- Politics and Social Issues»
- United States Politics
Recounting the Swing States - A Last Ditch Effort to Taint the Election of Donald Trump
The 2016 Election came to a close in the wee hours of November 9th, and with it the hopes and dreams of Hillary Clinton. Or at least we all thought so. Hillary made a phone call to President-Elect Trump right after the AP announced Wisconsin would be going to Trump, congratulating him on his victory and conceding the race. Donald Trump confirmed the call was made and she did concede the Presidency to him. Sources close to President Obama are suggesting it was he who urged her to call Trump and acknowledge her defeat. The Clinton camp wasn't quite ready to accept the loss at the time, and many within her close circle of advisors suggested waiting longer than the period suggested by President Obama. The crucial swing states of Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Florida, and Pennsylvania were clearly the difference in this election and the results in several of them were razor thin victory margins for Trump.
What? A Recount
Even in a year filled with the political theatrics we've seen, the idea of a recount seemed a distant, if not comical thought. The Electoral Votes gave Donald Trump a clear victory; one that was not disputed or mired in controversy. Democrat supporters did not take the Trump victory lying down, instead choosing to violently riot in cities across the nation. Trump supporters were relieved to see that finally something was going their way and had high hopes for a different America than the one they had been living under with President Obama at the helm. A Trump Presidency promised Americans that they would come first. For the first time in decades, immigration laws would be followed and illegal aliens would be deported. Globalism would be halted and America would retain it's world leading position. The economy and job creation would be a high priority and NASA would once again be focused on Space exploration instead of Global Warming and Muslim outreach programs. All things looked to be perfect for the Republican Party, who also held both houses of Congress and a majority of the Governorships. That was until an unexpected Hail-Mary event emerged; one that started with a whisper but escalated into a full blown bang. Green Party Candidate did the unthinkable act of demanding three states be recounted using a narrative that was intended to make her look like she was acting on behalf of the integrity of the election process.
Who's Behind the Recount
At first, both the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee managed to distance themselves from the recount. Surrogate Jill Stein did the heavy lifting up front. The belief was that another "sore loser" moment by either the Clinton's or the DNC would reverberate through the Democratic Party kept the two factions away from suggesting a recount. The Clinton campaign did not make the decision to skip a recount without doing some precursory research, especially on the topic of a possible hacking incident. They were unable to come up with any actionable evidence which would suggest the election results were tampered with. Yet, she is going along with the recount efforts to make sure of the fact. It's ironic that she has chosen to take this position after verbally assaulting the Trump campaign during the election for his statements on the very same subject. Trump, while speaking at the third debate between the two candidates, played coy about accepting the results of the election and might consider other actions should he have been defeated. Mrs. Clinton said Trump’s answer was “horrifying,” and he was “talking down our democracy.” This fact and almost everything honorable in Presidential politics is being sidelined and the recount is proceeding according to plan.
By requesting only three states be recounted, Jill Stein made her first of many mistakes. The media quickly picked up on her math approach selection process. The three states combined carry enough weight in the form of Electoral Votes that they could collectively deny the Presidency to Donald Trump. Her speech about insuring our elections are free from outside cyber-influence was thin and feeble. After all, if there was such a concern, then why not recount California or New York; states with much higher populations? Why not look at all states with electronic voting machines? Why weren't any states chosen that Clinton won? The question list goes on and on, while the answers are pretty obvious. This recount has nothing to do with election integrity and everything to do with trying to illegitimatize a Trump Presidency or steal it outright. The focus of the nation is now squarely on Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Each state is different when it comes to recounts.
The Recount Details - Wisconsin
In order to recount the votes in Wisconsin, the person who requests the recount must be a candidate in the race and must show proof of funding beforehand. The cost of recounting the votes in Wisconsin, the first state on the docket is expected to come in at a staggering $3.5 million dollars. The 2.9 million votes cast in the state's election will need to be recounted and certified by December 13th; 35 days after the election. Yet, with its 10 Electoral Votes, even a stunning reversal of the Wisconsin results, would not give Clinton the votes needed to become the President-Elect. The counting process itself is a time-consuming process and some Wisconsin counties are already uncertain that they could finish on time. Add to the fact that Jill Stein is demanding all the votes be recounted by hand, something which the Wisconsin board of elections has rejected. Stein has filed a lawsuit to force the hand recount, but each day that passes makes it harder to get done. The state is relying on previous recount evidence to validate their current counting process. In 2011, a recount was called for in a statewide election, but after the 1.5 million cast votes were counted, only 300 were changed.
Stein has stood behind the claim that she pushed the recount in a written statement. "We must recount the votes so we can build trust in our election system," she said. The irony of this statement is that the true incidents of voter fraud that we see in every election are not the focus of her directive. Instead, she is trying to advance the narrative already being used by the mainstream media that somehow the results were tampered with by foreign hackers. This false narrative is being supported by Clinton campaign manager John Podesta and Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias. They held a conference call last week with activists to share their thoughts. They believe it’s possible the outcomes in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania were tampered with by an outside "hacker." President Obama and his team are dead-set against the multi-state recount. It's a clear waste of resources with no real chance of changing anything. What's odd about this scenario is that only three states are being looked at to validate these possible charges.
