Check on It

Good on 2012 and 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein for trying to confirm the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election. (Stein was interviewed about her effort by investigative journalist Brad Friedman on Thanksgiving Eve.) You can never be too sure, especially these days:

An election recount will take place soon in Wisconsin, after former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein filed a petition Friday with the state’s Election Commission, the first of three states where she has promised to contest the election result.

The move from Stein, who raised millions since her Wednesday announcement that she would seek recounts of Donald Trump’s apparent election victories in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, came just 90 minutes before Wisconsin’s 5 p.m. Friday deadline to file a petition. Now it will keep some hope alive for many Hillary Clinton supporters for another few weeks while Wisconsin recounts ballots before a Dec. 13 deadline.

Trump scored upset victories in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and seems on the path to declare a victory in Michigan as well, though the result of the election in that state will not be certified officially until Monday. Had Clinton won those three states, previously seen as part of the Democrats’ “firewall,” she would have secured enough electoral votes to win the election.

Stein announced her intention to file the petition following reports that a group of data experts and election lawyers were urging Clinton to demand a recount in those three states, on suspicion that a cyberattack could have manipulated the results of the election in those states. While the group had no specific proof of hacking, they noted anomalies suggesting Clinton routinely did more poorly in Wisconsin counties that used voting machines, as opposed to those that relied on paper ballots…

To be on the safe side, the group of experts urged a recount — but it was Stein’s campaign that ended up demanding one, soliciting at first $2.5 million and later up to $7 million to fund the recounts. As of Friday evening, Stein’s campaign reported taking in over $5.25 million in recount-related donations — the most by a third-party candidate in history.

Considering the controversy over oddities in Ohio during the 2004 Presidential election, there’s nothing wrong with being a little skeptical about just how decisively the Donald won the Electoral College. Investigative journalist Greg Palast observes that the playing field was rigged–in Trump’s favor–long before November 8:

Starting in 2013 – just as the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act – a coterie of Trump operatives, under the direction of Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State, created a system to purge 1.1 million Americans of color from the voter rolls of GOP–controlled states.

The system, called Crosscheck, is detailed in my Rolling Stone report, “The GOP’s Stealth War on Voters” [which was published in August 2016].

On [Election Day], we saw Crosscheck elect a Republican Senate and as President, Donald Trump. The electoral putsch was aided by nine other methods of attacking the right to vote of Black, Latino and Asian-American voters, methods detailed in my book and film, including “caging,” “purging,” blocking legitimate registrations, and wrongly shunting millions to “provisional” ballots that will never be counted…

This country is violently divided, but in the end, there simply aren’t enough [right-wing] white guys to elect Trump nor a Republican Senate. The only way they could win was to eliminate the votes of non-white guys—and they did so by tossing Black provisional ballots into the dumpster, ID laws that turn away students—the list goes on. It’s a web of complex obstacles to voting by citizens of color topped by that lying spider, Crosscheck.

The Clinton campaign obviously knew that significant numbers of Democratic-leaning numbers would be blocked from voting for her due to Republican voter-suppression efforts, which is why the campaign spent so much time trying to woo Republican-leaning voters, who would be less likely to have artificial barriers thrown in front of them on their way to the ballot box. If it turned out that Clinton’s strategy actually resulted in an Electoral College win, it would certainly silence the bogus argument that she ran a lousy campaign.

Of course, if it were somehow proven that Clinton, not Trump, actually won the Electoral College, the reaction from the 62 million American voters who regard Trump as their lord and savior would be off-the-charts. (New York magazine reported that the Obama Administration has discouraged the Clinton campaign from pursuing a recount, presumably due to fear of how the right would react to a potential reversal.) In addition, let’s state the obvious: it may well be that some voters in these contested states were indeed gullible enough to fall for the loathsome lies of the bigoted billionaire for said billionaire to have won outright.

In any event, Stein deserves credit for “making sure you’re sure,” as Stevie Wonder famously put it. Both Trump and Clinton deserve an undisputed answer on the question of who won the most important election of our lifetime–and we deserve an undisputed answer as well.

UPDATE: The Clinton campaign is also involved in the recount. Stay tuned.

SECOND UPDATE: The bigoted billionaire goes ballistic.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.