Jill Stein has received a great deal of criticism for spearheading the charge to have election recounts in key states won by President-elect Donald Trump on Nov. 8. However, most of that criticism has been from expected sources.
Conservative pundits have theorized that she is just trying to build her political profile for future campaigns. Trump himself has even gotten into the fray, claiming that the effort is a “scam” by Jill Stein to bilk people out of their money.
— 911news (@911news) December 4, 2016
While Democrats urged Jill Stein voters not to cast a protest vote and instead go with Clinton, they have been somewhat accepting of the Green Party Presidential hopeful — until now.
On a recent episode of the Fivethirtyeight Politics podcast — the episode entitled “Still Processing” on the audio version — the crew, which consists of pollster/site founder Nate Silver and his team, including Harry Enten, Jody Avirgan, and Claire Malone, tackled the increasingly controversial topic of Jill Stein.
Malone did not believe it was a “super productive exercise to blame Jill Stein” for the Clinton loss, and that set off a spirited round of discussions on the sincerity of the election recounts themselves.
Enten did not believe Stein’s effort was helpful at all and even went as far as charging that it was purposely disingenuous.
“In terms of Jill Stein funding the recounts and knowing full well — hopefully, with her, I’m not so sure — that those recounts would almost certainly not overturn the margins Donald Trump had in those states, and getting those emails, I think that, to me, is a far bigger story,” Enten said.
Avirgan asked Enten to clarify what he meant by “getting those emails,” to which the liberal pundit clarified that it was to build her email list for future fundraising.
“That was kind of a misleading effort on her part,” Malone interrupted.
Enten said it was a “disingenuous campaign being run by her, and I think it’s a far bigger story of her playing on people’s hopes when these are people who just lost a big election.”
Avirgan acknowledged there were people saying the same of Jill Stein — that she was just trying to “raise a bunch of money on the backs of people’s hopes and fears” — but he did try to give her the benefit of the doubt.
Silver? Not so much.
“This was a deeply dishonest thing that she did that people should lose respect for her for,” Silver said.
“We should be able to call people out. There are a lot of nasty people in politics.”
“It’s bait-and-switch and people should be able to get their money back. I’m not a lawyer, but if I were, I would look for ways where this is legally actionable.”
The difficult thing about such a cost recoup would be the fact that the Hillary Clinton campaign has signed onto the election recounts, per CNN. With her backing, it has lent the effort a sheen of earnestness even as Clinton survived a tweet storm of criticism from the President-elect as a result.
Clinton’s campaign released a statement explaining essentially that they are part of the efforts to ensure both sides are dealing fairly and that the recount is handled with the professionalism it requires.
According to CBS News, the funds that Jill Stein has managed to raise so far have sent up a few red flags, mainly because the initial amount for a three-state recount was $2.5 million. Thus far, Stein has raised $6.7 million with a new target of $9.5 million in mind, which she claims will go toward paying election workers for the extra time and handling attorney’s fees for possible court challenges.
The money is also supposedly being kept in an account specially designated for those purposes.
— Candace (@roycan79) December 8, 2016
But what do you think, readers?
Is Jill Stein truly being dishonest here or is she sincerely hoping to protect election integrity? And what do you think of Silver and Enten’s remarks? Sound off in the comments section below.