AlterNet.org: Steven Rosenfeld http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/authors/steven-rosenfeld en Pushback Against DeVos: Public Schools Are Our Best Future http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/education/pushback-against-devos-public-schools-are-our-best-future <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1070864'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1070864" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Teachers and parents rally to fight Trump privatizers and anti-immigrant agenda.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2017-01-20_at_12.28.44_pm_2.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>On a rainy Thursday morning at Edna Brewer Middle School in Oakland, Calif., parents dropping off their kids on the last day of Barack Obama’s presidency were greeted by an unusual sight.</p><p>An energized mix of teachers, Glen View neighborhood residents and an Oakland Unified School Board member, Roseann Torres, who co-sponsored a resolution last month making OUSD one of the state’s first “sanctuary” districts, were holding protest signs praising public schools and rejecting Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to deport millions, target Muslim-Americans and strip LGBT and reproductive rights.<br /><br />“We’re passing out flyers, telling parents we are out here because we believe in public schools,” Ismael F. Armendariz Jr., a special education teacher and “walk-in” protest organizer said. “We believe in fully funding public schools and we also want to remind parents that our school is a safe school for students.”<br /><br />Despite the wet day, a small crowd grew amid what’s normally a rush to lockers and classrooms. The Oakland protest was among 1,000 actions in 200 cities across the country Thursday led by the 3 million-member National Education Association, with NEA president Lily García showcasing schools in Los Angeles and Las Cruces, New Mexico.</p><p>In Oakland, Rich Johnson, 72, stood amid red, white and blue posters from the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools and NEA saying, “The schools all our children deserve," and a handmade one saying, “Todos Pueden Estudiar Aqui”—all can study here.<br /><br />“I’m just a neighbor, not a PTA member. I think the schools are important,” he said, saying he was inspired by what he saw—a core group of 100-to-200 parents in an 800-pupil school that actively supported their kids and the neighborhood middle school. He liked their values and what he saw its teachers doing.<br /><br />“When I saw a leaflet with a walk-in, I said I’m going,” Johnson said, adding he quickly emailed others. “Walk-in day, not walkout day, where you go on strike. This is a very positive response that bunches of kids or their friend might be picked up by ICE [federal immigration police] because their paperwork is not in order. I like the name of that, walk-in… We don’t want ICE picking up parents either.”<br /><br />The National Walk In marked the start of a new NEA push to engage and stand with communities by showcasing the successes and values of traditional public schools as they have come under escalating attacks. The threats began with ongoing efforts by super-wealthy entrepreneurs to privatize school operations, narrow curriculum to emphasize test preparation and retain teachers based on test scores. That was all before Trump’s attacks on minorities, which could reach into public schools and snare students.<br /><br />While traditional public school advocates in Washington, D.C., spent this week showing how astoundingly unprepared Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education designate, is for that cabinet post, actions like Edna Brewer’s walk-in were a deliberate counterpoint, said Trish Gorham, Oakland Education Association president.</p><p>“In Oakland, our theme is SAFE: public schools are for everyone,” she said. “It is coming off of the sanctuary resolution that certainly is uppermost in our minds, but immigration is not only where our students need to be protected. They need to be protected with immigration status, gender status, religion, ethnicity. All of these are possibly being targeted and that’s where we are going to protect our students in all of those areas.”<br /><br />Standing with students and their families was the priority on the eve of Trump’s inauguration, Gorham said, not bashing DeVos, a billionaire who never attended public schools or sent her children to any, nor served on a locally elected school board, and whose family foundation has given multi-millions to K-12 privatization entrepreneurs.<br /><br />“We decided that we would not create this external target, but we would try and strengthen our community," Gorham said. "Because it is in strengthening our community and bringing our community together around our schools that ultimately will save our public school system.”<br /><br />The strengths of traditional public schools, including how many are deepening ties with other local public agencies to help address health, housing and services that support poor families and their students, is the “untold story” in K-12 education, said NEA president Lily García.<br /><br />“It’s not uncommon. It’s the untold story,” García said. “Privateers need a narrative that public schools are bad schools and privatized schools are good schools. Research belies that. Some of the best public schools in the world are American public schools. Those are usually the ones that are well resourced and that have programs and staff built to develop the whole student's diversity, talents and interests and needs. Our best public schools should serve as our model of where to go. They're our North Star.”<br /><br /><strong>The 'Anti-Privatized School'</strong></p><p>García, who decades ago began her career in eduction as a school lunch lady and then a grade school teacher in Utah, was en route Thursday to Las Cruces, New Mexico, for an afternoon ribbon-cutting ceremony and student-led discussion in a district that the NEA sees as modeling the best of traditional public schools. The district was expanding programs at a “community school” in coordination with local businesses and social agencies, and it has a new superintendent who told teachers to teach kids where they are and stop worrying about test prep and their career prospects based on test scores.<br /><br />“Las Cruces looks more and more like America—suburban with a mix of rural kids bused in, a large immigrant population, income disparity,” García said. “What makes this school unique is that they're not waiting for some politician to give them permission to innovate. They don't want privatized charters. They want to hold these kids in the arms of the whole community.”     <br /><br />Earlier this week on Tuesday night, the board meeting of Las Cruces Public Schools began in the humdrum way most locally elected school boards do across America, gaveling the meeting to order, amending the agenda and preparing the evening’s business. But then board chairwoman Maria Flores turned the podium over to several members of the audience who privately sponsored and ran an ongoing student essay and poetry contest, who in turn, introduced their latest winners to read what they wrote.<br /><br />First was Andrew Angel, a Centennial High School junior who said in his essay that his grandparents had been beaten by whites for speaking Spanish when they attended Las Cruces schools, yet his grandmother became the school district’s first Hispanic nurse. He said Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in solidarity with Cesar Chavez, inspired a vision of racial justice and nonviolent protest that has helped his family and inspired him.<br /><br />“We were allowed to come to something from nothing, as equals to any other Americans,” Angel read. “Dr. King helped me not only as a Hispanic but a member of a more tolerant generation, both on acceptance and non-violent expression… I intend to live my life this way and give my country in my thoughts and my actions the only thing that was ever needed: love. Love drives us all toward progress and love is the only truth that transcends race, religion and gender.”<br /><br />Then came Mireya Sanchez-Maes, a freshman at Mayfield High School. Her essay described what the Mahatma Gandhi quote—“Be the change that you wish to see in the world”—meant to her, which was finding her voice, including challenging “overtesting” and urging more music and technology classes.<br /><br />“So what’s my voice?” she read. “It is knowledge in the face of ignorance. Light in the face of darkness. My voice is standing up for someone who can’t stand up for themselves… My voice is fighting for what’s right, even when the battle is one fought uphill. Martin Luther King Jr. said our lives begin to end when we become silent about the things that matter. I have never felt more alive.”   <br /><br />Gregory Ewing, the new superintendent, beamed and responded, echoing what many of the walk-in protesters at Oakland’s Edna Brewer Middle School were telling the students and community—that he would use all of his legal authority to protect students from the worst threats posed by the incoming Trump’ administration.     <br /><br />“I would just like to say how proud I am to see these students come up and speak,” Ewing said, noting he was a member of ALAS, Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents and MALDEF, the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund. “As the superintendent, I say to the students in the school system, as long as I am your <em>el hefe</em>, I pledge to you you will always be protected, not only under my leadership but the leadership of my entire team. We are here for you. We believe in you.”<br /><br />This small but stirring scene wasn’t the only dramatic pronouncement from Ewing on Tuesday. He addressed the concerns of students and teachers that recent state and federal laws are excessively and harmfully focused on standardized tests, to the detriment of helping students more holistically and giving teachers leeway to address individual student difficulties.<br /><br />“I am in the first 90 days of the look, listen and learn tour. And here’s what I am hearing,” he said. “There’s a lot of anxiety with students about all the testing that’s taking place in schools and in classrooms. There’s also anxiety with teachers. So I would like to say to you as your superintendent, with the powers invested in me by the state, I say to all teachers in the district, you have my permission to take charge of your classrooms… I want you to stop worrying about all these national and standardized tests. I want to say to our teachers and I want to say to our students, return to teaching, return to learning.”<br /><br />The lines drawn by Ewing and heartily endorsed by his superiors, Las Cruces’ elected school board, are indicative of the fault lines facing traditional public schools across America. The fight against privatization is not new but takes different forms. In Las Cruces, it is seen in testing regimes imposed by appointees of a former Republican governor with deep ties to a nationwide testing regime that was underwritten by Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Like many wealthy social entrepreneurs, he wants K-12 schools to be more like metric-driven corporate America. In Oakland, many wealthy entrepreneurs—and not just in tech—have been underwriting charter schools, which has led to multimillions in funds diverted from traditional schools, and to increasingly segregated schools in a proud, mixed-race community.   <br /><br />“I began the morning in one of America’s largest public school systems and will end it in a small one,” NEA’s García said Thursday. “It doesn’t matter—urban, suburban or rural. American public schools have the answers. We’re not waiting for permission. We will proceed until apprehended to design the schools our children deserve… We’re creative about pulling communities together to make sure kids have what they need, whether that’s a meal or an Advanced Placement math class.”<br /><br />Emphasizing those solutions was why García went to Las Cruces and why the NEA organized nationwide walk-in protests at 1,000 schools across the country in 200 cities, she said.<br /><br />“They are cutting a ribbon at the Lynn Community Middle School [in Las Cruces]. The superintendent is calling for a moratorium on testing! The parents want this and are part of designing this,” she said. “It’s the anti-privatized school. It’s the community standing up and saying our school belongs to all of us and is not a commodity on the market. It’s a public trust—and we’re the public.”     <br /> <br /><strong>'People Were Crying on November 9'</strong></p><p>Meanwhile in Oakland, where dozens of neighbors turned out for the Thursday walk-in, special ed teacher Ismael Armendariz pointed to a school board member, Roseanne Torres, who showed up with a hand-lettered sign, “Todos Pueden Estudiar Aqui”—all can study here.</p><p>Torres, a lawyer who works with many Latino families, not only drafted and co-sponsored the sanctuary district resolution passed by the OUSD in December, but won re-election in November despite more than $160,000 in negative ads from some of the nation's richest and best-known pro-charter school advocates. That list includes former New York City mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg, California's charter trade association and a new group, Go Public Schools, underwritten by the family that once owned Dreyer’s Ice Cream, a local chain that is now a subsidiary of Nestlé.<br /><br />The fight over preserving, funding and improving Oakland’s traditional K-12 schools was already very heated, Armendariz said, and that was before Trump campaigned on pledges to target undocumented immigrants, which strikes deep fears in this community.<br /><br />“We’ve done a few walk-ins at our schools and it’s been mostly centered around public school funding and supporting public schools,” he said, recounting the recent activism. “In Oakland this school year, what’s happening is a lot of people are more on edge or more hyper-aware because during the school board elections, late in the election there was a lot of investigation into the funding of our school board candidates… And then Trump got elected, and he ran on the same message that the Go Public Schools people run on, ‘We need options.’ ‘We need school choice.’ That’s where it all ties together.”<br /><br />“It all translates. People were crying on November 9th,” Torres said, saying she quickly drew on language under review at the Latino School Board Association to create OUSD’s sanctuary district resolution. “By law, our children have every right to be in school. We had to act fast. I know how immigrant communities think. They don’t know the law. They don’t know the language.”<br /><br />But while Trump’s threats may be a tipping point that will ignite activism and resistance unlike anything seen in America in decades, Torres said there was a wider set of challenges from privatizers that were ongoing and accelerating—especially with the Trump administration’s pro-privatization crusaders.<br /><br />“That kind of [campaign attack ad] money doesn’t get spent” for no reason, she said. “That is all connected to the Trump-type people. DeVos, Bloomberg, the billionaires… Go [Public Schools] is DeVos and DeVos is Go. For people to think anything else is because they are being misled by their very slick marketing.”<br /><br />“It’s not that all charters are bad,” Torres continued, “but they disrupt district programs, lead to cuts in music, arts, teacher layoffs, and are especially disruptive with special education. The biggest challenge there is rising costs. You need classes with six-to-one student-teacher ratios, or 12-to-one classes, and nurses. Charters don’t offer support at that level… We need to talk about what is really happening in public education.”<br /><br />“It is a direct attack on public schools,” said Trish Gorham, Oakland Education Association president. “Some have misaligned or misdirected priorities. Some are purely out for plunder. That’s kind of the problem. There are people calling for school reform out of a deep concern and out of good intentions. But their solutions are wrong. And they’ve been proven to be wrong. And have they been proven to divide our cities and segregate and schools more than in the last 40 years… Creating these unique boutiques does a disservice to what our schools are about, which is the foundation of a democracy.”<br /><br />And that is the divide the NEA is seeking to underscore at the local and national level, where on their side are local communities, locally elected boards and traditional public schools that embody democratic values and resist commercialization and a broken—and possibly worsening—federal justice system.<br /><br />“While so much changes... with the change of administration, nothing changes for educators and parents and advocates for public education,” García said. “Our students will need us more than ever before to protect them and fight for them. Today, we put on the battle gear. We will not permit billionaires and profiteers to hurt our students. We will stand in the gap. To hurt them, you'll have to go through us first. And there are millions of us.”</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2017 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1070864'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1070864" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Fri, 20 Jan 2017 12:24:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1070864 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Education Activism Education Election 2016 Immigration LGBTQ National Education Association NEA President Lily Garcia Edna Brewer Middle School Oakland Unified School District Ismael F. Armendariz Jr. Trish Gorham Oakland Education Association Rosanne Torres Las Cruces Public Schools Board Andrew Angel Mireya Sanchez-Maes Gregory Ewing Betsy DeVos bill gates california charter schools school choice Go Public Schools . Donald Trump's War With The Media Has Begun and We've Seen Nothing Yet http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/election-2016/donald-trumps-war-media-has-begun-and-weve-seen-nothing-yet <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1070389'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1070389" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The First Amendment will be tested as never before.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2017-01-11_at_1.46.58_pm_0.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Less than 24 hours being sworn in, Donald Trump declared the first war of his presidency—on the media.</p><p>Going to the CIA’s headquarters on Saturday morning, Trump immediately brought up the “dishonest media,” transitioned into praise for the agency that he said was going to destroy ISIS, and then resumed trashing the press: first for saying he didn’t get along with America’s spies (he <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/17/politics/kfile-gop-senator-intel-community-trump/">called</a> "Nazis" last week), and then for the inaugural coverage.</p><p>“And the reason you're my first stop is that, as you know, I have a running war with the media,” Trump said. “They are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth… We had a massive field of people. You saw them. Packed. I get up this morning, I turn on one of the networks, and they show an empty field…”</p><p>Trump didn’t stop there—even though his inaugural attendance was lower than former President Obama’s, according to numerous overhead photo comparisons. He lambasted Time magazine for saying his staff removed a bust of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. from the Oval Office—saying it was hidden behind a cameraman.</p><p>“Now, the big story—the retraction was, like, where?” Trump said. “Was it a line? Or do they even bother putting it in? So I only like to say that because I love honesty. I like honest reporting.”</p><p>Trump’s tirade didn’t stop there. Hours later, Sean Spicer, his press secretary, called the White House press corps into the into James S. Brady Briefing Room in the White House—which, last weekend they threatened to close—and lectured them for “deliberately false reporting” on the crowd size and the MLK bust. </p><p>“There's been a lot of talk in the media about the responsibility to hold Donald Trump accountable,” Spicer said. “And I'm here to tell you that it goes two ways. We're going to hold the press accountable, as well.”</p><p>The first war under Trump’s presidency is with the press and it's escalating. It’s not just floating the idea the White House pressroom may move. It’s not just last week’s pre-inaugural press conference where Trump labeled BuzzFeed and CNN as fake media. It’s not just his latest tweets criticizing celebrities who don’t like him, or dismissing the millions of women who marched on Saturday.</p><p>These incidents all raise a very serious question, what’s going to happen the First Amendment with a bully in the pulpit?</p><p>The answer, according to a handful of lawyers specializing in First Amendment and press issues, is Trump is primed to use his office’s great power to intimidate, obstruct, censor, spy on and silence the media. In the most visible instances, bullying, the president faces no restrictions on saying anything—regardless of its truth or victimization.</p><p>"He can say whatever he wants using whatever means he chooses," said <a href="http://press.journalism.cuny.edu/book/fighting-for-the-press-the-inside-story-of-the-pentagon-papers/">James Goodale</a>, Chief Counsel for the New York Times during the Pentagon Papers case and a leading legal expert on the First Amendment, when asked if Trump faces any restrictions on presidential speech and adding that he cannot be sued for his outbursts.</p><p><strong>The Bully</strong></p><p>But the damage is likely do quickly go deeper and escalate in far more serious ways than mere wars or words.</p><p>“Our soon-to-be president could weaken the American system of free expression… [with] techniques that involve weakening and undermining the institutions and practices that enable public opinion to check state power and legitimate our system of democracy,” <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/30/opinions/freedom-of-speech-under-trump-balkin/">wrote</a> Jack Balkin, the Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment and Director of The Information Society Project at Yale Law School, in a prescient article late last year.</p><p>Baklin listed five likely abuses of the presidential podium, most of which we've already seen from Trump and his aides. They start with the fact that Trump is a habitual liar. Trump “has found a way to lie so boldly and so frequently that it's virtually impossible to hold him to account,” he said. “If politicians lie all the time, and never pay a price for it, there's no reason to believe any promises they make.”<br /><br />Next was the related propaganda technique called “gaslighting,” Balkin said, or “creating a false reality and causing the public to doubt what is actually true or false. By making everything uncertain and a matter of ideological perspective, government officials stoke anger and distrust in elite institutions on the one hand, and produce cynicism, resignation and despair on the other.” That’s what spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway did this earlier month when she <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/trump-statements-kellyanne-conway-233344">told</a> CNN to stop listening to Trump’s literal words and trust what was in his heart—meaning a president-elects’s words have no literal meaning.<br /><br />As Melik Kaylan, a longtime reporter who has covered authoritarian regimes <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/melikkaylan/2017/01/10/what-the-trump-era-will-feel-like-clues-from-populist-regimes-around-the-world/print/">noted</a> in Forbes, such intentional chaos is a reality TV ploy that also serves political strongmen. He drew on comments to MSNBC by Michael Hirschhorn, a top reality TV producer, that such gaslighting helps authoritarian regimes, because, like a TV series that never ends, “you don’t resolve disputes; you foster them endlessly to retain public attention… You stay entertained but confused, paranoid even. That’s why you need [leaders like] me.”<br /><br />While that fact-blurring dynamic is becoming the ‘new normal’ under Trump, there are other ways that he can go after the media, Balkin wrote, anticipating what we keep seeing. Trump and his team can deny access—or threaten it by closing a West Wing briefing room, and requiring journalists take drug tests, as Esquire reported. He can stonewall or not release information, as voters saw with his income tax returns during the campaign, or by not giving media access to administration paper and electronic records.