Jill Stein’s Recount Campaign Is Winning Her New Fame — And Losing Her The Green Party

Jill Stein attended this protest so she would get attention from voters to vote for her in the Green Party

HEMPSTEAD, NY, OCTOBER 04, 2016 – Jill Stein and her party are raising money for presidential recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein attended a protest outside Hofstra University before last week’s presidential debate.

The recount is shaping up to be a huge source of media attention and fundraising for Stein, who barely registered on the national radar during the election. But, ironically, an initiative that has endeared Stein to some of the Democrats who once scorned her is upsetting many of the Green Party leaders who were her most loyal supporters.

Andrea Merida Cuellar, co-chair of the national Green Party, argues that recounts in states like Texas ― where a Green Party railroad commissioner candidate narrowly missed the 5 percent threshold needed to secure the party 2018 ballot access ― would have been more important for the party as a whole.

“This doesn’t really help us in our party-building efforts, in state party building,” Merida said. Merida also believes the party should have higher priorities when it comes to restoring integrity to the voting process. She cites as an example the implementation of ranked choice voting, a process gaining traction in some states and cities.“We have a whole slate of things we need to focus on to make sure that the next time somebody runs, we have a strong state party network to support that candidacy,” Merida said.

Stein’s demand for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania demonstrates arrogance bordering on parody. Stein didn’t lose the election so much as she disappeared in it. More than 134 million ballots have been counted so far. Stein received fewer than 1.5 million of them. That’s barely a percentage point of the overall popular vote. Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson garnered more than 4 million votes, while the two major-party nominees scored between 62 and 65 million votes each.

That means the one candidate who might have a decent argument for recounts in places like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan is Hillary Clinton. (And indeed, Stein’s recount demands are surely intended to help Clinton.) So why hasn’t the Democrat who sustained a shocking loss in the party’s famed “Blue Wall” states pushed for recounts herself? For one thing, Clinton has already conceded the race to Donald Trump, reportedly urged by President Barack Obama to do so.

Beyond that, though, there are many thousands of reasons not to demand a recount. Specifically, there are 10,700 reasons in Michigan, 22,000 in Wisconsin, and 68,000 in Pennsylvania. Those are the votes that Clinton would have to make up in a recount to change the outcome in each state, and she’d need to succeed in all three of those states to change the Electoral College outcome. No recount has ever produced a vote change of that magnitude; no recount has even come close to it. FiveThirtyEight‘s Carl Bialik, working off of data from FairVote, noted that only 3 of 27 statewide recounts since 2000 have succeeded in changing the outcome of an election — and only when the original totals were much closer than any of those seen in the 2016 race.

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