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Heidi M. Pascual
Vol. 11   No. 24
NOVEMBER 24, 2016
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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

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

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 votes.

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.