Her support gives the effort more legitimacy
After an election like this, even the faintest of whisper of hope from the Hillary Clinton campaign is enough to send supports (and opponents) into a frenzy. And Clinton may have done just that, giving her official support to a recount effort in Wisconsin launched by Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
A statement released online by Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias reads in part:
“It should go without saying that we take these concerns extremely seriously. We certainly understand the heartbreak felt by so many who worked so hard to elect Hillary Clinton, and it is a fundamental principle of our democracy to ensure that every vote is properly counted.”
Elias says the campaign didn’t plan to file their own recount effort but that they support Stein’s effort, and will back similar efforts likely to be filed in Pennsylvania, Michigan and maybe even Arizona. All of the swing states were narrowly won by Trump in surprising fashion and gave him enough electoral college votes to grant him the presidency, even as he trails Clinton in the popular vote by more than two million and counting. Still, Elias, a veteran of past recount efforts acknowledged this would be the biggest recount comeback in U.S. history if Clinton were somehow miraculously to emerge the victor. But he said it’s about putting the principles of democracy first, even in the face of astronomically long odds:
“We had not planned to exercise this option ourselves, but now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides. If Jill Stein follows through as she has promised and pursues recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan, we will take the same approach in those states as well.”
Clinton herself still hasn’t publicly addressed the effort but she did re-tweet Elias’ post on Saturday, just in case anyone was wondering where she stands on the matter. It’s unclear if she’ll make any public statement about the effort but by giving her blessing, Clinton has added a greater sense of legitimacy to the recount effort led by Stein.
However, that doesn’t mean Stein herself is returning the love. In a series of tweets, she has criticized both Clinton and Trump for not supporting her effort more quickly and offered a series of suggestions on how to make the voting process more free and fair, such as instituting a national holiday for voting. She also made it clear that she’s not working directly with the Clinton team in a separate tweet, but acknowledged she’s reached out to the campaign offices of Clinton, Trump and Gary Johnson:
Needless to say, Trump has been incredibly critical of the effort, calling it a “scam” on Stein’s part of raise money and supporters for herself, with little care for the actual recount itself. At the time of this writing, he had already tweeted 13 times about the recount, even posting a truly bizarre accusation that “millions of people voted illegally” and arguing that he otherwise would have won the popular vote.