She could end up being the most popular “losing” candidate in history
The 2016 presidential election isn’t over. Well, at least technically it isn’t. That’s because absentee and overseas ballots continue to pour in, extending Hillary Clinton’s lead in the popular vote to more than two million and counting. Plus, Trump’s lead in the state of Michigan is so small that the results there are still technically undecided.
According to Politico, the current vote tally stands at 64,223,958 votes for Clinton and 62,206,395 votes for Trump.
The New York Times notes that’s already the biggest gap between a winning and losing candidate since the disputed election of 1876, a campaign haunted by the ghosts of the Civil War in which the country was trying, and failing, to recover from old wounds tied to race.
All of this uncertainty has created a growing movement in progressive circles, where opponents of Trump are looking for any possibility to deny him the presidency before he is formally sworn into office on January 20th.
Most of those ideas are far-fetched to put it kindly, but a new idea emerged on Tuesday that has a lot of people talking. Two computer scientists are reportedly urging Clinton’s campaign to contest the results in Michigan and two other swing states (Wisconsin and Pennsylvania) alleging that the results there may have been altered due to voter fraud.
However, even this idea is very unlikely to go anywhere. Reportedly, the White House is actively discouraging Clinton or her surrogates from contesting the election results, instead favoring a smooth transition of power with Trump, however much they opposed his campaign along the way. Also, the New York Times’ own polling analyst Nate Cohn disputes the theory put forth by voting-rights attorney John Bonifaz and computer scientist J. Alex Halderman, saying it was other factors like education and race that swung those vital states to the Republican column.
There’s no denying that even if Trump makes it into the White House without any legal challenges, his presidency will have a huge asterisk over it that will far overshadow the one that was regularly brought up during George W. Bush’s first term in office after losing the popular vote to Al Gore. It doesn’t mean Trump will be stopped from pursuing his agenda but it will give Democrats and progressive activists an incredibly powerful response to anyone claiming he has a true mandate.