I’m surprised no one is claiming that aliens from another planet are responsible for the outcome of this year’s presidential election. Actually, that might be the most logical explanation for everything that has happened.
You may have heard that Donald Trump this week tweeted that illegal aliens were responsible for Hillary Clinton getting 2 million more votes than he could muster, while Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein (who?) questioned Trump’s electoral college victories in states such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. That would be the Jill Stein who, as a presidential candidate, garnered 1.05 percent of the vote nationwide and zero electoral votes.
Burton Odelson, a top Illinois election law attorney who worked on George W. Bush’s behalf in Florida during the recount of hanging chads in the 2000 presidential election, laughed at the notion that 10,000 or more votes could be overturned during a recount.
“When you’re talking about the results of optical scanners and touch screen voting, you are not going to find thousands of votes that will be overturned,” Odelson said. “It’s just not going to happen. Maybe you could reverse 50 to 100 votes, but that’s not going to change the outcome of a statewide election.
“I hear people talking about hacking the computer systems, but they lack an understanding of how the votes are counted. They’re counted at the precinct level and then submitted to various county officials in each state or local election boards. It’s not like you could hack into a single computer and change the outcome of an election statewide. You would have to hack into thousands of different computers at each election site throughout a state.”
I’m not as quick as Odelson to dismiss the capabilities of computer hackers to disrupt, if not overturn, the outcome of an election.
On the other hand, I didn’t spend a minute contemplating the possibility that millions of illegal aliens voted, an accusation made not be some irrelevant third-party candidate desperate for attention, but by the president-elect of the United States.
“I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” Trump tweeted.
My guess is the people who voted for Trump either don’t care that he spends his time tweeting about such absurd nonsense, or actually believe it. Any lie or exaggeration is dismissed by his followers as no different than the lies and disinformation spread by previous political candidates and U.S. presidents over the years.
The sad fact is there’s some truth to that, or at least enough to make people believe that any lie, no matter how nutty, is justified by the 1 million that came before it.
It ought to be noted that the Green Party’s presidential candidate garnered 1.1 percent of the vote in Wisconsin, where she is challenging the outcome. So why is she challenging the result?
Well, her recount campaign has raised more than $6.5 million so far and has generated publicity for the Green Party worth far more than that.
People who never gave the Green Party a thought, but who really dislike Trump and everything he stands for, may now consider voting for a Green Party candidate in the future, or at least contributing money.
Trashing presidential candidates has become something of a cottage industry in America.
People made small fortunes by making movies and writing books demonizing Barack Obama, inventing all sorts of fictional accounts about his background and how he was going to take over the world.
While Hillary Clinton conceded the election to Trump, she is now allowing her lawyers to take part in the recount campaign, allegedly to ensure that any result is true and accurate.
I think she should have denounced the effort and immediately reaffirmed her belief that Trump is the legitimate president-elect. But maybe she couldn’t help recall Trump’s insinuations before the election that he might not accept the result if Clinton won.
I wish I could believe that space aliens, as a recent TV series suggested, had invaded the skulls of our political leaders and eaten their brains.
Unfortunately, there is nothing extraterrestrial about all of this. It is simply the way the most powerful country in the history of the world now conducts its presidential elections.