<br /><br />Most disturbing, Balkin said, was Trump can use federal surveillance tools against journalists.</p><p>“These institutions constructed formal and informal rules and norms designed to prevent abuse by the White House,” he said, referring to the FBI, CIA and NSA. “But as Richard Nixon's presidency demonstrated, these rules and norms don't always work, and given enough time, a determined President can chip away at or circumvent many of them.”<br />    <br />This is not a hypothetical threat, said Erwin Chemerinsky, dean and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law at the University of California Irvine School of Law, in a paper sent to AlterNet. Trump’s hostility to the press is well-established, he wrote, giving the best-known examples of going after a disabled New York Times reporter, former Fox News host Megyn Kelly and Kelly Tur of NBC. “The Trump campaign denied press credentials to media that criticized him, including the Washington Post, Buzzfeed and Politico. His statements about [weakening] libel law also reflect his lack of understanding of the law and the First Amendment.”<br /><br />On the libel front—where the press can be dragged into court to face accusations of intentionally published incorrect and damaging information—the press has less to worry about there, the First Amendment lawyers said. On the other hand, they face very real worries about executive branch surveillance and spying on them.<br /><br />“Trump can’t change the libel laws. The libel laws are created by State Legislatures and are subject to Constitutional limitation,” said Goodale. But Goodale said Trump could go after journalists to reveal their sources.<br /><br />Indeed, Trump has already tried to do this, <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/melikkaylan/2017/01/10/what-the-trump-era-will-feel-like-clues-from-populist-regimes-around-the-world/print/">pressuring</a> NBC to reveal who inside the intelligence community leaked critical documents about him. “If the federal government subpoenas reporters who do not wish to testify about their sources they can go into contempt and defy Trump,” Goodale wrote, adding that was not always successful. “[The Times’] Judith Miller tried this and lost.  [The Times’] James Risen defied the government and won (they decided not to hold him in contempt).”<br /><br />Shockingly, it is Obama who’s given Trump a blueprint for going after leakers to the media and sources, Chemerinsky said, by using The Espionage Act of 1917, a broad law allowing prosecution for disclosing national security information. “Since its enactment, 12 prosecutions have been brought for disclosure of information and nine in those were during the Obama administration.”<br /><br />“There is no First Amendment right for a reporter to keep a source confidential,” he said. “Many states, like California, have shield laws that allow for this, but there is no such law at the federal level. This gives the President a powerful tool to harass and intimidate the press.”<br /><br />The First Amendment lawyers agreed that the stakes are enormous, because the media—whether mainstream reporters, alternative press, blogs or social media—is the Constitution’s check and balance against political tyranny.</p><p>On a more day-to-day level, Trump’s deepening war with the media means the public is going to have to get used to a president that lies, distorts, bullies and evades. Meanwhile, the media is going to have to get used to being threatened, hounded and likely spied on—and possibly prosecuted—if it dares speak true to power in Trump’s America. </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2017 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1070389'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1070389" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 17 Jan 2017 17:05:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1070389 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 Donald Trump and the media first amendment Trump media wars Democrats Launch Effort to Preserve Obamacare, Medicare and Medicaid With Emotional Rallies Across Nation http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/election-2016/democrats-launch-effort-preserve-obamacare-medicare-and-medicaid-emotional-rallies <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1070615'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1070615" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Party leaders step aside as ordinary people describe how the Affordable Care Act saved their lives.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/15972338_10155106228423081_6565095627188144149_o.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>The Democrats’ emerging fight to preserve Obamacare and not gut the nation’s other major health care programs (Medicaid for the poor and middle-class; Medicare for the elderly) is striking an emotional and deeply felt note that was not seen in the 2016 presidential campaign.<br /><br />At rallies across the country this past weekend, Democratic members of Congress were joined onstage by local constituents and physicians who told the thousands assembled before them about the intimate details of their health struggles and how the main elements of Obamacare, in conjunction with Medicaid and Medicare, helped keep them and their family members alive and cut out-of-pocket emergency care costs.<br /><br />“Our VIPs here today are our special guests who will tell their story. They are more eloquent than anything we can say about the importance of the Affordable Care Act,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said, speaking at a rally of 5,000-plus people from the steps of San Francisco City Hall that Pelosi called “our first stand to preserve health care for all Americans.” Pelosi was joined by Democratic congressional representatives Anna Eshoo, Mike Thompson, Zoe Lofgren, Eric Swalwell, Ro Khanna and Keith Ellison.<br /><br />Noting that thousands had gathered on Sunday across from the civic center where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous 1956 speech to the NAACP convention, Pelosi continued, “He said of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhumane. We created the Affordable Care Act to strike down the injustice that keeps affordable, quality health care out of the reach of millions of our fellow Americans. We established it because we believe that health care is a right for all, not just a privilege for the few… for every American.”<br /><br />“That is what we are about here today,” she continued. “Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress want to tear down the ACA, destroy Medicare and Medicaid, and defund Planned Parenthood. Their plan is to make America sick again. The Republicans must understand that the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid, family planning are all wedded together. If you fracture the ACA, you impact these vital pillars of health, economic and health security for America’s families.”<br /><br />Pelosi and other members of Congress kept their remarks short—five minutes or less—and then did what was not seen in the 2016 campaign; they turned the microphone over to ordinary people who, while undoubtedly prepared and vetted, spoke at length about how government health care programs fill voids and help them in ways the private sector does not. That’s because even though the ACA’s greatest weakness is that it preserves the system of private health insurance, it limits where insurers can deny coverage, price gouge, expands coverage umbrellas and subsidizes lower-income households.<br /><br />“So here’s my story. On a bright Saturday morning, August 26, 2016, I received a phone call from my 24-year-old son,” began Cathy Forte, standing at the podium with a picture of her college-age son. “His voice was slurred. He said the left side of his leg was paralyzed, so you could imagine—my only son, my entire life…. He was rushed to a local hospital where they kept him for four days for observation. The MRI showed that he suffered three consecutive strokes that Saturday morning. He’s only 24.”<br /><br />Forte continued, explaining how the ACA helped her son get emergency care and post-stroke medication and how those safeguards are threatened by the GOP’s planned repeal.<br /> <br />“So I work for Oracle in Redwood City and it’s through the benefits of the ACA which allow a parent to keep his or her child on their own insurance. The hospital was able to keep my son alive and prevent any neurological damage,” she said. "If the ACA is repealed, my son and thousands of other children who are covered by their parents in the Bay Area will lose their benefits. And for children like my son, who has a preexisting condition, it will be difficult to buy insurance. As you know, before the ACA, people who were on their own… paid exorbitant prices.”<br /><br />Forte was followed by survivors of terrible diseases like uterine cancer, who said they would not be alive today without the emergency and followup care they received. Then came Ashley McMullen, a primary care doctor at San Francisco General Hospital and part of Committee of Interns and Residents, a union representing 14,000 resident physicians nationwide as well as SEIU, which includes 1 million health care workers. McMullen spoke of the impact on physicians and facilities where clientele are people who see the ACA as a critical safety net.<br /><br />“I want to first thank our representatives who stood up for patients and doctors and voted no on the [House] budget resolution [cutting Obamacare component programs] last week. We still have a long way to go,” she said, referring to the GOP’s first steps toward repeal late last week. “Like many of us here, I am both frustrated and frankly terrified by the current moves in the next administration to repeal the ACA with no discernible plan to protect our most vulnerable patients from losing their access to health care.”<br /><br />“Here I am now, a primary care doctor at San Francisco General Hospital, where nearly all of the patients I take care of are insured by Medicaid or Medicare,” she continued. “Many of them are newly insured under the ACA, so I am now able to provide them with free cancer screening, treatment for their chronic diseases including mental health and substance abuse counseling. My female patients can get free birth control and family planning counseling. And in the event one of my patients needs to be hospitalized, we can rest assured that they won’t have to bear the full weight of that cost. So this is why I became a doctor and why I am here speaking today, because I, like Leader Pelosi, believe health care is a human right, not a privilege and not a commodity, and every person in this country deserves access to affordable care.”<br /><br />The rally continued with Rep. Keith Ellison, D-MN, who is running for the Democratic National Committee chairmanship, saying that this fight is just beginning and will require a toughness and fortitude that may take some time and involve people forcefully protesting.<br /><br />“We will win, but we just have to fight, you guys,” he began. “I want you to know that we need unity in this moment. I don’t care if you are a conservative Republican or a liberal progressive like me, we need everybody because everybody gets sick. Am I right? And everybody’s got to go to the doctor. And we are going to fight to come together so that we can defend the Affordable Care Act.”<br /><br />“This is not the first time that we have to fight for it,” Ellison continued, citing the passage of the law and mostly preserving it at the U.S. Supreme Court. “Now we have to defend the Affordable Care Act in the streets. And I want to know, are you ready [cheers]? We are going to defend it in the streets. We might have a few rallies, what do you think? [cheers] We might have to have a few marches, what about that? [cheers] And we might even have to do a few sit-ins. Are you ready for that? I am. And let me just say that I have nothing but pure admiration for the courageous people who come before you to tell you about the intimate details of their lives as they have fought through these illnesses and the Affordable Care Act has helped them.”<br /><br />With that, Ellison introduced John DiCastro, a retiree who said his wife has a heart condition while he has asthma and has survived cancer. He described how the parts of the ACA that affect Medicare-related prescription drug prices have saved his family thousands of dollars.