanding the vote be scrutinized to identify so the “millions of people” who supposedly voted illegally can be prosecuted.
Stein’s recount, like Trump’s claim of voter fraud, is little more than a distraction. But it does provide a fitting finish to the carnival campaign of 2016. Unfortunately, the winner seems to be unable to move from campaigning to governing. Even if the Twitter president would rather focus on assaulting the First Amendment, insulting vanquished candidates and excoriating his critics, the electorate must not.
Our focus must be on Trump’s appointees, his reluctance to put his business into a blind trust (and not just turn it over to his kids), and how he is commingling his empire (windmills in Scotland, the millions he owes to Chinese bankers, etc.) with the people’s business.
Should a president-elect be spending his time tweeting about an election he’s already won, or should he be letting us know where he intends to lead the nation?