Fielding Yost, the old coach at Michigan at the turn of the century, had the following advice for those who accepted defeat: “all quitters are good losers.” It seems this advice was not followed by a losing candidate in the 2016 election.
And I don’t mean Hilary Clinton.
In three states, at this point far after the election, Green candidate Dr. Jill Stein has filed for a recount, surreptitiously to ensure the validity of the election. And it is true that there’s been much speculation about cyber-attacks from Russia (however unfounded this speculation is). However, it seems a bit odd that a candidate who got around 1% of the vote in these states would stand to gain something from a recount, other than free publicity and a cause for a fundraising push.
Even odder was the help Stein was standing to get from independent candidate Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, who hardly lived up to his fighter’s moniker with a mere 1,500 votes in Wisconsin. (Stein did come up with the funds to pay for the recount in Wisconsin, while De La Fuente threw in the towel Tuesday).
Many reporters have pointed to Trump’s latest bizarre ramblings on Twitter to argue that a recount is warranted. I think two things can be said to counter this argument. First, giving attention to the rantings and ravings of Trump is what led to his meteoric rise in the first place. Had the media not rushed into print with his clever remarks about John McCain and Megan Kelly, his rise to power could perhaps have been prevented.
Giving a man who thrives off controversy and attention even more of it is just adding fuel to the fire. Second, while indeed many valid complaints can be made against Trump’s credentials as President, the #NeverTrump movement needs to wave the white flag and admit defeat at this point. I thought some of the plans to hijack the Republican convention was grasping at straws, but a recount is nothing more than completely empty hope.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board goes so far as to call Dr. Stein’s efforts “a colossal waste of money and energy when there is not a shred of credible evidence of fraud or error and when the final vote in these three states will not change very much” [and certainly not in Stein’s favor, may I add].
Beyond being just a waste of time, the recount could have very real consequences for voters in Wisconsin. Bear in mind that Wisconsin is like most states in that the State is winner take all-Trump got all the electoral votes by winning, leaving none for anyone else.
Sadly, this means any vote cast for Clinton, Dr. Stein, or any other candidate didn’t count-it’s a very unfortunate drawback to the electoral college. But with the recount threatening to drag on to the electoral vote itself, Wisconsin’s votes could be in jeopardy, meaning no one’s votes would count a true democratic tragedy. Dr. Stein even filed a lawsuit to force the state to do the recount by hand, which would take even longer. (The suit was dismissed Tuesday).
Clinton’s campaign has joined the recounts efforts, but mostly just on legal grounds. The blame for this mess can reasonably be placed on the Green Party’s shoulders.
Defeat is, indeed, a bitter pill to swallow. But even Clinton herself-who had a huge lead in the polls even the day of the election-already graciously conceded the election. So to Dr, Stein, or any green or progressive who’s having trouble accepting the election results, I would say: it’s a pill much easier to take with a single gulp.