Vol. 11    No. 24
NOVEMBER 24, 2016
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                                                 Presidential Recount
President-elect Donald Trump is quite a trip. If the presidency of the United States wasn’t such a serious matter — I think it is still the most
powerful position in Earth — I would probably break out laughing every day. Trump speaks out of both sides of his mouth to reach his
objectives regardless of the truth.

In many ways, Trump is the epitome of capitalism. Say whatever you think people want to hear — usually tinged with sex — regardless of the
truth in order to sell whatever product you are hawking to a gullible public. In this case, the product was Donald Trump as President of the
United States.

And so, earlier this year when it looked like he was falling behind in the public opinion polls, Trump started chortling — or should I say tweeting
— that the election results were going to be fixed if he didn’t win the election. Trump was questioning the very legitimacy of the U.S. electoral
system as a way to salve his ego if he lost the election. It was a preemptive strike, staying one step ahead of reality to spin the future in a way
where he couldn’t lose. Either he would win legitimately or he would lose because someone else stole the election.

I couldn’t help but think that Trump was well-prepared to challenge the election results through a recount, that he would be filled with bluster
when the results came down on the night of Tuesday, November 8th.

And why shouldn’t he feel that there was some tampering with the election going on? After all, wasn’t it Trump campaign officials who met with
Russian officials and then, voila, Democratic Party emails were hacked and given to WikiLeaks, which conveniently didn’t start releasing them
until October, the Republican Party’s October Surprise? Here we have foreign entities allegedly deciding the U.S. election aided by Republican
Party operatives and none dare call it treason, to borrow a line from the John Birch Society? And what price will the Trump administration have
to pay Russia for this little favor?

Isn’t this a case of déjà vu?  Back in 1980, wasn’t it purported that Reagan campaign officials secretly met with Iranian officials in Spain prior
to the 1980 presidential election and it was agreed that the Iranians would hold on to the U.S. hostages until after President Jimmy Carter left
office and Reagan was sworn in? And then several years later, didn’t we have the payback to Iran in the form of the Iran-Contra Affair where
the Reagan administration — in direct violation of U.S. law — sold military spare parts to the Iranians and used the proceeds to fund the
Contras in Nicaragua? Was that the price that the Republicans were willing to pay to get Reagan elected?
Now I know this all sounds conspiratorial and I can never 100 percent prove that it is true or not, but it is a “conspiracy theory” view of the
world that Trump subscribes to. Perhaps Trump knew the fix was in, but he just wasn’t sure if it was for him or against him.

And then on Election Day, in spite of all the polling and exit polling, Trump somehow won the Electoral College, although he lost the popular
vote by some 2.5 million. If just 100,000 people voted a different way in three states, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — states that
pollsters had almost placed in Hillary Clinton’s column — Hillary Clinton would have taken those states and would have won the Electoral
College too.

And so conventional electoral wisdom was thrown out the window on Election Day when the internal and exit polls had Hillary winning and
then all of a sudden Donald Trump won and all of a sudden, Donald Trump fell silent on whether or not the election was rigged. With his circular
and egotistical logic, it couldn’t have been rigged because he won. And he fell silent.

But now Jill Stein — no matter what her motives are — has said that using logic, not everything is adding up and is pushing to have a recount
in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Maybe there was a problem or maybe someone did hack into the system and change some of the
votes. And so Stein has raised the money — with the blessing of Hillary Clinton — to do a recount.

And so now, after almost three weeks of silence, Trump has once again started saying that the election was rigged. Only this time, Trump is
claiming that millions of people voted illegally, a claim that is not backed by any facts that Trump — or anyone else — has presented.

The purpose here is for Trump to muddy the waters, to rage about something he very well might have done if the tables were turned. And by
claiming that millions voted illegally, he is also saying that he would have won the popular vote as well. And if a recount shows that he didn’t
win those three states, then Trump has proactively stated his defense that the election was taken away from him illegally. Again, he is trying to
set up the view that if he won, the election was legitimate. If he loses, then the election was stolen because of the millions of alleged illegal

This sure seems to be another instance of Donald Trump’s willingness to throw the entire U.S. election process out the window for the sake of
his own ego. He doesn’t care how many bodies he leaves in his wake as long as he gets what he wants.

It is going to be interesting how this whole recount business ends up. To be honest, I hadn’t given the recount effort much thought as they
usually don’t sway the original vote totals needed for Hillary Clinton to claim victory in those three states. But now I am feeling that Trump does
protest too much and maybe there is something to this recount business. Trump has gotten me curious to see what the outcome of the recount
will be. Stay tuned.