<br /><br />“The ACA has done for my family, no co-pays for annual wellness exams,” he began. “It’s eliminated the co-pays and deductible for preventive surgeries like colonoscopies, cancer screening and even the flu shot. It’s saved our family thousands of dollars over the last few years. The reduction of the ‘donut hole’ or the coverage gap, which is the official name of it, has improved the affordability of drugs somewhat—because the drug companies have caught onto the fact that they can increase the prices…. Now the Republicans want to repeal the ACA. They want to reopen the donut hole. They want to forget the agreement that was made that the donut hole would shrink to nothing by 2010, where we would pay a 25 percent co-pay maximum on any drug that we buy… What are they thinking?”<br /><br />Pelosi took the podium as the rally closed, and answered DiCastro’s question.<br /><br />“They want to cut Medicaid when they do the Affordable Care Act,” Pelosi said. She reminded everyone that despite recent rhetoric—like Donald Trump telling the Washington Post this weekend that he wants everyone to be covered with a health plan—congressional Republicans want to gut these programs by ending the federal subsidies and regulatory controls in the health care market.<br /><br />“The Republicans don’t have a plan,” Pelosi said. “Their plan—you know what their plan is? Cut and run. Cut the health coverage for working families and run. Cut women’s right to life-saving preventative care and affordable contraception, a hospital’s ability to care for their community by saddling them with massive uncompensated care—cut and run. Cut 3 million jobs, weaken economic growth. Cut Medicaid, which goes across the economic spectrum, which affords the middle-class elderly, in addition to the working poor, with long-term health care affecting all families in America. They want to cut Medicare benefits. The only thing they want to increase are prescription drug prices and they want to destroy the Medicare guarantee. They want to cut that and run. That is not a plan. That is a disaster.”</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2017 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1070615'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1070615" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Mon, 16 Jan 2017 12:26:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1070615 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Activism Election 2016 obamacare GOP repeal of Obamacare nancy pelosi keith ellison Activist Files Federal Suit to Declare Electoral College Unconstitutional Under Slavery Ending Amendments http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/election-2016/activist-files-federal-suit-declare-electoral-college-unconstitutional-under-slavery <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1070478'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1070478" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The Hail Mary suit seeks to stop Trump, elevate the popular vote and make Hillary president.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2017-01-13_at_11.05.29_am.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>A series of emergency motions filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington on Thursday seek to postpone the presidential inauguration by arguing that the Electoral College is unconstitutional under the post-Civil War amendments that ended slavery and gave blacks and women the right to vote.<br /><br />The lawsuit contends the Electoral College is unconstitutional—and Trump's presidency illegitimate—because it was part of a system that was created to protect slavery and give slave-owning states more representatives in Congress and in choosing the president (as each state has as many electors as members of Congress). The suit argues this slave-era holdover is unconstitutionally harming the voting rights of people who do not live in the rural states overrepresented in the Electoral College, as evidenced by the fact that, for the second time in 16 years, the national popular vote winner has not been elected president.<br /><br />The suit was filed by Bret Sablosky, a paralegal who moved from Chicago to Washington to satisfy federal court filing requirements. He is hoping lower-ranking judges on the court, mostly appointed by President Obama, will be receptive to the historic nature of the case and will order the inauguration postponed while the suit is heard.<br /><br />“It’s worth postponing the inauguration for four months because this is one of the most important trials that will take place in the United States—whether the popular vote is the only constitutional method to elect the president,” he said. “I’ve spent months putting this case together. I have been trying to get rid of the Electoral College for 12 years.”<br /><br />The suit also argues the 19th Amendment, giving women the vote, is undermined by the Electoral College because women voters in California, for example, have less representation in the Electoral College than women voters in Wyoming, due to allocations that give small states more electors per capita than large states. It also argues that Donald Trump’s pledge to appoint fundamentalist justices to the Supreme Court violates the First Amendment right of freedom from others’ religion.<br /><br />“It certainly is a Hail Mary,” said Michael Gross, a Denver lawyer who helped Sablosky with his lawsuit and federal complaint. “I know there’s been a lot of effort to alter the events that will happen next Friday, which the whole world is horrified about.”<br /><br />“But there are real issues with the Electoral College and the legitimacy of the incoming president,” Gross added. “Up to this point, the courts don’t want to get involved. But we need to examine these issues, the Electoral College and the basic foundation of our democracy… This applies to the Senate and the House as well; they are trying to ram through things that are against the will of the people."<br /><br />Sablosky said he first turned to this issue after the 2000 presidential election, when the Supreme Court awarded the presidency to George W. Bush over Al Gore, who had won the popular vote. “I didn’t know what to do about it,” he said. “The solution is getting rid of the Electoral College. The problem was figuring out how to do it."<br /><br />Efforts like a National Popular Vote compact, in which state legislatures agree to award their Electoral College delegates to the popular vote winner, have languished, he said. When Hillary Clinton won by nearly three million votes but lost the presidency, he said the time had come to cite the post-slavery era constitutional amendments in a lawsuit seeking to throw out the Electoral College.<br /><br />Procedurally, Sablosky is appealing a District Court decision that rejected a suit he filed after Election Day. In that case, a judge appointed by George W. Bush did not comment on the constitutional issues. Sablosky’s brief notes that before 1960, presidents were inaugurated in March while Congress continued its business. There’s no reason why a federal court cannot delay that process again, he said.</p><p>But the bottom line, as Sablosky's brief explains, is that Donald Trump must not be sworn in as president.<br /><br />"Should the United States Supreme Court and/or the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and/or this U.S. District Court decide in favor of plaintiff’s claims, that the national popular vote total plurality is the only constitutional way to choose the president and vice president of the United States, then no one will have been sworn in as president in violation of that ruling, and Donald Trump will not have been sworn in as president and Mike Pence will not have been sworn in as vice president," the lawsuit says. "Then Hillary Rodham Clinton can then be sworn in as president of the United states and Tim Kaine can then be sworn in as vice president of the United States, in accordance with the court’s decision, that the national popular vote total plurality is the only constitutional method to choose the president and vice president."<br /><br />Sablosky expects to hear by Tuesday whether the Appeals Court will postpone the inauguration and hear his lawsuit.</p><p>"I created a course of action out of the slavery amendment," he said. "There's a clear track and all we needed was a green light."</p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2017 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1070478'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1070478" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Fri, 13 Jan 2017 10:48:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1070478 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 Bret Sablosky 2016 Electoral College challange popular vote federal lawsuit Latest Nonsense From the Right-Wing Fringe Trump Fanboy Alex Jones: Putin Is Listening to Me and Says Hi! http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/election-2016/latest-nonsense-right-wing-fringe-trump-fanboy-alex-jones-putin-listening-me-and-says <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1070442'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1070442" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Is it a sign of Club Trump&#039;s ties with Russia, or a fantasy skit also serving Putin? </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2017-01-12_at_1.46.43_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Alex Jones, the extremist right-wing conspiracy promoter, has either lost his mind entirely, is reading from a really bad political comedy script, or is telling his fans—many of whom voted for Donald Trump—that he not only loves Russia’s Vladimir Putin, but loves that Putin is telling others to say hi to Jones for him.<br /><br />This banter is what passes for an inane mix of infotainment, dark messaging and pro-Putin propaganda earlier this week on Jones' InfoWars show. His guest was a host from Russia Today, the Kremlin-funded TV network singled out by the White House’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election as a key propaganda venue, who laid it on thick, <a href="http://mediamatters.org/embed/clips/2017/01/11/51719/gcn-alexjones-20161208-putin">telling</a> Jones how much Putin loves what he does—and by the way, Putin sends his regards.<br /><br />As Media Matters, which tracks and debunks right-wing propagandists like Jones, <a href="http://mediamatters.org/blog/2017/01/12/rt-host-alex-jones-putin-told-me-say-hi-alex/214997">reported</a> Thursday, “Radio host and prominent Donald Trump ally Alex Jones was told by an RT host that Russian President Vladimir Putin asked him to 'say hi to Alex.' Jones has claimed that he was told years ago that 'Putin’s a big listener' and was previously informed that the 'Russian government listens to' his show and the Kremlin partially 'modeled' RT off of his Infowars network.”<br /><br />It’s unbelievable that anybody who watches the <a href="http://mediamatters.org/embed/clips/2017/01/11/51719/gcn-alexjones-20161208-putin">segment</a> can believe a single word of it, as it’s filled with banter and crosstalk between two right-ring bros who seem to love the sounds of their voices only slightly less than their preening for the cameras pointed at them. Russian TV may not be Netflix, but surely Putin has better things to do.<br /><br />Nonetheless, this is the Trump era of post-factual reality and fake news, and the Russia Today broadcast suggests more evidence that a murky line and blurry relationship exists between the next president and one of America’s top international adversaries (even though the Russia Today host says Putin's a good guy).<br /><br />Media Matters takes a darker view, <a href="http://mediamatters.org/blog/2017/01/12/rt-host-alex-jones-putin-told-me-say-hi-alex/214997">blogging</a>, “Scrutiny of Trump and his allies’ alleged ties to the Russian government has increased since the U.S. intelligence community released an unclassified document finding with 'high confidence' that Putin 'ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election,' and that 'Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.' CNN recently reported that senior intelligence officials presented a 'two-page synopsis' to Trump and President Obama that 'included allegations that there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government, according to two national security officials.'"