Let’s say you’re Donald Trump and his campaign staff, and you’ve just won the election fair and square, according to Electoral College rules. But you’re facing massive backlash from millions of Americans who think you rigged the vote, and you have no semblance of a mandate. Some obscure third party candidate moves forward with a recount in three states that no one believes you really won. The recounts will prove that you won legitimately, so this should be your lucky day, right? So why is the Trump campaign staff instead going out of their minds with palpable public panic as the recounts get underway?
One might expect Donald Trump himself to instinctively rail against the idea of recounts, because he takes every action as a personal slight. In the past two weeks he’s lashed out immaturely at everyone from TV shows to Broadway actors to photographers whom he thinks weren’t kind to him, because that’s simply his nature, and he doesn’t seem to care whether such ranting helps or harms his cause. But his top staffers and surrogates, embarrassing as many of them are, at least have the political sense to grasp that these recounts can’t hurt them (and may marginally help them) if the voting results were legitimate to begin with.
And yet here we have Kellyanne Conway, who is usually smooth enough to casually get so many lies out in one sentence that interviewers have a hard time correcting her on it, is resorting to blurting out something as inartful “What a pack of sore losers.” Whoever wrote the supposed statement released from Donald Trump himself tonight was panicked enough to use words like “ridiculous” and “scam” while bashing the recount effort.
There only two reasons for Donald Trump’s staff to be hitting the panic button over these recounts already. One is if they fear the result may have been rigged and that the recounts could overturn it, costing them the White House jobs they were expecting. The other is if they know the result was rigged, because they rigged it, and they fear the recount will trace the fraud back to them. Short of those two scenarios, Trump’s staff would be simply sitting back and letting the recount play out, confirming they really did win those three states and giving their administration just a bit of credibility in the process. Instead, their decision to immediately reach for the panic button – publicly no less – speaks volumes.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report