The effort to secure recounts of the presidential votes cast in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin involves a cynical domestic assault on our democratic system of government like none we can recall.
Though mounted by the inconsequential Green Party and its presidential candidate, the equally inconsequential Jill Stein, who garnered all of one percent of the votes cast, the recount push has become something more than a fringe sideshow now that Hillary Clinton’s campaign has, midcourse, joined in the effort.
What rankles is that even the Clinton camp concedes there is no way a recount will negate President-elect Trump’s electoral majority. Sadly, though, Mrs. Clinton apparently has bought into the spectacle for no apparent reason other than doing all that can be done to undermine the legitimacy of Mr. Trump’s victory.
(Of course, it’s probably too much to expect officials like Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Representatives Jerrold Nadler and Nita Lowy and the rest of New York’s Democratic delegation to put country over party and take her to task.)
A candidate needs 270 Electoral College votes to win the presidency. Donald Trump has 306 – including those of Michigan (16), Wisconsin (10), and Pennsylvania (20). Mrs. Clinton has 232. Mr. Trump leads Mrs. Clinton by 10,000 votes in Michigan, 30,000 in Wisconsin, and 70,000 in Pennsylvania. Historians tell us that these voter spreads have never been overcome in recounts. Mrs. Clinton would need reversals in all three states in order to bring her to 270 electoral votes. Yet her campaign people are still participating in the recount farce.
It would be well to recall Mrs. Clinton’s reaction to Mr. Trump’s equivocation, in the course of the third presidential debate, as to whether he would accept the results of what he had taken to calling a “rigged” election. Here is how The New York Times reported it:
In a remarkable statement that seemed to cast doubt on American democracy, Donald J. Trump said…that he might not accept the results of next month’s election if he felt it was rigged against him – a stand that Hillary Clinton blasted as “horrifying” at their final and caustic debate on Wednesday.
After mentioning some of the other comments Mr. Trump made in the course of the debate, the Times reported that “it was Mr. Trump’s remark about the election results that stood out, even in a race that has been full of astonishing moments.” The Times went on to record Mrs. Clinton’s reaction:
That’s horrifying. Let’s be clear about what he is saying and what that means. He is denigrating – he is talking down our democracy. And I am appalled that someone who is the nominee of one of our two major parties would take that position…. That is not the way our democracy works.
Yet here we have Mrs. Clinton actually participating in what she so sharply condemned Mr. Trump for even suggesting.
As the Times reported earlier this week:
Marc Elias, the Clinton team’s general counsel, said the campaign would participate in Ms. Stein’s recount effort with little expectation that it would change the result, partly out of sense of duty to the million who voted for Mrs. Clinton.
“We do so fully aware that the number of votes separating Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the closest of these states – Michigan – well exceeds the largest margin ever overcome in a recount,” Mr. Elias said, noting that Clinton campaign officials had found no “actionable evidence” of hacking or attempts to tamper with the vote.
So what are Jill Stein and the Clintonites aiming for? We suggest their goal is to delay the vote in the Electoral College past the deadline, a move some say will throw the vote into the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, where the vote will certainly be in Mr. Trump’s favor. But no matter; the lack of an Electoral College verdict on who is president, together with the fact that Mrs. Clinton won the popular vote by more than two million votes, will only serve to chip away at Mr. Trump’s legitimacy as president and hence at his ability to govern.
Seems like some Americans are so bitter over the election results that they are looking forward to an ongoing four-year campaign of willfully undermining the president of the United States.
Talk about “denigrating” and “talking down our democracy.” For shame, Hillary Clinton.Editorial Board