</p><p>Whether you believe the White House’s allegations of Russian interference are real or not, what’s unreal, or perhaps just nuts, is that Jones, as Media Matters noted, “has said that he talks to the president-elect on the phone to give advice and stated that it’s ‘surreal to talk about issues here on air and then word for word hear Trump say it two days later.’ Trump has appeared on Jones' show and is reportedly a viewer.”<br /><br />Alex Jones, if one needs reminding, is the nut who has claimed that 9/11 was an “inside job” by the U.S. government, and that Osama bin Laden was a “CIA asset.” He also said the Oklahoma City bombing was an inside job, the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting was staged, the Boston Marathon bombing was staged, and that vaccines are part of a government plan to kill and maim people. And somehow, all of this is the tip of an even loonier iceberg. (See those chemtrails in the sky?)<br /><br />Despite Media Matters’ seriousness exposing a lunatic right-wing fringe provocateur who may or may not be part of a Trump kitchen cabinet, one has to ask if this latest display of brotherly love between a fatuous and attention-starved Jones and a fawning and patronizing Russia Today host, is not also staged. It could easily be dismissed as a shabby attempt at mixing political propaganda and humor for an audience of C students. But we now live in Donald Trump’s America. </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2017 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1070442'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1070442" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 12 Jan 2017 14:33:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1070442 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 alex jones putin media matters Obama Lays Out a Vision for America's Future and Stopping Trump and GOP in His Farewell Address http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/election-2016/obama-lays-out-vision-americas-future-and-stopping-trump-and-gop-his-farewell-address <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1070322'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1070322" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Speaking eloquently, Obama rejects Trump&#039;s politics.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2017-01-10_at_9.42.00_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>On the surface, President Barack Obama’s farewell address in Chicago on Tuesday night recounted his achievements, his values and his still-hopeful vision for America—much like the best speeches. But not far below was a clear template telling his supporters how to defend the America they believe in against threats by Donald Trump and the GOP.<br /><br />Obama's view of history is one that embraces larger-than-life figures like Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who both believed in the quest to create a more perfect union and the slow but inevitable pace of progress. But his view also ackowledges the historic rise of immigrants who bettered their lives and communities after settling here. In his speech, Obama embraced the country’s increasingly multicultural and open-minded youths, urging them to stay active in politics and work for the change they seek.     <br /><br />“This generation coming up—unselfish, altruistic, creative, patriotic—I’ve seen you in every corner of the country,” Obama said, near the speech’s conclusion. “You believe in a fair, just, inclusive America; you know that constant change has been America’s hallmark, something not to fear but to embrace, and you are willing to carry this hard work of democracy forward. You’ll soon outnumber any of us, and I believe as a result that the future is in good hands.”<br /><br />Obama’s farewell recounted his legacy, his greatest social and economic achievements, foreign policy successes without new major wars, and challenged Republicans to find ways to improve Obamacare without ending coverage to 20 million Americans who now have health insurance. But like all his greatest speeches, Obama spent an inordinate amount of time focused on the idea of what it means to be an American, which is to be steeped in communitarian values such as faith, family, dignified work, shared notions of the common good, and a belief in participatory democracy. He added that these values are threatened by widening economic inequality, kneejerk racism and grievance-based politics. </p><p>“It was on these streets where I witnessed the power of faith, and the quiet dignity of working people in the face of struggle and loss,” Obama said, early in his speech, as he laid a foundation explaining his values and philosophy. “This is where I learned that change only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged and come together to demand it. After eight years as your president, I still believe that. And it’s not just my belief. It’s the beating heart of our American idea—our bold experiment in self-government.”<br /><br />But Obama reminded Americans and deflated Democrats that the arc of progress is never a straight line, but filled with setbacks.</p><p>“For every two steps forward, it often feels we take one step back,” he said, referring to the election results. “But the long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed to embrace all, and not just some.... We remain the wealthiest, most powerful and most respected nation on Earth. Our youth and drive, our diversity and openness, our boundless capacity for risk and reinvention mean that the future should be ours. But that potential will be realized only if our democracy works. Only if our politics reflects the decency of our people.  Only if all of us, regardless of our party affiliation or particular interest, help restore the sense of common purpose that we so badly need right now.”<br /><br />With that last phrase, Obama began to steer his remarks toward a criticism of Donald Trump and the destructive politics that fueled his campaign. In a way that Hillary Clinton never quite could, Obama challenged Trump with Clinton's 2016 campaign slogan, “Stronger together,” and then laid out the platform to politically retake the country.<br /><br />“Understand democracy does not require uniformity,” he said, returning to first principles. “Our founders quarreled and compromised, and expected us to do the same. But they knew that democracy does require a basic sense of solidarity—the idea that for all our outward differences, we are all in this together; that we rise or fall as one.”<br /><br />Citing economic inequality as one issue the country must address, Obama said there were no “quick fixes,” and warned against imaginary enemies from abroad, like Trump's scapegoats. “I agree that our trade should be fair and not just free. But the next wave of economic dislocation won’t come from overseas. It will come from the relentless pace of automation that makes many good, middle-class jobs obsolete."</p><p>"And so we must forge a new social compact,” he continued, laying out an agenda to fight for and defend. "To guarantee all our kids the education they need; to give workers the power to unionize for better wages; to update the social safety net to reflect the way we live now and make more reforms to the tax code so corporations and individuals who reap the most from the new economy don’t avoid their obligations to the country that’s made their success possible.”<br /><br />This new social compact must place race at the center of the discussion, Obama said, and not do what many Republicans have done, which is to cite Obama’s presidency as evidence that the country has moved beyond race and no longer needed to pay attention to it.  <br /> <br />“After my election, there was talk of a post-racial America,” he said. “Such a vision, however well-intended, was never realistic. For race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society…. But we’re not where we need to be. All of us have more work to do. After all, if every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hard-working, white middle-class and undeserving minorities, then workers of all shades will be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves.”<br /><br />Obama quickly shifted to a fulsome defense of all immigrants. “If we decline to invest in the children of immigrants, just because they don’t look like us, we diminish the prospects of our own children,” he said, “because those brown kids will represent a larger share of America’s workforce. And our economy doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game.”<br /><br />The idea of America Obama espoused is not about the privileged and wealthy becoming yet more privileged and wealthier, but about immigrants and ordinary people rising. That class struggle, he said, transcends race and is a factor that unites people even if it forces them to think differently about their predicaments and their neighbors.<br /><br />“For blacks and other minorities, it means tying our own struggles for justice to the challenges that a lot of people in this country face—the refugee, the immigrant, the rural poor, the transgender American, and also the middle-aged white man who from the outside may seem like he’s got all the advantages, but who’s seen his world upended by economic, cultural, and technological change.” Obama said. “For white Americans, it means acknowledging that the effects of slavery and Jim Crow didn’t suddenly vanish in the ‘60s; that when minority groups voice discontent, they’re not just engaging in reverse racism or practicing political correctness; that when they wage peaceful protest, they’re not demanding special treatment, but the equal treatment our Founders promised.”<br /><br />“For native-born Americans, it means reminding ourselves that the stereotypes about immigrants today were said, almost word for word, about the Irish, Italians and Poles,” he continued. “America wasn’t weakened by the presence of these newcomers; they embraced this nation’s creed, and it was strengthened.”  <br /><br />Obama said the fragmentation of the media and the reemergence of partisan politics based on hateful principles—two pillars of Trump’s campaign—undermine the ties that should bind people.<br /><br />“For too many of us, it’s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods or college campuses or places of worship or our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions,” he said. “The rise of naked partisanship, increasing economic and regional stratification, the splintering of our media into a channel for every taste—all this makes this great sorting seem natural, even inevitable. And increasingly, we become so secure in our bubbles that we accept only information, whether true or not, that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that’s out there.”<br /><br />After saying that climate change is real and that the best paths forward should be debated, not avoided—and that to deny that reality is to condemn future generations—Obama summed up his prior remarks and issued the warning that most directly addressed the threat posed by Trump and his brand of politics.<br /><br />“It’s that [American] spirit—a faith in reason, and enterprise, and the primacy of right over might, that allowed us to resist the lure of fascism and tyranny during the Great Depression, and build a post-World War II order with other democracies, an order based not just on military power or national affiliations but on principles—the rule of law, human rights, freedoms of religion, speech, assembly, and an independent press,” Obama said. “That order is now being challenged—first by violent fanatics who claim to speak for Islam; more recently by autocrats in foreign capitals who see free markets, open democracies and civil society itself as a threat to their power,” he continued. “The peril each poses to our democracy is more far-reaching than a car bomb or a missile. It represents the fear of change; the fear of people who look or speak or pray differently; a contempt for the rule of law that holds leaders accountable; an intolerance of dissent and free thought; a belief that the sword or the gun or the bomb or propaganda machine is the ultimate arbiter of what’s true and what’s right.”<br /><br />The counter and solution to this threat, Obama said, is an active participatory democracy.