As the never-ending presidential election of 2016 continues to dominate the American political sphere, one surprising outlier is making more waves than anyone ever thought she would. Green Party candidate Jill Stein has ostensibly become the mouthpiece for election integrity in her crusade to trigger recounts in multiple swing states. But will Stein call for recounts in other states?
It's unlikely that she'll push beyond Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania due to the initial scope of her concerns, as well as the amount of funding it requires to undertake more recounts. Furthermore, many influential leaders (including Sen. Bernie Sanders) believe Stein's impassioned recount drive might all be for naught.
The first roadblock to a broader recount campaign is, of course, just how expensive recounts can be. Stein has nearly met her $7 million crowdfunding goal to fund the recount in the three reportedly contested states, but Wisconsin estimates that their recount alone will cost $3.5 million, which will eat up half of the $7 million goal even if she manages to raise all of it. Stein might not even have enough to request recounts in all three states, much less any others.
The Green Party nominee's recount campaign, while ultimately beneficial to Clinton if successful, is not about securing the presidency for Clinton. According to Stein's recount fundraising website, she is pursuing recounts to promote an "election integrity movement" that will "attempt to shine a light on just how untrustworthy the U.S. election system is."
Although Stein's efforts could ultimately benefit Clinton without requiring her to get her hands dirty, it still reads like the left's last-ditch effort to change the results — including to their own leaders. It's telling the Sanders himself, who railed so passionately against both Trump and Clinton, thinks the recount is "not a big deal." And his statements are reflective of the beliefs of others on the left who believe that the recount is an exercise in delaying the inevitable.
Call it cynicism, realism or fatalism — there is absolutely no precedent, even in as unprecedented an election year as this one, for a recount to flip electoral college votes from one candidate to another. Clinton would have to have won the majority of the votes in all three of the contested states, and with Pennsylvania declaring that Stein missed their recount deadline, the recount push is seeming more and more like a pipe dream. There might be a tiny light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to swaying faithless electors before Dec. 19, but barring a miracle, it's high time we all face the music.