A Clinton Recount Victory Could Severely Backfire

Believe me, I'm with you. I'm as scared of a Donald Trump presidency as you are. I had my pantsuit out on Election Day, I voted for Hillary Clinton weeks early, I spent the days after the finding out the results randomly crying on street corners. And yet — a Clinton win after the recount would be worse for America than a Trump presidency.

I certainly wouldn't say that the American democracy is in great shape after this election. Only a third of Americans support the Electoral College, a number that likely hasn't gotten any higher after the second time in five elections that a candidate won the popular vote but lost the election due to the Electoral College. The country has witnessed weeks of anti-Trump protests, and the president-elect's cabinet and close adviser choices have, at best, significant ties to big banks. But still, even though I don't like to hear any of this, all of it is proof of the functioning of the democracy. The Electoral College is the system the country works on for now, for better or for worse. Protests are a mark of the strength of a democracy. The new president naturally gets to make cabinet picks, and the opposing party was never going to be happy about them.

However, if recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania were to discover enough cases of voter fraud or tampering with the vote to hand the election to Clinton, that would be another thing altogether. A Hillary Clinton victory after recounts could be terrible for the nation's faith in democracy.

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Despite what the Republicans may say, people who still live in a fact-based world know that voter fraud just isn't an issue in the United States. I mean, it's not non-existent, but there have only been four documented cases of voter fraud in the 2016 election. Four. Well over 100 million votes cast, and you can count the instances of voter fraud on one hand. And that, if nothing else, is something that the American people can take comfort in. Our elections are fair and free, and using our crazy system, We The People choose our elected officials.

If it were to turn out that the election wasn't fair and free, that somehow the fears of Russian hacking or any other threat came true and actually swayed the election in Clinton's favor, it could destroy American trust in the system for many elections to come. Hacking emails is one thing; tampering with closely guarded voting systems in three states is a breach on a whole new level. The people who believe Trump's claims about millions of fraudulent votes would be joined by the people based in the real world. Where would the country turn next? How could an election ever be trustworthy again?

It's a point of no return, an event horizon, that I have no desire to cross. Clinton's backers have already started gathering forces, and her campaign is right not to come out strongly in support of the recount. I'm going to do this the old-fashioned way — with letters and calls to our elected officials, protests, and a strong organization for a big win in the 2018 midterms.