<br /><br />“But protecting our way of life requires more than our military. Democracy can buckle when we give in to fear. So just as we, as citizens, must remain vigilant against external aggression, we must guard against a weakening of the values that make us who we are,” he said. “That’s why I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans. That’s why we cannot withdraw from global fights—to expand democracy, and human rights, women’s rights, and LGBT rights—no matter how imperfect our efforts, no matter how expedient ignoring such values may seem. For the fight against extremism and intolerance and sectarianism are of a piece with the fight against authoritarianism and nationalist aggression. If the scope of freedom and respect for the rule of law shrinks around the world, the likelihood of war within and between nations increases, and our own freedoms will eventually be threatened.”<br /><br />Obama closed his speech by appealing to his supporters to participate more, not withdrawal.<br /><br />“Our democracy is threatened whenever we take it for granted,” he said, wrapping up. “All of us, regardless of party, should throw ourselves into the task of rebuilding our democratic institutions. When voting rates are some of the lowest among advanced democracies, we should make it easier, not harder, to vote. When trust in our institutions is low, we should reduce the corrosive influence of money in our politics, and insist on the principles of transparency and ethics in public service. When Congress is dysfunctional, we should draw our districts to encourage politicians to cater to common sense and not rigid extremes. And all of this depends on our participation; on each of us accepting the responsibility of citizenship, regardless of which way the pendulum of power swings.”<br /><br />Obama sought to end his farewell address on the same hopeful note on which he began his presidency—by urging people not to give up on their visions and dreams, and to help make the political world a better reflection of those values.<br /><br />“I am asking you to hold fast to that faith written into our founding documents; that idea whispered by slaves and abolitionists; that spirit sung by immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice; that creed reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to the surface of the moon; a creed at the core of every American whose story is not yet written: Yes, we can. Yes, we did. Yes, we can.”<br /> </p><p><embed allowscriptaccess="always" background="#000000" flashvars="pType=embed&amp;si=254&amp;pid=uoUDfuEw9_3E&amp;uuid=35ee5f61-b5f6-41b3-85c7-e0734f0c274b&amp;url=http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/watch-full-video-president-obama-gives-final-speech-as-president" height="387" quality="high" salign="lt" src="http://www.cbsnews.com/common/video/cbsnews_video.swf" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="600"></embed></p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2017 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1070322'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1070322" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 10 Jan 2017 21:42:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1070322 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Activism Education Election 2016 barrack obama farewell address The Most Loathsome Republican: McConnell Does the GOP's Dirty Work While All Eyes Follow Trump http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/election-2016/most-loathsome-republican-mcconnell-does-gops-dirty-work-while-all-eyes-follow-trump <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1070231'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1070231" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">McConnell lies as easily as Trump, but knows what he&#039;s doing.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2017-01-09_at_1.33.52_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>As Senate Republicans make a mockery of Trump cabinet confirmation hearings this week by ramming as many appointees through as quickly as possible to avoid scrutiny, Americans are going to discover there are many shades of darkness in GOP-led Washington.<br /><br />Trump, needless to say, is not merely the headline grabber-in-chief, as evidenced by his 3:27am <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/818419002548568064">tweet</a> Monday smearing Meryl Streep, who had the guts while receiving a Golden Globe lifetime achievement award Sunday to remind viewers that not all U.S. citizens agree with Trump’s boundless bullying.</p><p><br />Streep’s comments came only hours after the New York Times published a Sunday op-ed by Jonathan Raban, a Seattle author and early tea partier, who affirmed the very qualities most upsetting to Streep. “Mr. Trump has great gifts in the arts of vengeance and humiliation,” he <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/07/opinion/sunday/the-tea-party-and-the-art-of-the-mean-joke.html?_r=0">wrote</a>, which serve a “blunt pugnacity” marked by an “unholy tangle of lies, misapprehensions, disinformation and personal insults.”<br /><br />Trump’s attention-grabbing qualities are already serving Washington’s other GOP power brokers by diverting attention from slightly less venal qualities that serve the Republican’s dismantle-the-federal-government agenda even before Trump is sworn in. Exhibit A in this sordid department is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is as comfortable lying with a poker face as Trump is attacking critics like Streep. The takeaway is, watch what they do, not what they say.<br /><br />McConnell’s latest bout of high-stakes hypocritical lying came Sunday, when he told CBS-TV’s “Face the Nation” he would not slow down or reschedule any of this week’s conformation hearings, after Democrats protested that nominees like billionaire Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education designate, had not submitted financial disclosure forms. McConnell has scheduled most of the hearings for Wednesday, the day Trump gives his first press conference since Election Day and the day after President Obama gives his farewell address. The hearings will get scant coverage on television, the medium that most helped elect Trump.<br /><br />“All of these little procedural complaints are related to their frustration at not only having lost the White House but having lost the Senate,” McConnell said, referring to Senate Democrats’ demands for probing the many conflicts of interest and private agendas of the most billionaire-filled cabinet in history. “I understand that, but we need to, sort of, grow up here and get past that.”<br /><br />When McConnell mocks “procedural complaints” and says “grow up,” he means the GOP must be free to quash anything that interferes with their power grab. This is the GOP’s Senate leader who single-handedly blocked President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, a moderate praised by Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-UT. McConnell is also responsible for blocking Obama’s appointment of 84 federal district court judges—<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/05/opinion/sunday/what-the-chief-justice-should-have-said.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FU.S.%20Supreme%20Court&amp;action=click&amp;contentCollection=timestopics&amp;region=stream&amp;module=stream_unit&amp;version=latest&amp;contentPlacement=2&amp;pgtype=collection">one-eighth</a> of the district court bench—including noncontroversial nominations. And he is the same Republican who in February 2009 wrote a <a href="https://twitter.com/NormEisen/status/818068447716409345">letter</a> to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, saying “prior to considering any time agreements on the floor on any [Cabinet] nominee, we expect the following standards will be met.” That included completing FBI background checks, all financial disclosures, Office of Government Ethics vetting, committee questionnaires and “courtesy visits with members.”<br /><br />McConnell has long been one of the least principled Republican leaders. In the late 1990s, he opposed all forms of campaign finance reform when the McCain-Feingold bill was proposed, countering deregulation of donation limits and disclosure by donors was all that was needed. McConnell changed his tune on disclosure after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, because the biggest GOP donors wanted to throw all the mud they could but were too cowardly to publicly attach their names to the political attacks they funded.<br /><br />In McConnell, Trump has the perfect henchman. If one takes a look at the <a href="http://www.republicanleader.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases">press releases</a> from the Senate Majority Leader’s office since the election, one finds not just kneejerk fealty to the president-elect’s nominees and relentless criticism of all things Obama but propagandistic rhetoric in which plain language loses its meaning when held against any objective standard based on facts. Take what McConnell said about Treasury Secretary designate Steven Mnuchin, whose past business experience includes running the mortgage lender IndyMac, which foreclosed on thousands of borrowers instead of refinancing so average Americans could keep their homes and equity.<br /><br />“It is time to get serious about the problems families and businesses large and small across the nation face,” McConnell <a href="http://www.republicanleader.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/majority-leader-mcconnells-statement-on-steven-mnuchin">said</a>. “Whether it is the urgent need for tax reform or wide-ranging regulatory relief, we will need someone like Steven working with both parties in Congress to make it happen. His private sector expertise will be valuable as we begin to tackle these challenges and reverse the last eight years of economic heartache.”<br /><br />McConnell is the perfect partner and lying propagandist for Trump. He maintains a straight face, which never upstages the television coverage of Trump’s latest antics. As McConnell’s praise of Mnuchin reveals, the GOP’s agenda is simple—give corporate America more power to do what it wants, enrich the wealthy with more tax cuts, and keep insisting, with a straight face, that’s what’s best for the nation. As Americans will soon see, many shades of darkness inhabit Trump’s Washington.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2017 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1070231'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1070231" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Mon, 09 Jan 2017 13:12:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1070231 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 mitch mcconnell trump cabinet senate confirmation hearings Five Ways GOP Repeal of Obamacare is Taking From The Poor and Giving to the Rich http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/economy/five-ways-gop-repeal-obamacare-taking-poor-and-giving-rich <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1070104'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1070104" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Robinhood in reverse: repeal and don&#039;t replace.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/p110916ps-0046.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>On Friday in a town hall meeting in Washington, President Obama said he would be happy to replace Obamacare with a better program but said Republican critics haven’t proposed anything that would bring better results by any objective measure.<br /><br />“From the very start, in the earliest negotiations in 2009, 2010, I made clear to Republicans that, if they had ideas that they could show would work better than the ideas that we had thought of, I would be happy to incorporate them into the law,” the president said. “And rather than offer ideas, what we got was a big no, we just don’t want to do this.”<br /><br />Republicans in Congress have already taken the first steps to repeal a program that brought health coverage to 20 million Americans, lowered health care cost inflation and saved the government hundreds of billions. They did so by this week passing a budget resolution with massive unspecified spending cuts, which will target the law’s individual subsidies and block grants to states for expanding their anti-poverty Medicaid programs. What congressional Republicans haven’t done, as Obama emphasized Friday, was say what they would replace it with—continuing their empty promise rhetoric.