News that Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has requested a recount in Wisconsin, and will likely do the same in Michigan and Pennsylvania, has raised faint hopes among Hillary Clinton supporters that somehow Donald Trump will not become the next president of the United States.
Now that Clinton's campaign has said it will participate in the recount efforts, those supporters' hopes have been lifted even higher.
To put the matter bluntly: They should give up that hope.
There is essentially zero chance that the recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania will change Trump's lead, which number in the thousands, not hundreds, in all three states. Trump is winning Wisconsin by a little more than 27,000 votes; his lead in Michigan sits at around 11,000; and his lead in Pennsylvania is insurmountable at over 68,000.
This is not Florida 2000. On Election Night in 2000, George W. Bush held a 1,784 vote lead over Al Gore in Florida's election for president, representing just 0.031 percent of the 5.8 million votes cast in the state. After a recount — which the US Supreme Court halted by a 5-4 vote — Bush ultimately won Florida by 537 votes, securing the presidency. Yet even if the Court had allowed the recount to proceed, the margin would not have swung by much.
This is not Washington 2004, where a recount reversed the result, handing Democrat Christine Gregoire a 129-vote win over Republican Dino Rossi after he initially had a 261-vote lead on election night.
This is not Minnesota 2008, where a recount gave Democrat Al Franken a 225-vote win over Republican Norm Coleman, reversing Coleman's initial lead of 215 votes.
All of these recounts had one significant fact in common: the margin of victory was in the hundreds, not thousands. And the shifts in vote totals after the recounts were very small.
In the past 15 years, a statewide recount has reversed the winner from the election-night tally only three times — in the Washington 2004 governor's race (a 390-vote shift), the 2008 Minnesota US Senate race (a 440-vote shift), and a 2006 election in Vermont for Auditor of Accounts, which initially had a 137-vote margin on election night that changed to a 102-vote win for the other candidate after the recount (a 239-vote change).
FairVote, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for electoral reform, found that from 2000-2012 there were only 22 statewide recounts across the country, and the average shift in those recounts was just 0.026%.
But, a Clinton supporter might say, what if the machines were hacked? What if the election was actually rigged? It is an ironic sentiment given that Trump was the one claiming widespread election rigging before the election and Clinton supporters blasted Trump for refusing to say whether he would honor the results.
Irony aside, there is simply no evidence of election hacking, as Clinton's top lawyer, Marc Elias, himself conceded. Of course, now that Stein has begun the process, it is perfectly reasonable for Clinton and her lawyers to stay involved. But her supporters should not take that fact as a sign that the election is still in question.
Prolonging the campaign by seeking a recount breeds unwarranted doubt about the legitimacy of our elections — without any real evidence to back it up. Our democratic system relies on everyone accepting the result. That legitimacy suffers when mere speculation calls the result into question with little evidence of rigging and Electoral College vote totals that decisively determine a winner.
Moreover, all of this talk of recounts and election rigging obscures the more important fact about our elections: We impose too many obstacles on voters for no good reason. We need to work harder to eliminate onerous voting laws and make voting easier, not focus on long-shot recounts that provide only false hope. For instance, this recount effort does nothing to address issues surrounding Wisconsin's controversial voter ID statute, which improperly prevented some people from voting.
While Stein's futile recount effort should give no solace to Clinton supporters, there is a silver lining to the current debate: It might finally prompt Congress and state legislatures to devote greater resources to election technology.
We desperately need better voting equipment and stronger post-Election Day audits. Going into this election, experts warned about the woefully out-of-date equipment that most states use. Indeed, old machines — especially if they do not allow for a paper trail — raise the possibility, however small, of election hacking. Old machines can lead to long lines, lost votes, and other Election Day problems.
Updated voting technology can increase turnout by making voting easier. As just one example, Doña Ana County, New Mexico uses Voting Convenience Centers instead of precinct-based polling places, meaning that anyone in the county can vote at any of the 40 centers instead of having to go to their assigned home precinct. This makes it easier to vote near work or school and eliminates the possibility of having to vote via a provisional ballot — which could potentially not count — if a voter shows up at the wrong place.
This system shows that improved technology can both enhance the integrity of our election system — a standard Republican talking point — and also make voting more accessible to more people, thereby increasing the electorate — something Democrats usually strive to achieve.
The recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania will do nothing to assuage the fears of Clinton supporters who recoil at the thought of a Trump presidency. But at a minimum, they should force politicians on all sides to re-examine how we run our elections.
Like it or not, Donald Trump will become our next president. Hopefully, when he runs for re-election in four years, we will have a stronger election system that makes voting easier, more convenient and accessible, less susceptible to manipulation, and more easily verifiable. That's the closest to a "win" that Clinton and her supporters can expect.
12 years ago I owned a home in La Jolla, had 4 cars (BMWs and a Jeep) a yacht, 4 companies and a 7 figure income. And then it slowly started collapsing, higher regulations, deeper debt, etc. Then the housing crash, etc. Obama took over, huge spending and great corruption. Bottom line, right now I have nothing but one new ready to launch company (Markethive). All debt gone but all income gone too. I am just hanging in there.
Now Trump arrives and I am more than hopeful. I am cleaning the rain gutters, digging the irrigation ditches deeper and restoring the reservoir dams.
