Monday, November 28, 2016
The Recount Hail Mary
The Wall Street JournalOpinion
Review & Outlook
The left may get an unexpected lesson in electoral federalism.
Remember when Democrats and the left scored Donald Trump for worrying that the election might be “rigged”? Well, now that he’s won, the same crowd is demanding recounts in three battleground states on grounds that the Russians rigged the results.
On Saturday what’s left of the Clinton campaign said it will join the recount effort demanded by Green Party candidate Jill Stein in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. The conspiracy theory for which they have no evidence is that Russian hackers rigged voting machines to manipulate the results. The Obama Administration has said it detected no such hacking and that the elections were “free and fair from a cybersecurity perspective.”
But reality doesn’t matter in the fake-news world of the far left any more than it does on the far right. The recount may be a progressive gambit to raise money from the gullible, or perhaps to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election. The ultimate Hail Mary would be to raise enough smoke about irregularities that individual electors would deny Mr. Trump the 270 votes he needs in the Electoral College.
Mr. Trump leads in 30 states with 306 electoral votes, and he would have to lose all three contested states to lose the election. He leads by some 71,000 votes in Pennsylvania, a little more than 20,000 in Wisconsin, and by nearly 11,000 in Michigan. If you think U.S. politics is polarized now, try handing the White House to Hillary Clinton now.
The silver lining may be to teach a lesson in electoral federalism. It’s all but impossible for hackers to rig U.S. elections because they are run locally and voting machines aren’t connected to a national internet network, as Hans von Spakovsky and John Fund explained on these pages in September. Progressives, not conservatives, want to nationalize election laws. So go ahead and do the recounts and then accept that Mr. Trump won fair and square.