<br /> <br />“After the law passed, for the last six, seven years, there has been the argument that we  [the GOP] can provide a great replacement that will be much better for everybody than what the Affordable Care Act is providing,” Obama said. “And yet, over the last six, seven years, there has been no actual replacement law that any credible health care policy experts have said would work better. In fact, many of them would result in millions of people losing coverage and the coverage being worse for those who kept it.”<br /><br />What Obama didn’t say was that the Republicans don’t want to replace Obamacare, but instead are willing to let lower-income people fend for themselves with limited access to anything resembling preventative health care. And their health care reforms, which have been known for some time, will also results in a giant transfer of money from wealthier private hands at the expense of everyday Americans who will face fewer options.<br /><br />Here are five takeaways showing why the known parts of the GOP’s repeal and (most likely not) replace plan amount to Robinhood in reverse: taking from the poor, working- and middle-class and giving to corporate Americans and Wall Street.     <br /><br /><strong>1. Millions will lose coverage</strong>. As Obama said, millions of people will be hurt by losing coverage if Republicans eliminate subsidies for households buying policies through the state-based exchanges or federal government. People will go back to not having health coverage because they cannot afford it, especially if they over age 50—which is when insurers really start raising premiums. But vast numbers of people will also lose it when Republicans roll back Medicaid expansion by turning that program into block grants for states, which leaves governors and legislature in the position of having to raise taxes to continue those programs.<br /><br /><strong>2. The transfer of wealth begins</strong>. This upward redistribution comes as the GOP starts to repeal the tax penalties associated with the Affordable Care Act. While they will surely argue that removing individual penalties helps the little guy, they will also be letting large employers off the hook for providing coverage for employees, a bottom-line bonanza. It is unclear what the GOP will do with law’s income tax surcharge on the highest earners, as the GOP may seek to retain some revenue for what they will likely advertise as new tax credits to help lower-income people pay for private insurance. The problem, as is always the case with tax credits, is one has to first have enough income to use them.  <br /><br /><strong>3. Wall Street gets to cash in</strong>. House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans have long-espoused expanding the use of health savings accounts, as a way to build up the sufficient funds needed when sickness or a medical emergency strikes. That is a very big way that financial institutions will get to make big money by skimming off of the top of these accounts under the guise of management fees. This entire approach is based on a false premise that’s akin to the was 401k savings plans were sold by right-wingers as a replacement for employee pensions—they put money aside, but it is a pale shade of what’s needed to cope with real-life living expenses. Nonetheless, Wall St. profits.<br /><br /><strong>4. Cost shifts will hit consumers</strong>. Health care economics are not hard to understand. When profit-driven institutions like hospitals, drug makers and insurers lose money from unanticipated costs—such as people flocking to emergency rooms or facing big surgery after being denied access to preventative care—they stick to their profit goals by raising prices wherever they can. That dynamic is what is behind the recent rise in health care premiums, according to a series of recent astute analyses. Paul Krugman has written that what’s behind recent premium increases in states where insurers aren’t regulated, like California, is a temporary consequence of those without insurance catching up on neglected health issues. Obama, speaking Friday, said that insurers also intentionally offered low-cost initial plans to grab as big a market share as possible. There is no evidence that insurers, hospitals and drug companies will cease price-gouging. Thus, taking federal billions out of the system means either less care or higher costs for all.<br /><br /><strong>5. The race to the bottom begins</strong>. Republicans have said they will push for allowing people to buy insurance across state lines. That is not the same as allowing states that regulate insurance companies from forming regional compacts to create bigger pools to support more insurance-buying choices. As Dean Baker, co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington told AlterNet, that “means that every insurer gets incorporated in the least regulated state and the other states can't do anything to prevent them from ripping off their customers (e.g. get incorporated in Alabama and collect premiums and don't pay claims in California).” And that’s not all. “Also they will look to end pooling whereby the more healthy subsidize the less healthy, former tend to be richer, latter poorer,” he said.<br /><br /><strong>The Only Replacement Alternative</strong><br />The Republicans have no intention of replacing Obamacare with anything that will continue or maintain the same level of coverage that is now under the Affordable Care Act. If they did, it would have been presented by congressional sponsors in the 60 or so pieces of legislation that they passed to kill Obamacare—that the president vetoed. Not one Republican has ever seriously proposed anything close to imposing price controls, which Republican President Richard Nixon entertained amid a struggling economy in the early 1970s.<br />   <br />But there is an alternative to the system of private health insurance that is the status quo and Obama discussed that on Friday, when explaining the history of the Affordable Care Act—which he said was based on a place created by a Republican Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney, and intentionally designed to attract Republican support.<br /><br />“If you look at how this law evolved—and I’ve said this publicly before, if I was starting from scratch, I probably would have supported a single-payer system because it’s just easier for people to understand and manage,” Obama said. “And that’s essentially what Medicare is, is a single-payer system for people of a certain age. And people are very satisfied with it and it’s not that complicated to understand or to access services. But that wasn’t available; we weren’t starting from scratch.”<br /><br />“So what did I then do?” he continued. “I said, well, where is a system out there that seems to be providing coverage for everybody that politically we could actually get through a Congress and where we could get Republican support. And lo and behold, in Massachusetts there was a plan that had been designed on a bipartisan basis—including by a Republican governor who ultimately became the nominee for the Republican Party—that came close to providing universal coverage. And I would have thought since this was an idea that had previously gotten a lot of Republican support that it would continue to get a lot of Republican support. And yet, somehow, magically, the minute we said this is a great idea and it’s working, Republicans said this is terrible and we don’t want to do this.”<br /><br />Does anybody think that today’s congressional Republicans and the president-elect are going to magically reverse course and embrace Obamacare as a copycat GOP program—especially after years and years of vilifying it? No, it's likely they will revoke coverage for lower-income people, who are among there least-reliable voters, get Wall Street involved in skimming health savings funds and let everyone else fend for themselves in a chaotic system of higher prices and less care.</p><p>And it then will fall on Democrats, or another national political movement, to resurrect what everybody has known is the answer all along: a single-payer system.  </p><p><br /> </p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2017 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1070104'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1070104" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Fri, 06 Jan 2017 15:25:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1070104 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Economy Economy Election 2016 Labor News & Politics Republican Obamacare repeal heath care privatization Handful of House Democrats Try to Block Trump Electoral College Ratification, But No Democratic Senator Steps Up http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/election-2016/handful-house-democrats-try-block-trump-electoral-college-ratification-no-democratic <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1070068'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1070068" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">&quot;Is there one senator who will join me?&quot;</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2017-01-06_at_10.19.43_am.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>The era of Donald Trump’s presidency began Friday, after Vice-President Joe Biden shut down objections by a handful of Democratic House members during a joint session of Congress called to certify the 2016 Electoral College votes.<br /><br />“It is over,” Biden said, to cheers by Republicans, cutting off a congresswomen from Georgia who started to state her objection, with Biden interrupting that without a U.S. senator willing to join the objection, the ratification would continue. “The objection cannot be entertained,” Biden repeated minutes later when a California congresswoman also objected.<br /><br />At least half a dozen House members stood to oppose Trump’s election, saying—before they were cut off—that various states’ Electoral College votes should be rejected because of partisan voter suppression by Republicans, Russian interference in the election helping Trump, and the apparently illegal seating of more than 50 Trump electors. That final objection is based on a legal team's report revealing that the electors live outside of the congressional districts they represent, or already hold elective office in a state barring dual-office holders.   <br /><br />The objections by House members from Arizona, Massachusetts, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Arizona, California, Maryland and Washinton were cut off by Biden. Nonetheless, the Democrats repeatedly uttered the phrase “massive voter suppression!” and singled out North Carolina.<br /><br />“There is no debate in the joint session,” Biden repeated. “The chair has previously ruled.”  <br /><br />The protests were a response to intense lobbying by grassroots activists. They succeeded in finding several House members to sponsor a formal challenge, just as Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, D-OH, did in 2005, when she opposed the ratification of Ohio’s 2004 Electoral College votes. But they could not find a senator like Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA, who in 2005 led the challenge in that body. If one House member sponsored the objection, and a second House member and a senator signed on, the joint session of Congress to ratify the Electoral College results would be suspended and each body would hold a two-hour debate.<br /><br />That’s what happened in 2005, when Tubbs-Jones and Boxer lectured their colleagues on GOP voter suppression efforts in Ohio and other efforts targeting presumed Democratic voters and their ballots. It didn’t stop President George W. Bush’s re-election, but it made a symbolic point that Democrats were willing fight for Americans' voting rights. Boxer later said she did it because she was disgusted with happened in Florida four years before, when the U.S. Supreme Court stopped the recount and awarded the presidency to the governor’s brother.  <br /><br />If anything, the anti-democratic features of the 2016 presidential campaign are more serious than what occurred back in 2004. The Republican Party’s ongoing state-level efforts to police the polls to discourage voting in communities of color; the deepening revelations of involvement of Russian spy agencies in assisting the Trump campaign and attacking a range of Democratic candidates; and the apparently illegal seating of dozens of Trump presidential electors all add up to the illegitimitacy of Trump's presidency.