According to CNN, Donald Trump claims that the recount effort by Jill Stein in certain swing states is designed to “Fill her coffers.” Trump seems to mean by this that the Green Party under Stein will funnel the gathered funds into its party operations in future campaigns instead of using this money to carry out the recount in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
The Recount Controversy
The 2016 election results in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania came as a surprise to many. The polls leading up to the election indicated that Hillary Clinton had regained her lead nationally – and in these states – following the sizable dip she experienced following FBI Director Comey’s release of a rather vague letter regarding the endless Clinton emails investigation.
But it quickly became evident on election night that things weren’t going quite as expected. In addition to winning Florida and North Carolina – which admittedly could have gone either way – Donald Trump’s wins in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania guaranteed him the presidency. But the discrepancy between the earlier polls and these results left some wondering if something odd was going on.
Greg Palast: Not Russians Or Hackers Triggering Recount. It's GOP Suppression Efforts | Crooks and Liars https://t.co/WT0CrUfIoh— The Fighting Liberal (@texyellowdogdem) November 27, 2016
The conventional – and perhaps the correct – explanation for what happened was that blue-collar workers in these Rust Belt states objected to being overlooked by the Democratic Party in its trade policies and rebelled by voting for Donald Trump. Trump had essentially promised to slash trade with China and Mexico and return manufacturing to the United States.
“Fill Her Coffers” Vs Legitimate Recount
But the claim by Trump that Stein’s decision to pursue a recount in these three states is nothing more than a scam ignores the fact that a number of prominent and well-respected experts in election statistics and cyber hacking have noticed inconsistencies in the 2016 election vote results.
According to CNN, J. Alex Halderman – Director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society – points out that in these states those locations that used electronic voting deviated by as much as 7 percent from demographically similar areas that used paper ballots. Moreover, this deviation occurred in predominantly Democratic areas more likely to vote for Hillary Clinton. Despite this – or perhaps because of this – Trump opposes the idea of a recount:
“This recount is just a way for Jill Stein, who received less than one percent of the vote overall and wasn’t even on the ballot in many states, to fill her coffers with money, most of which she will never even spend on this ridiculous recount.”
Certainly, this might be viewed as a bit hypocritical on Trump’s part, given that he spent weeks before election day claiming the election was rigged and suggesting he wouldn’t accept the results if he didn’t win.
Clinton Joins Recount Effort
As reported by CNN, even though Hillary Clinton campaign representative John Podesta held meetings with some of these experts regarding what they had uncovered, Clinton initially made no moves toward initiating a recount herself. It may be that she was reluctant to engage in what might seem like the petty efforts of a sore loser.
However, once Jill Stein and the Green party decided to undertake a fundraising campaign to initiate a recount in these three states, Clinton decided to lend her tacit support to the effort. Clinton campaign counsel Marc Elias issued a statement to this effect.
“But now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides… It is a fundamental principle of our democracy to ensure that every vote is properly counted.”
Despite Donald Trump’s “fill her coffers” implication that Jill Stein is engaging in a Green Party scam designed to gather money for future elections, there do seem to be enough irregularities in the voting – or at least questions about said voting – to justify a recount in these vital battleground states. Whether this will change the result is anyone’s guess.
[Featured Image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]