Recent reports of a pending vote recount in several states leave me with great concern about a holiday season and ensuing presidential term marred by needless controversy and a badly compromised position in the world. Nothing positive can come from this recount effort and it would behoove Secretary Clinton and her apparent surrogate, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, to drop it immediately, before it does irreparable damage to the country.
In that Ms. Stein cannot win the election (and accordingly lacks what lawyers would call 'standing' to pursue the issue - i.e. a real stake in the outcome), it appears that this is either a fundraising ploy for the Green Party or its use by Secretary Clinton to voice her displeasure at the outcome and seek the presidency through the back door. To do so and reach 270 electoral votes, Secretary Clinton would have to overturn the result in all three states at issue - WI, PA and MI with 46 electoral votes - despite Mr. Trump's margin being as high as 60,000 votes in PA, and holding 306 electoral votes.
Note that no one, including Secretary Clinton, has identified any actual instances of errors in vote counting. All that we have heard is that so-called experts have expressed concerns that results may not be consistent with a proper count. This is not much of a basis to subject the country and the world to the uncertainty and instability associated with a recount at this time.
"There is no smoking gun," said George Martin, a former co-chair of the Wisconsin Green Party who's involved in Stein's recount effort.... "There's not something we're pointing to say that this is wrong in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania". ... The campaign stresses that the recounts are not to change the outcome of the results but are rather a check and balance on the process of counting votes.
At best, this effort will be a waste of the time of election officials and not interfere with transition planning efforts which are needed to ensure that the new administration is properly equipped to govern. At worst, it will cause confusion on the part of all concerned within and without the US as to who the next president will be, lead to the election unnecessarily being decided in the courts, and therefore destroy the credibility of both major candidates. It may impede a smooth transition and make the incoming administration - and the country - vulnerable to foreign threats for which it needs to prepare.
Even if the Secretary were somehow able to become president through court fiat, it is highly unlikely that she could govern effectively. The anger of those who voted for Mr. Trump, coupled with reinforcement of her ongoing reputation for sleazy practices which was extensively addressed during the campaign, would destroy her legitimacy and ability to have Americans follow her lead, and result in investigations, acrimony and chaos beyond what we have recently seen, and antithetical to any efforts to improve the lot of Americans. The same result may obtain if the recount effort gains traction and derails the transition efforts, but ultimately fails. It would be a pyrrhic victory indeed to cast doubt on the legitimacy of a Trump Administration.
The 'principled' arguments which I have heard in support of a recount do not hold much water. Many have pointed to the Secretary's victory in the popular vote. Excellent argument for a constitutional amendment to do away with the Electoral College, but one which should be pursued once this election is resolved. This election was conducted for better or worse, under the constitution as it stands and its results should not be disturbed.
It has also been suggested by Ms. Stein's camp (above) and others that the recount process should be used to test the accuracy of our election process. Fair enough, but not a cost of undermining the incoming Administration. This can be accomplished at any time prior to the next election. If the country is going to be put through the trauma associated with a recount at this time, there needs to be a smoking gun. This is NOT the time to address general concerns about the election process
Hopefully, the populace will make clear to the Secretary that even if she 'wins' a recount, she will lose in many ways, and cause the country great pain in the process. The best gift for our country this holiday season is an end to the most painful election in recent memory.