Before I get started, I’ll say what I have said during our weekly podcast: I do not think Green Party candidate Jill Stein is the reason that Hillary Clinton lost in Michigan. Despite the fact that if only a quarter of Stein voters hadn’t thrown their vote away on a candidate they KNEW would never come close to winning, the Clinton campaign lost largely because they took Michigan for granted. They parachuted into the state just a couple of weeks before the primary, ran a tepid, half-hearted campaign, and were soundly beaten by Sen. Bernie Sanders. Then, having completely NOT learned their lesson, they didn’t have their volunteers knock doors during the General Election campaign until October 12th, the day after the voter registration deadline. Read that again. They didn’t knock a single door until less than a month before the election. And they did no persuasion GOTV to speak of.
So, yeah, they lost their own election and Jill Stein isn’t responsible for that.
That said, I find Jill Stein’s efforts to force election recounts/audits in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania to be little more than self-serving exploitation of Democrats’ hopes and fears – hopes that the election of Donald Trump is some sort of nightmare that we’ll all wake up from and fears that he was elected based some sort of election rigging – to build her mailing list and keep her name in the mediasphere for an extended period.
On Thursday, Stein filed for a recount in Wisconsin. On Monday, she’s expected to do the same in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Despite the fact that it will likely only cost a bit over $2 million, Stein has raised over $5 million and, after continuing to raise its goals as the money pours in, they are shooting to raise $7 million with the extra money going toward “legal fees”, primarily in Pennsylvania where they missed the deadline. By the way, that’s twice the amount she raised to run for president.
Stein admits that she doesn’t expect to change the outcome:
“What we’re doing is standing up for an election system that we can trust. We deserve to have votes that we can believe in,” she said in a video on her Facebook page. “This is a commitment that Greens have expressed that we stand for election integrity, that we support voting systems that respect our vote. We demand voting systems that are accurate, that are publicly controlled, that are not privatized.” […]
“This initiative is not about helping one candidate and hurting another,” she said. “We said over and over, we don’t support either of them. In this recount effort, we’re not attempting to overthrow Donald Trump, and I don’t expect that will be the outcome.”
Which of course doesn’t explain why she’s filing for recounts in the three states where the margin was closest. Why not target states that used internet-connected election systems or have a high percentage of touch screen voting booths? Michigan, by the way, isn’t one of them:
Chris Thomas, the longtime director of Michigan’s Bureau of Elections, said Michigan doesn’t use the electronic voting machines identified in the report as being the sources of potential hacking.
“We are an entire paper and optical scan state,” Thomas told the Free Press Wednesday. “Nothing is connected to the Internet.”
I agree with my friend Chris Bowers, Executive Campaign Director at Daily Kos, who wrote on his Facebook page, “If these recounts do actually happen, they will not make even one person who currently thinks the election was hacked believe otherwise. Not one.”
You can be sure of this, though, when you make your donation, your email will be safely saved for the Green Party’s run in 2020.
I have no problem with building an alternative party in this country. In fact, I hope that the day comes when we do have more than two to choose from. But until that day comes, I’m with Dan Savage:
[L]et’s talk about the Green Party for just a moment, or third parties, getting a third party movement off the ground here in this country. Because we are sick of the two party system!
Here’s how you fucking do that: you run people not just for fucking president every four fucking years.
I have a problem with the Greens, I have a problem with the Libertarians. I have a problem with these fake, attention seeking, grandstanding Green/Libertarian party candidates who pop up every four years, like mushrooms in shit, saying that they’re building a third party. And those of us who don’t have a home in the Republican Party, don’t have a home in the Democratic Party, can’t get behind every Democratic position or Republican position, should gravitate toward these third parties. And help build a third party movement by every four fucking years voting for one of these assholes like Jill fucking Stein, who I’m sure is a lovely person, she’s only an asshole in this aspect.
If you’re interested in building a third party, a viable third party, you don’t start with president. You don’t start by running someone for fucking president.
Where are the Green Party candidates for city councils? For county councils? For state legislatures? For state assessor? For state insurance commissioner? For governor? For fucking dogcatcher? I would be SO willing to vote for Green Party candidates who are starting at the bottom, grassroots, bottom up, building a third party, a viable third party.
You don’t do that by trotting out the reanimated corpse of Ralph fucking Nader every four fucking years. Or his doppelgänger, whoever it is now, Jill Stein and some asshole-to-be-named four years from now. You start by running grassroots, local campaigns. And there’ve been — and I’m sure we’re going hear from lots of people out there listening — there have been a couple of Green Party candidates who’ve run in other races here and there across the country. But no sustained effort to build a Green Party nationally. Just this griping, bullshitty, grandstanding, fault-finding, purity-testing, holier than thou-ing, that we are all subjected to every four fucking years by the Green Party candidate.
There is little the Democrats in America would like more than for the election to be overturned and the presidency awarded to Hillary Clinton. However, Jill Stein’s self-serving #AuditTheVote effort isn’t going to do it and her crass exploitation of Dems’ hopes and fears should be seen for what it is: craven self-promotion.
[CC image credit: Gage Skidmore | Flickr]