Pennsylvania has told the Greens to pound sand. Michigan’s Attorney General has filed to block the recount there. In Wisconsin the recount has Trump up by ~40 votes over the original total although Madison and Milwaukee are suspiciously reporting nothing as yet. It’ll be awfully hard to find 30,000 ballots in car trunks but if anyone would try it, it’d be there. Still, it’s looking more and more every passing day like this is a gigantic scam perpetrated on Hillary’s wailing followers by the very people who are going to pull votes off the Democrats from the left side–you know, the ones who wouldn’t vote for a Republican ticket of Superman and George Washington if the Democrats ran Genghis Khan with Jack the Ripper as his running mate (which is only slightly better than the ticket they ran this time out).
With this looking more and more like a complete waste of time every day, theories abound as to what the hell the Greens and the Democrats are thinking. Even if Wisconsin and Michigan both end up flipping, which they won’t, Pennsylvania’s done and that leaves Trump at 280. You’d still need a ton of faithless electors–more than I think there have been in all of American history combined, correct me if I am wrong–to even throw the election to the House, which I have heard is one possible objective here. If the House has to settle the election, which they will settle in Trump’s favor, that de-legitimizes Trump’s election to an extent. It gives the Democrats and the left the argument that not only did Trump not win the popular vote, he didn’t win the electoral 270 either, and once again they will deride him as “President-select” as they did George W. Bush. I understand this argument and it has some validity but it’s the kind of thing only overstuffed political wonks really understand. The average Joe is not going to care about much of anything else other than the system worked out somehow and the snide sneers of media pundits are going to get old and tiresome quickly.
My own theory goes more toward the long game. Throughout the election, states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania were considered to be part of the Democrats’ Rust Belt “blue wall,” always displayed as solidly blue on the electoral maps, always downplaying the efforts of Donald Trump and the Republicans to campaign in these traditionally Democratic territories. In Wisconsin, at the outset of election season, Senator Ron Johnson was supposed to lose in a blowout to returning ex-senator Russ Feingold and Hillary was supposed to roll the state in the process. Given the ease with which Tammy Baldwin steamrolled former (popular) governor Tommy Thompson in the last Senate race (on Barry’s coattails), this looked like a good bet.
But that didn’t happen. Johnson ran a quiet, low-keyed, thoroughly positive campaign, and while Trump won by a comfortable margin, Johnson shellacked Feingold in the final tally. The GOP strengthened its hold on the Wisconsin state house as well. I’m not up on what’s been going on in Pennsylvania lately but I know there have been conservative reforms in Michigan recently (such as right-to-work), and of course in this supposedly blue state Governor Scott Walker has been enacting reform after reform and surviving everything the Democrats and their union supporters can throw at him. And despite prophecies and conventional wisdom to the contrary, Walker and the Wisconsin GOP have not only held on but have grown and thrived.
Which brings us to the “blue wall.” My theory is that the Democrats spent months leaning on the concept of that “blue wall” of reliably Democratic midwestern states and watched in horror as they lost Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin on election night (and came desperately close to losing Minnesota too, among others). Ohio and North Carolina and Florida were all supposed to be battlegrounds (and Trump swept them). With these states going not light blue but defiantly light red, these liars and cheaters cannot rest on the same blue bulwark. They lose a huge chunk of their claimed territory, a full one-sixth of the required electoral votes to win the Presidency, and with it a large portion of their “voting Democrat is cool, go with us and be a winner” narrative. And more than that, it represents the first time in a long, long time that the Democrats have been pushed back. The right falls back all the time to try to make peace but the left never gives up territory, and they have been forced out of ground they believed to be theirs by right. They are dying out in states that they believed they owned in perpetuity and this is their last flailing resistance to that loss. They are desperate to reclaim this ground. This is why the Greens and the Democrats can make common cause here.
In all likelihood nothing will come of the recounts. What matters is that now that we have succeeded in pushing back the battlefront, will we be able to hold this ground and push forward? We got cocky in ’04 so I’m more than happy to see us with a pile of battleground states that we have to fight for and win (but that we know we CAN win) rather than think we’re entitled to them.