In the past several days, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein raised money and filed papers for vote recounts in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin (all swing states). As a candidate, Stein had the standing to bring the results into question, and these states provided crucial electoral votes that solidified Trump’s electoral win, even as Clinton maintains over 2 million popular vote lead. However, efforts in Michigan have stalled because Trump and his lawyers have filed a complaint, which, according to Michigan law, must be resolved before proceedings continue. The complaint is 36 pages long, making it a bit of a task to wade through, so here are the highlights:
“Green Party presidential Candidate Dr. Jill Stein received barely 1 percent of the vote in the 2016 Michigan presidential election, finishing over 2.2 million votes behind the winner. Stein, in fact, finished no higher than fourth in any state where she appeared on the ballot. Yet despite being just a blip on the electoral radar, Stein has now commandeered Michigan’s electoral process.” (pg. 3)
For the record, this isn’t a disqualifying fact. Stein had no shot at the Presidency, but she certainly has the authority to question the election results as a candidate in the race. She may not have faced actual injury, which the complaint alleges is required for her to be “aggrieved” enough to file such a petition, but if she can prove the fraud was probable then she’s good to file. This particular of the complaint does go on to make a strong point: Stein’s request for a recount did not come with any substantial evidence that would cast doubt on the results. There’s plenty reason to cast doubt (such as the perceived Russian involvement and the reports that some Trump voters were actually attempting fraud), but details have never been Stein’s strength.
“All available evidence suggests that the 2016 general election was not tainted by
fraud or mistake. Governor Snyder has said so. See Governor Rick Snyder on Twitter. So too has the White House.” (pg. 4)
This must come as a surprise to Mr. Donald J. Trump himself, who, only a few days prior to this complaint, tweeted this gem:
In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2016
And retweeted this:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2016
But wait, there’s more!
Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California – so why isn’t the media reporting on this? Serious bias – big problem!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2016
If the President-Elect himself has concerns of fraud, who are we to deny him a recount?
“A recount cannot be completed in time for Michigan to have its Electoral College
votes counted.” (pg. 13)
This is true and time is a sure danger to the recount. Especially since this complaint has completely stalled the process. The complaint makes a very solid argument that there isn’t time enough to complete a by-hand recount. Which makes the complaint very self-aware, since it is acting almost entirely as an obstruction with likely little intent to call the recount into question. Besides, if there isn’t time to conduct a recount and if there is no fraud to be concerned about, why should Trump’s lawyers act at all to interrupt the proceedings?
“The petition must also be rejected because it is not properly signed and sworn to by
the candidate.” (pg. 14)
Then why not let it be rejected? This isn’t an amicus curiae brief, this is a complaint meant to stall proceedings. Why stall a proceeding that will end in the petition’s rejection regardless?
“And there is no reason to rewrite Michigan election law to accommodate the conspiracy-minded requests of an acknowledged loser.” (pg. 17)
I would like to point out the above tweet, in which Trump claims he would have won the popular vote if not for millions of fraudulent voters. You could even go so far as to say that he, an acknowledged popular vote loser, is conspiracy minded.
The last several pages of the complaint are dedicated to evidence, which consists namely of the documents associated with the initial results, Stein’s petition filings, and other background information that supports the central arguments concerning Stein’s standing and the probability of voter fraud. Ultimately, Stein’s intentions and evidence should be scrutinized. But Trump’s utter hypocrisy cannot be ignored, nor can the concerns that he himself stoked about voter fraud. His team’s passioned resistance to confirming the election’s results casts some serious doubt as to their own confidence that Trump won the electoral college.
If you’re dying for more insight on Trump’s upset win, here’s a roundtable discussion between major Clinton and Trump campaign voices on their election strategies.