My first thought the moment I heard about Jill Stein asking for money for a vote recount was: Why? What the hell is she up to here? She hates Clinton. This makes no sense!
Per CBS, Stein’s campaign manager David Cobb said in a Nov. 23 Facebook post that the Green Party was calling for a recount because “over the last 48, 72 hours, reports have come in from cyber experts, from forensic experts and others who are reporting to us some very troubling news about the possibility of security breaches in voting results across this country.”
Everything has moved so quickly since then. The Green Party candidate originally set a goal of raising $2.5 million to fund recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, three states that Trump won by around one percent. Originally, the fundraising website stated:
If we do not raise enough for any recount (which is highly unlikely) we pledge to use the money for election integrity efforts and to promote systematic voting system reform. (Source)
However, as the donations came in, the goal was raised to $4.5 million then $7 million. Also, the wording on the website was changed.
We cannot guarantee a recount will happen in any of these states we are targeting. We can only pledge we will demand recounts in those states.
If we raise more than what’s needed, the surplus will also go toward election integrity efforts and to promote voting system reform.
The chances of this having any effect on the outcome of the election are almost nil. Nate Silver laid out a comprehensive case for demographics, not hacking, explaining the election results.
Nate Cohn ran a separate analysis that showed the population density, when added to race and education, completely accounted for the difference between electronic and paper ballots.
Back to my original question. Why would Jill Stein do this? Josh Marshall at TPM has a few theories.
I will simply point out that in addition to the money raised, a campaign like this also generates an extremely valuable donor list. There’s no crime in that, every campaign does the same thing. But it is impossible not to see it in a different light considering the extreme improbability of affecting the outcome of the election or even there being tampering of any sort to discover. I don’t think anyone during this election spent more time talking about danger of Russian subversion of the electoral process than I did. And I don’t think I have to tell you how unhappy I am about the result. But I have seen no evidence of any election day vote manipulation. At best, I think this is basically a publicity stunt for Jill Stein. At worst, well … the ever-escalating goals speak for themselves. An election campaign really has no limit on how much money it can raise or spend. Recounts are finite. There’s only so much recounting you can do – even when you pile on ‘lawyers fees’ and fees for recount workers.
I’m a skeptic by nature. When it comes to money, I want proof. It is the nature of who I am and what I do. If after having all of this information, you still feel compelled to donate, and it is not going to prevent you from putting food on your table…I will leave that decision to you. However, please make sure you have all of the facts. And don’t get your hopes up.
Whatever her intentions, Jill Stein’s chances of accomplishing anything beyond making some noise just do not appear to exist. I wish all of the experts were wrong.