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Forget the recount; let’s move on

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We found the news that Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was requesting vote recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan surprising and disappointing.

Stein obviously lost the election badly and there is no way that recounts in all of the states she is questioning would even give her the 5 percent of the vote necessary for the Green Party to qualify for federal funds in the next election.

That makes us wonder if someone from the camp of Hillary Clinton, who has officially joined in the recount request in Wisconsin, prompted Stein to request the recounts first. Perhaps Clinton did not want to ask for the recounts directly for fear of being branded a sore loser, especially after she and her supporters derided Republican candidate Donald Trump’s claims during the campaign that the election would be rigged and told him that he would have to accept the results of the election.

There would be precedent for trying to save face by hiding behind others in recount requests. Richard Nixon did it in 1960 after the closest election of the 20th century.

He lost to John F. Kennedy by only 113,000 votes out of 68 million cast.

The voting that year was close in Texas and Illinois – Kennedy won Illinois by only 9,000 votes, a smaller margin than any of the states Stein disputes this year – and had both those states gone to Nixon, he would have won the election.

According to journalist David Greenberg, Nixon said he chose not to seek a recount because it would cause a “constitutional crisis,” hurt America in the eyes of the world, and “tear the country apart.” Besides, he added, pursuing the claims would mean “charges of ‘sore loser’ would follow me through history and remove any possibility of a further political career.”

But Greenberg reported that Nixon’s “allies did dispute the results – aggressively. The New York Herald Tribune’s Earl Mazo, a friend and biographer of Nixon’s, recounted a dozen-odd fishy incidents alleged by Republicans in Illinois and Texas. Largely due to Mazo’s reporting, the charges gained wide acceptance. But it wasn’t just Mazo who made a stink. The press went into a brief frenzy in the weeks after the election. Most important, the Republican Party made a veritable crusade of undoing the results. Even if they ultimately failed, party leaders figured they could taint Kennedy’s victory, claim he had no mandate for his agenda, galvanize the rank and file, and have a winning issue for upcoming elections.”

Perhaps that is what Stein or Clinton is trying to do to Trump’s agenda. But it still seems a waste of time and money to us, and yes, it does make them appear to be sore losers.

Stein said she suspected some voting machines were hacked, but such charges would be just as hard to prove with a recount as charges of fraud in Cook County, Ill., (Democrat Mayor Richard Daley’s county, which Kennedy won by an incredible 450,000 votes) in 1960 were. A recount of 863 precincts there gained only 943 votes for Nixon, far short of the 4,500 needed to switch the state to his side.

It’s time for the Democratic Party, the Green Party and all involved in this year’s election to move on, abandon recount efforts, and declare this election officially over.

If they suspect that hacking of voting machines was done, they should try to promote reforms that would make it more difficult for such hacking to occur in future elections.

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