Out of the Blue: Oh, those election recount blues (opinion)
November 30, 2016
It sounds so promising. As our election fallout continues to trickle through still-stunned news outlets, headlines remain irresistible: RECOUNT! WISCONSIN! PENNSYLVANIA!
Before readers get to the meat of these pieces, it seems — however distant and vague — that there's hope that the world didn't turn upside-down a few weeks ago, that the forward momentum of our liberal cause wasn't a national case of well-intentioned missed opportunities.
Just to make sure I put a clamp on my own lingering fantasies of cooked ballot boxes and computer hacks from inside the Trump campaign, I spent an hour this weekend diving past the bullet-point news aggregate click-bait of these articles about Jill Stein and the recount in various states to discern what (if anything) the results of recalculations would mean to the USA at large. Is it all a rouse? A 'scam' as crybaby Donald Trump's tweets imply?
The Nation assessed Jill Stein's attention toward recounts as an investigation into election integrity issues "seeking to resolve questions about human errors and mechanical mishaps and to relieve concerns about the remote prospect of hacking." Stein wants to address the concerns Donald so snarkily had before election night: She wants to make sure the system isn't rigged.
If there was even a tenth of the foreign influence on this year's election as conspiracy-laden trending social media fictions would have us believe, a legit sway from a proven interferer would perhaps be contemptibly illegal enough to inspire an inquiry into the fashions in which computers around the world helped push the presidential election one way rather than another.
I know this sort of muckraking is not exactly noble, but that's how disorienting this election has been for some of us: Everything political is suddenly backwards, which means all players' motivations are subject to perusal.
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And, it comes as no surprise to this voter that the minute recount instigations were dumped into the news sphere, our president-elect, who had so valiantly not gone on an online rampage in a week (the equivalent of a bully not needing a time-out during recess), decided to return to his vitriolic, WWE-announcer syntax, shouting inane orders and giving dissenters a shaming boo.
But here's the thing, Donald: do you believe in the way the Electoral College works or don't you? I'm no chump — I know it would take a miracle on the scale of waving hello to Tahoe Tessie herself in Kings Beach to change the outcome of this election, and if that truly is the case, what are you so nervous about?
Your stinging words, uncouth and snippy, sound like the grumblings of someone nervous about getting caught having acted illegally, as though detective Jill Stein might soon discover evidence of the deal you made with the devil to sway this thing.
Here I go again, venturing more than just knee-deep into a conspiracy landscape that all intellectually accountable humans know to peek into from a distance.
But I linger in this ether because president-elect Trump himself does. If he really believes that "millions of people voted illegally," it should be incumbent upon every precinct in the nation to recount, to confirm that only folks who had cast their ballot with administrative integrity be allowed a voice in the matter.
To attest that votes were cast illegally and turn away from that, toward the throne, without a thorough re-investigation is treason (or at least a manifestation of patent disinterest in allowing a republic to represent itself appropriately).
This Democrat is all in with this recount. If something is rotten in Denmark, we must use the tools Americans have spent decades/centuries putting into place so folks trying to tip the scales illegally get theirs.
If we are to take Donald at his word and assume he's a president for all of us, he shouldn't get sassy with spoiled-brat responses to these legal processes: he should embrace them.
By welcoming a widespread recount, Trump as leader of the free world would allow his nation to triple-check that their will was carried out, that the system of law that we hold so dear to our political identities remains as strident and representative as our founding fathers intended.
And if you think that's how it's actually going to play out, please give Tahoe Tessie my best when you see her next.
Mike Restaino is a writer and filmmaker based out of Incline Village. He is also a Vice Chair of the North Tahoe Democrats. He can be reached at email@example.com.