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One Recount, One Time and Done

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Once again Democrats are disappointed with an election and, just as in 2000, when the popular vote count gave them hope of reversing an electoral vote outcome they found distressing, many partisans on the left are eager to support Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s push for recounts in key states. Although kind of silly, even petty, given the absence of any evidence to suggest actual vote tampering (back in 2000 we were told paper ballots were unreliable and required a switch to digital voting; now we’re being told digital voting is too susceptible to tampering so we must recount by the paper ballots!), the Democrats’ desire to double check is at least understandable, given how many feel about the surprising Trump win and the dashed hopes of the left. We can have no argument, in principle, with a legitimate recount, even in this case where there is no evidence that there is actually a reason to seek a recount (it’s being sought purely as a kind of fishing expedition, on a hope and a hunch that something will turn up to somehow alter this year’s presidential election results).

But here’s the thing. If the recount is conducted and shows NO reason to doubt the outcome in favor of Trump, then that should be the end of it. We don’t need a replay of Florida in 2000, where Democrats just wouldn’t give up and kept demanding more and more recounts in hopes that one would finally do the trick and reverse the electoral count in favor of their candidate, Al Gore. When the U.S. Supreme Court finally had to step in to put an end to the unceasing recounts in wider and wider areas of Florida, many partisan Democrats then decided the Supreme Court had no business “interfering” in a Florida matter and that the recounts should have continued. Indeed, it looked more and more back then like the only thing Democrats would have accepted as reason to stop recounting was when a recount finally yielded the result they were after. That business seriously undermined the legitimacy of the subsequent Bush presidency and poisoned the atmosphere in which it had to operate for the next four years.

So in this case everyone should agree: One recount, one time must be enough, assuming the results show no reason to think there had been any vote tampering or flaws in the original count. If the results report a Trump win once more, then that should end this.

If Democrats cannot reconcile themselves to this, and want to keep the issue open, up to and including taking it to the courts again or just in hopes of delegitimizing a Trump presidency (as they did with the younger Bush), the country should reject that effort. After all, if Democrats are really worried about vote tampering, the place to start is with voter fraud, a phenomenon they deny even exists in order to forestall state and local efforts to tighten voter ID requirements (on the spurious grounds that such tightening is inherently discriminatory against minority voters who, they believe, are inclined to vote for them).

Indeed, there IS evidence of voter fraud, even if sporadic and minor, while there has, as yet, been not one scintilla of evidence presented that the vote counts in the 2016 presidential race were tampered with. So one recount, one time and done! That’s the standard Democrats should now be held to and the rallying cry the rest of us should now invoke.

About Stuart W. Mirsky

Stuart W. Mirsky, a former New York City official who last served as Assistant Commissioner for Operations in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene before retiring in 2002, wrote a column, "The Rockaway Irregular," for The Wave, a south Queens based weekly, for more than a decade (until Hurricane Sandy changed the equation). He is an original founder of the Rockaway Republicans, one of the most active Republican groups in southern Queens, and author of a number of books, including The King of Vinland's Saga, an historical novel of the Norse in 11th century North America, A Raft on the River, a memoir of Holocaust survival, and Choice and Action, a work of contemporary philosophy addressing the implications of relativism and nihilism for our moral beliefs.

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