Jill Stein Robbed You Suckers Blind
Dr. Flake-N-Stein strikes a somber pose before conning $7 million from desperate people.
We all remember the crushing disappointment and mounting dread of election night 2016, but when it seemed like all hope was lost, Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein showed up to soothe us and monetize our pain.
Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate who won only 1 percent of the popular vote, is now attracting far more media attention than her campaign ever did, after she launched a controversial effort to initiate recount proceedings in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan—three states where Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by roughly 1 percent.
Ever since she announced her efforts last week (and raised nearly $7 million), Stein has been attacked from all sides, as critics try to pin down her end game. Trump himself called her campaign a “Green Party scam to fill up their coffers,” while the Clinton campaign tepidly joined in the recount out of obligation. (“If the campaign thought that the results could change based on a recount, we would have sought them. We didn’t,” Clinton lawyer Marc Elias told The Washington Post.) Even the states involved in the recount seemed unenthused, and worried that Stein’s efforts will cost taxpayers millions.
Dr. Flake-N-Stein's gall here was unprecedented: The business model of her own presidential campaign resembled the plot of The Producers: Run the worst campaign in history with the worst candidate in history, fund the disaster with the hard-earned money of deluded suckers, then retire to Moscow.
But unlike Bialystock and Bloom, who didn't successfully help
further the Nazi cause "make America great again," Stein all but handed the election to Donald Trump. Why show her face so soon when she likely had plenty of invitations to join Vladimir Putin at his weekly karaoke night? Maybe because the recount was where the true money was.
The Green Party candidate has already raised $6.3 million to recount election votes in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, according to her campaign website. She’s within striking distance of her goal of $7 million and has far exceeded the $3.5 million she raised during her presidential campaign.
Stein claims that the voting process was hampered by “cyber hacking,” though she has not provided any evidence to back up her claims. A recount would be unlikely to benefit Stein—who did not win a single state in the election—directly. However, one law professor told the Associated Press that her effort could help her build a larger donor list that she could use if she ever decided to run again. Stein says any excess money she raises for the recount effort will then be donated to a charity or a political party.
Ongoing litigation, travel costs, and staff salaries are also likely to eat up whatever is left [of the $7 million raised for a recount], meaning those who donated to Stein are unlikely to receive a once-promised chance to vote on how the post-recount money would be spent. Nor have donors been given much of a window into how Stein is actually spending their donations.
The last FEC filing from the Stein campaign was for the month of September 2017. And the last update from the campaign itself came in a post on April 20, in which it said it was down to $932,178 in recount funds.
“It is strange that they would just stop filing reports given they were a legitimate, professional campaign, and despite still having more than a million dollars in cash on hand,” Andrew Mayersohn, a researcher at the Center for Responsive Politics, told The Daily Beast.
"Strange" is a rather benign description for a cynical cash grab from Stein, who preyed upon desperate people, some of whom might have flushed their votes down the toilet for Stein because they thought their own states (Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennyslvania) were safely "blue."
Good work, Nostradumbass
Stein actively helped Trump win. It’s not just that she bashed Hillary Clinton, but she argued for Trump repeatedly, claiming the former reality TV star was less likely to get us into a nuclear war than the former Secretary of State and current possessor of a functioning brain stem. Paul Ryan never went that far. I recall an interview Ryan had with Chuck Todd during the campaign that I just made up.
Chuck Todd: Speaker, do you really trust Donald Trump with the nuclear arsenal?
Paul Ryan: Look, I can’t watch him every minute of the day. We’re all going to die at some point, and I couldn’t live with myself if poor people had some form of health care before the mutated zombies eat them.
But, wait, David Jefferson, a computer scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, reassures us this was all "totally not a Stein cash grab."
“To be perfectly clear, we never really had any evidence [of vote hacking],” he said. “The point we have always been making is that you have to look. You have to check. You don’t just accept the results of complex software, especially proprietary software. You don’t just trust it.”
This is very similar to what I told a jury in civil court about DOC* (*not a real doctor) SER'S MAGICAL LIFE RESTORIN' ELIXIR: "To be perfectly clear, we never really had any evidence of life restoration in deceased loved ones. The point we have always been making is that you have to try. You have to check. You don't just accept the results of a complex autopsy, especially ones conducted in hospitals. You don't just trust it. I'm a horrible human being."
We know this one's going to rile you up, and it's a rile-y kind of day already, but PLEASE no fighting in the comments, we can't take it today. -- The Editrix
Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."