Call it entrepreneurship if you will — it’s the closest to the real thing you’re going to get out of a dyed-in-the-wool socialist like failed Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. But give her credit for her efforts.
Stein, who managed a little over 1 percent of the popular vote on Nov. 8 to finish in fourth place, has little to no standing to contest the results of the 2016 election. No recount, conceivable or inconceivable, would result in her managing to secure any electoral votes. Most of the country had no idea who she was before they saw her name on the presidential ballot.
But she managed in just a few days to raise nearly $7 million — double the $3.5 million she raised for the entire 2016 presidential cycle for her hopeless presidential campaign — to fund her demands for a recounting of ballots in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, three states Donald Trump won by 71,000, 21,000 and 11,000 votes, respectively.
It doesn’t cost $7 million to run recount efforts, or even close to it. In Michigan, for example, the official cost for a recount is $125 per precinct, of which there are 6,300 statewide — the entire effort would cost $787,500. The estimated cost of the Wisconsin recount has been put at $3.5 million, but on Monday the state Elections Commission voted to bill her $1 million. In Pennsylvania, Stein estimates the cost of the recount will be about $500,000. Stein initially said she expected to spend a million dollars on attorneys’ fees, but now claims that she’ll need to spend between $2-3 million, which seems like a rather elastic figure which interestingly corresponds with what she has in the bank thanks to the generosity of the 137,000 suckers who threw cash at this cockamamie Hail Mary pass.
And Stein says she’s going to donate the excess cash raised for this effort will to “charity” and — wait for it — “election integrity efforts and to promote voting system reform.”
Which could mean anything.
Fortune magazine diagnosed the statement and hit on the likely destination for that money — a political party, which would be permissible under FEC rules.
As Stein is the Green Party’s presidential candidate and has been for the past two cycles, you can guess which party is getting that excess.
And you can also guess just how much of the recount money is actually getting spent.
Probably not as much as advertised in Wisconsin, where on Wednesday a judge denied Stein’s request for a statewide hand recount — instead, it’ll be a machine recount. Gosh, that’s too bad.
And in Pennsylvania, to get a statewide recount essentially involves winning a lawsuit alleging fraud — and the one Stein filed on Monday, which is more or less a placeholder suit without any such allegations, has little chance of doing that. The chances of it being thrown out are quite good. Oh, well.
Donald Trump says a lot of goofy things — when he said a national recount would prove he won the popular vote by resulting in “illegal” votes being thrown out, it was certainly regrettable — but his characterization of this effort was spot on. “This recount is just a way for Jill Stein, who received less than one percent of the vote overall and wasn’t even on the ballot in many states, to fill her coffers with money, most of which she will never even spend on this ridiculous recount,” he said in a statement.
It turns out that even the Green Party isn’t completely on board with what Stein is doing. Her running mate Ajamu Baraka said he wasn’t in favor of the recount, and that it was a “potentially dangerous move,” as it would be seen as “carrying water” for the Democrats. And Dr. Margaret Flowers, the party’s Senate candidate in Maryland, put out a lengthy screed attacking the effort, and particularly its fundraising, as a matter of principle because the Greens shouldn’t be raising money from the same people the Republicans and Democrats do, whatever that’s supposed to mean.
Guess who’s not opposed to Stein’s recount gambit? Hillary Clinton. Even though Clinton’s campaign attorney concluded in a blog post that there is nothing “actionable” to justify the recount, the campaign nevertheless joined in the Wisconsin effort as a matter of “principle.”
“We do so fully aware that the number of votes separating Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the closest of these states — Michigan — well exceeds the largest margin ever overcome in a recount,” the attorney, Mark Elias, said. “But regardless of the potential to change the outcome in any of the states, we feel it is important, on principle, to ensure our campaign is legally represented in any court proceedings and represented on the ground in order to monitor the recount process itself.”
This probably goes without saying, but I can’t help but point out the political stupidity of the Clintonites, or Democrats in general, helping to legitimize Jill Stein’s recount ploy.
Sure, engaging in this dead-ender activity helps to fuel the “we wuz robbed!” crowd among the Democrat grassroots, many of whom are spending their time writing email demands to electors pledged to Trump that they instead vote for Hillary when the Electoral College meets Dec. 19. One such elector tells me he’s received some 28,000 emails with more than two weeks to go, and he’s yet to see one that has changed his mind. Nor have any of the phone calls he’s getting at his office or home with the same demand. In this way, the Clintons and the Democrats can pleasure themselves by building the narrative of President Trump as illegitimate — though that didn’t seem to work so well for Al Gore in 2000.
But irrespective of Baraka’s warning about water-carrying, nobody can really believe that the $2-4 million Stein will bank for the Green Party — if in fact that’s all it turns out to be, since she’s still raising money for this effort which Clinton has now legitimized and made mainstream — will be spent on things the Democrats will like. Quite the contrary — the problem with third parties is nobody will give them any money, because it’s wasted on candidates with no chance to win. Now, the Greens will have millions of dollars to spend on campaigns targeted in districts far-left enough to actually compete with Democrats.
City council races. Mayoral races. State legislative races. Maybe even a congressional race or two. Perhaps this is the start of a legitimate third party on the Left that siphons enough votes away from the Democrats to turn a lot of purple states red and some blue states purple.
After all, it now has a donor base of some 137,000 people, and a list it can rent to every far-left outfit with enough money to pay for it. And that’s a hell of a good list, too — because if you’re dumb enough to donate to a cause as hopeless as Stein’s recount, you’ll stroke a check to save the capybaras or keep corporate America from killing black children with chemtrails, or whatever else some “entrepreneur” might concoct to separate you from your fashionable-leftist wallet.
And Hillary Clinton is participating in creating this monster, as though she hasn’t done enough damage to the Democrats already.
When this election cycle started over a year and a half ago, few would have thought the Clintons were the dumb ones on the political scene. Now, it may be that Baraka has it completely wrong — it’s the Democrats carrying water for the Greens, whether they even recognize it.