Do you know why I say that?
It is the prophesied revival, the biggest renaissance in human history. The Rise of the Entrepreneur I have been preparing for over 20 years. (I am a bit of a prophet myself)
Reagan was only the foreshadowing of this event. It is during this revival Israel becomes the biggest energy country in history and a giant economic engine. (America is just an extension of Israel)
It is during this time the true Jews are restored to their home (hint: they aint white).
Trump is prophetic, even his name suggests that. He has already torn the deceptive veil back to reveal to the world the depth of corruption at hand.
We are on the cusp of an amazing economic nuclear explosion. Get your house in order!
Barack Obama may have finally destroyed America’s #1 advantage
In July 1944, just weeks after the successful Allied invasion of Normandy, hundreds of delegates from around the world gathered in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire to determine the future of the global financial system.
The vision was simple: America would be the center of the universe, and every other nation would revolve around the US.
This arrangement ultimately led to the US dollar being the world’s dominant reserve currency which still remains today.
Whenever a Brazilian merchant pays a Korean supplier, that deal is negotiated and settled in US dollars.
Oil. Coffee. Steel. Aircraft. Countless commodities and products across the planet change hands in US dollars, so nearly every major commercial bank, central bank, multi-national corporation, and sovereign government must hold and be able to transact in US dollars.
This system provides a huge incentive for the rest of the world to hold trillions of dollars worth of US assets– typically deposits in the US banking system, or US government bonds.
It’s what makes US government debt the most popular “investment” in the world, why US government bonds are considered extremely liquid “cash equivalents”.
As long as this system continues, the US government can continue to go deeper into debt without suffering serious consequences.
Just imagine being totally broke… yet every time you want to borrow money there’s a crowd of delighted lenders eager to replenish your wallet with fresh funds.
This may be the US government’s #1 advantage right now.
You’d think that they would be eternally grateful and take care to never abuse this incredible privilege.
But no… not these guys.
In fact, they’ve done the exact opposite. Over the last eight years the US government has gone out of its way to eliminate as much of this benefit and alienate as many allies as possible.
They’ve abused the trust and confidence that the rest of the world placed in them by racking up record amounts of debt, waging indiscriminate wars in foreign lands, and dropping bombs on children’s hospitals by remote control.
They’ve created absurd amounts of regulations and had the audacity to expect foreign banks to comply.
Plus they’ve levied billions of dollars worth of fines against foreign banks who haven’t complied with their ridiculous regulations.
(Last week, for example, New York state financial regulators fined a Taiwanese bank $180 million for not complying with NY state law.)
And they’ve threatened to banish any foreign banks from the US financial system who don’t pay their steep fines.
Abuse. Deceit. Extortion. Not exactly great ways to win friends and influence people.
It’s as if Barack Obama pulled together the smartest guys he could find to make a list of all the ways the US government would have to screw up in order to lose its enormous financial privilege… and then he went out and did ALL of them.
The US government is practically begging the rest of the world to find an alternative to the US dollar and US banking system.
Even the government of France, a key US ally, called into question continued US dominance of the global financial system after the US government slammed French bank BNP Paribas with a $9 billion fine.
There have already been some attempts to displace the United States in the financial system.
China has been aggressively setting up its own competing financial infrastructure, something called the China International Payment System.
It’s been a slow start for the Chinese, but they’re building momentum. Though I’m not sure China is the answer in the long run.
While banks around the world may not care for the long and strong arm of the US government, the Chinese government doesn’t exactly inspire trust either.
But now there really is an alternative. Technology.
Ripple, a blockchain-style protocol that’s funded by Google Ventures (among others), is now being utilized by international banks to send and receive transactions directly.
The way international bank transfers work now relies exclusively on the US financial system.
Large foreign banks have what’s called a “correspondent account”, typically at a major US bank like JP Morgan, Citibank, etc.
A correspondent account is essentially a bank account for other banks. Our company holds funds at a bank in Singapore, for example, whose US dollar correspondent account is at Bank of New York Mellon.
Foreign banks’ US dollar correspondent accounts are typically at major Wall Street banks because that’s the epicenter of US dollar transactions.
So when a bank in Australia sends US dollars to a bank in South Africa, that payment actually flows from the Australian bank’s correspondent account in the US to the South African bank’s correspondent account in the US.
The entire transaction effectively takes place using the US banking system.
Again, this gives the US government enormous power over foreign banks. Any foreign bank that doesn’t do what Uncle Sam commands can be excommunicated from the US banking system.
And without access to the US banking system, a foreign bank will be unable to transact in US dollars, and hence unable to conduct any global business.
This is a death sentence for a bank. The US government knows this and has been blackmailing global banks for years.
But now technology is providing another option.
Banks don’t have to use the US banking system anymore; they can send real-time payments internationally using the Ripple protocol.
Two months ago a Canadian financial services company sent the first-ever institutional cross-border payment to a German bank.
This isn’t some wild theory or conjecture. It’s actually happening.
Just this morning a group of 15 banks in Japan signed up to start using Ripple, and dozens of banks plan to use the protocol within the next six months.
The technology is cheaper. Faster. Superior. And it doesn’t come with any US government strings attached.
So it seems Uncle Sam may have finally shot himself in the foot for the last time.