Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Her Grand Delusion

What is Jill Stein trying to prove, anyway?
Legally, any candidate has standing to request a recount — as long as they pay the costs. Politically and morally, however, Stein utterly lacks any standing to claim she has been harmed by ballot irregularities and counting errors. Proper standing — at least in political and commonsense contexts — would go to the person who might have otherwise won an election without such alleged irregularities.

That means the one candidate who might have a decent argument for recounts in places like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan is Hillary Clinton. (And indeed, Stein's recount demands are surely intended to help Clinton.) So why hasn't the Democrat who sustained a shocking loss in the party's famed "Blue Wall" states pushed for recounts herself? For one thing, Clinton has already conceded the race to Donald Trump, reportedly urged by President Barack Obama to do so.

The optics would also be terrible. Clinton spent the last weeks of the election hyperventilating, along with the media, about Trump's refusal to commit to accepting Election Night results. She called it "horrifying" and repeatedly hit Trump's lack of respect for the electoral system. To suddenly demand recounts after those attacks would be a hypocrisy that might be beyond the reach of any politician.

Beyond that, though, there are many thousands of reasons not to demand a recount. Specifically, there are 10,700 reasons in Michigan, 22,000 in Wisconsin, and 68,000 in Pennsylvania. Those are the votes that Clinton would have to make up in a recount to change the outcome in each state, and she'd need to succeed in all three of those states to change the Electoral College outcome. No recount has ever produced a vote change of that magnitude; no recount has even come close to it.
Wishing won't make it so, no matter how much money she raises on her own behalf...

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