Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Shame on Jill Stein for "PR stunt," and on Hillary Clinton for joining it; Update: Files in MI, gets denied hand count in WI

Jill Stein wants a hand recount in Wisconsin — and even Wisconsinites disappointed in Donald Trump’s win there are none too happy about it. The editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, not exactly a bastion of conservative thought in a Democratic Party stronghold, dumps scorn on the Green Party nominee for pursuing an “audacious PR stunt” that could put the state’s Electoral College slate at risk for no good reason at all. This isn’t about “democracy” or “ballot integrity,” the editors write — it’s “about marketing Jill Stein and the Green Party”:

Jill Stein may actually believe that demanding a recount of presidential tallies in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania will ensure that “democracy” is served.

More likely, she believes the Green Party will be served by her audacious PR stunt.

Either way, the Stein recounts are a colossal waste of money and energy when there is not a shred of credible evidence of fraud or error and when the final vote in these three states likely will not change very much.

The MJS editors don’t aim all their scorn at Stein, either. They recall in detail Hillary Clinton’s objections to questioning the outcomes of elections prior to November 8th. The editorial then notes that Hillary’s campaign attorney has attached her campaign to Stein’s recount efforts and wonders where the gracious concession went:

We assume Clinton still believes what she said in her gracious concession speech the day after the election: “Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”

She should reiterate that sentiment now in a clear, public statement. And, she should reject Stein’s games.

As the MSJ’s editors note, there hasn’t been any evidence of tampering with ballot counts or canvassing results. They call the social-media claims of mass fraud “debunked and paranoid theories,” which applies to more states than just Wisconsin. Without any such evidence, no need exists for a time-consuming hand count of ballots, especially since (a) the gaps are far too wide for recounts to overcome in any form, and (b) Stein’s status as fourth-place loser isn’t going to change at all.

In my column for The Week, I point out the ridiculous nature of these demands, and Stein’s desperate bid for relevance in a cycle that stripped such delusions from her:

Most people couldn’t wait for the grueling, nasty, seemingly interminable 2016 election to end. Jill Stein wants to keep it going. And she’s willing to waste a lot of money, time, and attention to do so. Like a bad actor that insists on one last curtain call after the audience has headed for the exits, the Green Party nominee seems to stubbornly believe in her relevance even after the election demonstrated its non-existence beyond any doubt. …

Stein continues to insist that she wants to pursue the recounts to demand change in voting infrastructure. But her recounts, like those 27 that have preceded them since 2000, would likely make the opposite point — that our vote-counting infrastructure actually gets accurate and reliable results. Even the Florida debacle in 2000 changed the results by [only] 0.022 percent, just about the same percentage as in 2008’s Minnesota recount. It would take 10 times that kind of scale to flip Michigan, and 30 times that scale to flip Wisconsin. Stein’s recount demands envision vote swings on a patently ridiculous scale.

Small wonder that even Democrats like Joe Trippi have openly scorned Stein’s effort. “It’s a waste of time and effort,” the Democratic strategist said. “I think it probably was the Stein people looking for a way to stay relevant, raise some money, and take the stink off of them” — a reference to accusations that Stein played a spoiler role in diverting enough Clinton votes in these states to give Trump the victory. Bob Shrum, another Democratic eminence grise, put it more bluntly — that there was “no chance” for these recounts to succeed.

Ballot integrity and voting infrastructure aren’t the reason for Stein’s stunts. Neither is the election outcome. Stein just wants to keep imposing herself on the national stage, eating up time and resources from state governments in order to raise money from suckers unhappy with Trump’s victory and feed her own delusions of relevance. Shame on her, and shame on those egging her on.

The election is over. Jill Stein and her PR team should quit wasting the time and resources of the people of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, and take Ferris Bueller’s advice:


Update: As expected, Stein has filed for a recount in Michigan:

Green Party nominee Jill Stein has officially filed a request for a presidential recount in Michigan.

“The people of Michigan and all Americans deserve a voting system we can trust,” Stein said in a statement on Wednesday.

“After a presidential election tarnished by the use of outdated and unreliable machines and accusations of irregularities, people of all political persuasions are asking if our election results are reliable.”

No, they’re really not, not if they’ve followed the issue at all over the last 16 years. In fact, the Stein campaign failed to offer any evidence of unreliability, which prompted a judge in Wisconsin to reject a request to require hand recounts in all counties of the state:

Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein has been pushing hard for election recounts in several states. Wisconsin agreed, but then Stein demanded that the recount be done by hand, claiming that a manual recount would be more accurate than one done by machine. When the state Elections Commission rejected her, Stein sued, and was joined by Hillary Clinton in the legal effort. After a four-hour hearing on Tuesday evening, however, the court ruled against her.

Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn ruled that there was no reason to order the entire state to recount the votes by hand, saying there was no evidence that it would be more accurate. Judge Bailey-Rihn agreed, after Stein’s own experts were unable to show that the computer systems had been attacked.

But Stein gets another talking point for her fundraising letters to the paranoid-conspiracy fringe she serves, so it’s win-win.