You might be hard pressed to find a political journalist who’s been harder on Jill Stein than I have. I don’t find legitimacy in her extremist views, her craven approach, you name it. So when I learned earlier today that Stein was holding a fundraiser to cover the cost of a recount in the three key swing states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, I was skeptical to say the least. But after doing some research and some soul searching, I’ve decided – just this once – to get behind Stein’s effort. And although they may be skeptical as well, I’m encouraging Hillary Clinton’s supporters to do the same. Here’s why.
My first concern was that Jill Stein may have been doing this as some kind of scam. But after speaking with people who know the legalities of these things, I’ve concluded that this is very much legitimate. Stein does have legal recourse to require a recount even though she has no chance of winning those states. Recounts do have to be paid for by the candidate requesting them. If Stein hits her fundraising goal for each state by that state’s deadline, the recount will happen in that state. And it would be just about impossible for Stein to use any of this money for other purposes.
When it comes to Hillary Clinton’s supporters, this is also the best path forward in the optics department. If Jill Stein is the one forcing the recounts, it means Hillary gets a recount in three states that can collectively flip this election for her, without having to demand it herself. That way no one can accuse her of being a sore loser. If Hillary is going to proceed with contesting this election, the outcome will depend at least partially on how the public views it. And it’s far better for her if someone else fires the first salvo on her behalf.
Jill Stein’s recount is, regardless of her motives, the best way for Hillary Clinton’s supporters to move forward with the push to rightfully deliver her an election victory. Hillary is now only behind in Wisconsin by around twenty thousand votes, and behind in Michigan by less than ten thousand votes. Each time a precinct revises its tallies, the totals shift further in Hillary’s direction. This can be overturned. So I’ve decided to throw up a little in my mouth and go ahead and donate to Jill Stein’s recount fundraiser. In times like these we can’t afford to be purists, and this is simply what’s necessary.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report