Donald Trump’s victory spurred great opposition and protest throughout the United States. Now, Trump’s detractors have called into question the very legitimacy of his victory through a series of recount motions.
When Donald Trump declared victory in the early morning hours following Election Day, he was losing the popular vote by a relatively small margin. Since then, Hillary Clinton’s lead has risen to 2,358,410 votes. Naturally, Americans are expressing concerns over this seemingly undemocratic result.
Questions about the legitimacy of Trump’s victory raise several important points that must be considered. The merits of electing a president solely by the popular vote are disputable. However, let us assume that the popular vote is, in fact, a better system at delivering the most democratic result. It is still unreasonable to believe that the popular vote of this election accurately reflected the opinions of American voters.
If the system was determined by popular vote, the fluctuation of voter turnout and voting along party lines would completely change. For instance, red voters in blue states would be more likely to vote and vice versa. Thus, the popular vote in 2016 is not a reliable way to determine America’s true voting preference. Whether one questions the electoral system or not, it is unfair to use the popular vote as a reason to suggest that Donald Trump is not America’s president.
Amid this popular vote controversy, Jill Stein has called for recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Stein initiated the grassroots movement to pay for the filing and attorney fees associated with the recounts. The current goal is set at $7 million, and Stein has raised over $6 million. The money pushed through a petition in Wisconsin which is on its way to producing a recount. A similar petition was filed in Pennsylvania, while Michigan’s recount is waiting for supporters to fund the rest of the fees.
Yet, many questions surround Jill Stein’s recount efforts. First, the actual motivation for these recounts is vague. On her website, Stein claims that there were statistical anomalies concerning “machine-counted vote totals.” Stein presents slim evidence to support that the 2016 results do not correspond with pre-election polls. Basically, Stein believes that there may be tampering because the results did not match up with expectations in polls. These “statistical anomalies” seem to be the only evidence offered to support the supposed voter tampering.
In addition, Stein states on her website that excess funds will “go toward election integrity efforts.” The phrasing here suggests that if the recounts do not occur, the money may be passed on to the Green Party or Jill Stein’s campaign. However, the recounts will likely not change the result of the election. All three of the states would have to be flipped to do so. Even Jill Stein admits the recounts are unlikely to change the results.
Despite these developments, Donald Trump will take office in January 2017. However, the recount has elicited responses from both candidates. Hillary Clinton’s campaign decided to take part in the recounts in Wisconsin. This decision caused many Republican to call Clinton a hypocrite for criticizing Trump’s remarks about accepting the results of the election. On the other hand, Donald Trump was criticized for falsely stating that his loss in the popular vote was due to illegal immigrants and his inability to campaign. The controversy raises concerns for members of both parties, but there is no chance that these recounts will change the results of the election.