Recount - Pennsylvania
Sources are reporting today that Jill Stein missed the recount deadline. The State Department of Pennsylvania in a statement reported that the deadline to file for a voter-initiated recount was November 21st. Stein and her team are already mounting a legal challenge to force the recount, but so far the 70,000 vote margin of victory for President-elect Trump seems untouchable. Pennsylvania has three options for recounts. The voter-initiated recount could be triggered if at least three voters in each of the state's voting district sign affidavits alleging fraud and asking for a recount before the deadline, one could be initiated. A second type in a candidate initiated recount. Unlike, Wisconsin, the state of Pennsylvania requires candidates to file an actual lawsuit, presenting evidence to a judge which would support their claims. The third process is one which the State itself would call for the recount. It's used when a candidate has a margin of victory less than 0.5%; Trump won Pennsylvania by over 1%.
Stein already filed a lawsuit as she is trying to get the candidate recount performed. Her evidence is circumstantial but can be summed up easily. She claims that polling data showed Clinton would be the state's winner but the outcome was different. She claims the e-mail hacks of the DNC should be considered, opening up the possibility that any state could be hacked. She then adds that both Arizona and Illinois were attempted to be hacked months before the actual voting took place, Finally, she introduced a data scientist named Alex Halderman, who is a Computer Science Professor at Michigan University. She claims his work has identified potential weaknesses in the voting system that can only be overcome with an actual paper balloting system and counting process. The voters, she claims, want evidence to support the claim that electronic voting machines were not tampered with either before or during the voting process. The looming question being asked by those observing the events is where is her evidence of any actual fraud being committed?
Recount - Michigan
Michigan became the last state to certify their election results and although it was a very close race, awarded their 16 Electoral Votes to Donald Trump. On Monday the state certified that Trump was the victory, squeaking out a narrow two-tenths of a percentage point victory over Hillary Clinton. With only 10,704 votes separating the two candidates, this was the closet election in the state's history. The additional Electoral votes were an added cushion as Trump had already secured the victory without them. Stein has until Wednesday the 30th of November to petition for a recount in Michigan, but unless she is successful in her other two lawsuits, it seems like a colossal waste of time.
Michigan has over 4.7 million votes to recount should Stein get her wish. It would be a hand recount under observation but would be far less from a cost standpoint. Estimates are that it could be done for less than $1 million. Insiders are skeptical of any changes occurring with a recount based on the fact that the race was so close. Michigan took their time and made sure everything was ironclad before announcing the results and all reporting districts were double checked to insure no "phantom" votes could suddenly appear. Michigan has not had a recount since the early 1970's for any statewide election. What should strike everyone as odd is that the Jill Stein recount is supposedly based on showing the election process hasn't been hacked, but Michigan uses all paper ballots. Seems they already got the message that computers are prone to cyber attacks and implemented steps to safeguard their process.
Jill Stein's Motives
Jill Stein has been raising money for the recounts through a GoFundMe page and has raised more money in the few days since she announced the recount than she could muster through most of the election process. This fact leaves many on both sides wondering where the money is actually coming from. It also leads people to wonder if Jill Stein is using this as a platform to inflate her own self-worth as a candidate for office in the future. Many people are convinced Jill Stein’s fundraising operations look sketchy; especially after they noticed that funding came in at an absolutely perfect $160,000 per hour. That is odd enough, but the donations continued full speed at the exact same rate through the middle of the night. It was if a computer bot was simply making a pre-determined funds transfer every hour on the hour. There are multiple camps who believe that it is George Soros, billionaire globalist, who is behind the money, but no one can be certain.
Conspiracy or Not?
Several theories about why this is happening are being floated around the Beltway. One in particular seems to have gained some traction. It's believed that Stein will attempt to prevent the three states (Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania) Electoral Votes from being tabulated in later December, thus sidelining them from the final count. These three states combined would deny Trump the minimum 270 votes. It's assumed that she wants to deny Trump being able to say he was elected and instead push the choice over to Congress, allowing the Democrats to forever say he was "selected." What Ms. Stein fails to recognize is that the 12th Amendment states that the election will be decided by the majority of Electors present at the vote. Simply eliminating some of the voters won't deny Trump the victory; it will only change the numbers needed for the win; numbers which he already has. The only way Clinton could possibly change the outcome would be to flip all three states.
Follow the Money
Jill Stein has been raising money very rapidly for this recount effort. It's expected that she'll far exceed the needed amount. The one question that no one seems to be asking is where the money is actually going. It's being donated to Jill Stein, not to a foundation, not to a fund only for the recount. In fact, the fine print on her site says the following, "We cannot guarantee a recount will happen in any of these states we are targeting. We can only pledge we will demand recounts in those states. If we raise more than what’s needed, the surplus will also go toward election integrity efforts and to promote voting system reform." Other sources report the wording of the site keeps changing, obviously in order to protect the funding from anyone but her campaign. The question of, "where is the money?" might be raised once she fails in her efforts.
As promised, the 2016 election has been nothing short of spectacular. From the moment President-Elect Trump made his historic speech announcing his candidacy and his now famous "build the wall" speech, America knew this election would be different. The sheer number of scandals and mudslinging were too many to count and the lack of candor by the supporters of the two candidates was beyond expectations. Now, we wait for a few more days and watch the events play out, both in the three states and the media to see what will happen. Odds are that the recount will fail, Stein will take the money and run, and President Trump will probably rescind his earlier statement not to pursue criminal charges against Hillary Clinton.