Democrats are unenthusiastic about the recount effort being mounted by Jill Stein of the Green Party, seeing it as a futile effort that serves only to distract opponents of President-elect Donald Trump’s policy and personnel decisions.
Some Democrats even come close to echoing Trump’s charge that re-tallying votes from the presidential race is just a “scam” being advanced by Stein, who has raised more than $6 million to fund potential recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, three states critical to the Republican nominee’s win.
“It’s a waste of time and money. It is not going to change anything,” said Democratic strategist Joe Trippi, who served as campaign manager for former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign.
“I think it probably was the Stein people looking for a way to stay relevant, raise some money and take the stink off of them. Instead of everybody screaming, ‘You made Trump happen,’ she is counting the votes to change that whole narrative.”
Stein has pushed back vigorously against such criticism. She acknowledges that the recounts are unlikely to change the election’s outcome, even if they proceed in all three states, which is far from guaranteed. But she says it is a worthwhile exercise aimed at ensuring elections are conducted fairly.
“We need to change our voting system. We need to implement these safeguards so that we are not asking the question after the fact,” she told CBS News.
On a fundraising page, Stein pledges that any unused money for the recounts will go “toward election integrity efforts and to promote voting system reform.”
Aides to former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton have sought a middle ground on Stein’s push. The remaining Clinton campaign team will “participate” in the effort but is not actively supporting it.