</p><p>“Is there one senator who will join me?” yelled California Congresswomen Barbara Lee. Not a single one replied.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2017 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1070068'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1070068" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Fri, 06 Jan 2017 10:40:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1070068 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Activism Election 2016 2016 Presidential Election Activists Are Frustrated That Democrats Won't Challenge Trump's Legitimacy During Electoral College Ratification http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/election-2016/activists-are-frustrated-democrats-wont-challenge-trumps-legitimacy-during-electoral <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1070037'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1070037" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Grassroots see a party not rising to urgency. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2017-01-05_at_4.54.20_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>The vast majority of congressional Democrats don’t want to take a final stand against Donald Trump’s election, even a symbolic move telling Americans why they believe his presidency is illegitimate, at Friday’s ratification of the 2016 Electoral College vote.<br /><br />Despite GOP-led voter suppression that civil rights activists say deterred millions of people of color, Russian actions that helped Trump and hurt Democrats, and a new <a href="http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/activists-urge-racist-presidential-election-results-should-not-be-certified">report</a> revealing that 50 or more of Trump’s presidential electors were illegally seated—amounting to vote fraud by a party that bludgeons Democrats on that very issue—grassroots activists said they could not find one senator on Thursday willing to commit to signing a formal Electoral College challenge.<br /><br />The activists said several House members were willing to sponsor a formal challenge, just as Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, D-OH, did in 2005, opposing ratification of Ohio’s 2004 Electoral College votes. But they could not find a senator like Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA, who led that body's challenge back in 2005. If one House member sponsored the objection, and a second House member and one senator signed on, the joint session of Congress convened to ratify the results would adjourn and the House and Senate would hold a two-hour debate.<br /><br />That’s what happened in 2005. Tubbs-Jones and Boxer lectured their colleagues on GOP voter suppression efforts in Ohio and other partisan efforts targeting presumed Democrats and their ballots. It didn’t stop President George W. Bush’s re-election, but it made a symbolic point that Democrats were willing fight for voting rights. Boxer said she did it because she was disgusted with what happened in Florida in 2000, when the Supreme Court stopped the recount and awarded the presidency to Bush.<br /><br />Notwithstanding any last-minute changes of heart or courageous impulses, it’s not likely Democrats will make a parallel high-profile stance protesting Trump’s election. Skeptics may ask, what is the point if it changes nothing? But that is not how the activists pushing for an Electoral College challenge see it.<br /><br />Civil rights activist Ruby Sales has been <a href="http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/activists-urge-racist-presidential-election-results-should-not-be-certified">lobbying</a> the Congressional Black Caucus to seize the moment to tell Americans that they will stand up for voting rights. Ryan Clayton, part of the <a href="http://hamiltonelectors.com/">Hamilton Electors</a> movement that urged Republican Electoral College members to pick a more fit president, was promoting the research revealing that more than 50 Trump electors were illegally seated, underscoring GOP hypocrisy on policing voters. And even as the country is still learning about Russian hacking, Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-CO, issued a <a href="http://perlmutter.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=1549">statement</a> Thursday saying he would address foreign interference in elections.<br /><br />But as Ann Massaro, co-founder of <a href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/1599459547028581/">Women and Allies</a> and part of the coalition seeking a challenge on voter suppression grounds, said, the push to tell the nation why Trump is an illegitimate president is not coming from elected Democrats.<br /><br />“All of this is happening as a result of a grassroots movement of people, of grassroots movements, on the phones, and letters,” she said. “We hand-delivered letters to members of Congress who were most likely, because of their voting record, to stand up and do this—Democrats…There is going to be a very large grassroots movement growing in this country like we haven’t seen since the war in Vietnam or the civil rights movement.”<br /><br />As Clayton said earlier this week, you can be sure the Republicans would be screaming constitutional bloody murder if the opposite were happening—if Congress were convening a joint session to ratify Hillary Clinton’s election after 50 Democratic electors were found ineligible to cast the Electoral College votes making her president. The arguments, information and analyses that Clayton, Massaro, Sales and others are citing are not being embraced by Democrats at large or Republicans of conscience.<br /><br />Just as the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign did not lead the recount in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, the party’s congressional leaders are showing that they are not prepared or willing to take on Trump and the GOP with the urgency grassroots progressives say is required. We will see what unfolds Friday afternoon, after many in Congress spend the morning hearing intelligence agency testimony on Russian actions. Perhaps one senator will step forward and join House members to protest Trump’s election.<br /><br />The press secretary of the one Democratic senator many grassroots activists were pinning their hopes on, New Jersey’s Cory Booker, did not respond to an email inquiry seeking his position. By 5pm on Thursday, another staffer in Booker’s office said he had not yet taken a position.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2017 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1070037'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1070037" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 05 Jan 2017 16:29:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1070037 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Activism Election 2016 2016 Electoral College Ruby Sales Ryan Clayon Hamilton Electors Ann Massaro Women and Allies congressional black caucus At Least 50 Trump Electors Were Illegitimately Seated as Electoral College Members http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/election-2016/least-50-trump-electors-were-illegitimately-seated-electoral-college-members <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1069981'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1069981" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">More evidence surfaces as calls mount to challenge congressional ratification of Electoral College vote.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2017-01-04_at_4.06.56_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>More than 50 Electoral College members who voted for Donald Trump were ineligible to serve as presidential electors because they did not live in the congressional districts they represented or held elective office in states legally barring dual officeholders.</p><p>That stunning finding is among the conclusions of an extensive 1,000-plus page legal <a href="https://my.pcloud.com/publink/show?code=788otalK">briefing</a> prepared by a bipartisan nationwide legal team for members of Congress who are being urged to object to certifying the 2016 Electoral College results on Friday.<br /><br />“Trump’s ascension to the presidency is completely illegitimate,” said Ryan Clayton of <a href="http://americanstakeaction.com/">Americans Take Action</a>, who is promoting the effort. “It’s not just Russians hacking our democracy. It’s not just voter suppression at unprecedented levels. It is also [that] there are Republicans illegally casting ballots in the Electoral College, and in a sufficient number that the results of the Electoral College proceedings are illegitimate as well.”<br /><br />“Republicans like to talk all the time about people voting illegally,” Clayton continued. “We have a list of a bunch of Republicans that allegedly voted illegally in the Electoral College. Pam Bondi is the attorney general of the state of Florida and the Florida Constitution says that you cannot hold two offices. And she holds the office of Attorney General and she holds the office of federal elector in the Electoral College. That is a violation of the law. That is a violation of the Constitution. And the vote that she cast in this election is illegal.”</p><p>A joint congressional session is scheduled to ratify the 2016 Electoral College vote this Friday. While there have been calls to challenge that certification—including one women-led <a href="http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/activists-urge-racist-presidential-election-results-should-not-be-certified">effort</a> saying Trump's victory is due to voter suppression targeting people of color—the analysis that scores of Trump electors were illegally seated, and the additional finding that most states won by Trump improperly filed their Electoral College "Certificates of Vote" with Congress, is unprecedented.</p><p>Their research and report grew out of the legal activities surrounding the December 19 Electoral College meeting, where Clayton and others urged Republican electors to reject Trump saying they had a constitutional responsibility to pick a more qualified president.  </p><p>Clayton is hoping that sufficient numbers of Republicans in Congress will not vote to ratify the Electoral College results, thus depriving Trump of the 270 Electoral College votes he needs to win the presidency. If that transpires, the House would then decide between the three top Electoral College vote-getters—Trump, Hillary Clinton and Colin Powell, he said. (Colin Powell got several electoral college votes—write-ins—while Gary Johnson got none. The Powell votes were from the Democratic electors academics call "faithless electors.")</p><p>But before any of that can happen, there needs to be a formal challenge to ratifying the 2016 Electoral College results in Friday’s joint session of Congress, which is where the research finding that scores of Trump votes were illegally cast comes in. </p><p>“We have reason to believe that there are at least 50 electoral votes that were not regularly given or not lawfully certified (16 Congressional District violations and 34 Dual Office-Holder violations),” the executive summary of the Electoral Vote Objection Packet <a href="https://my.pcloud.com/publink/show?code=788otalK">said</a>. “The number could be over a hundred. We urge you to prepare written objections for January 6.”<br /><br />“The compiling of the laws and evidence in this Electoral Vote Objection Package was completed by a national team of roughly 15 pro bono attorneys, law students, and legal assistants who represent no client or entity,” the summary <a href="https://my.pcloud.com/publink/show?code=788otalK">said</a>. “We are non-partisan—Democrat, Republican, and Independent. We live in different parts of the country, urban and rural, red states and blue states.”</p><p><strong>Challenging the Electoral College</strong></p><p>The Electoral College’s results have only been challenged twice since 1877. The most recent was in 2005, when an objection to Ohio’s Electoral College votes was filed by Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, D-OH, and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA. While that effort did not stop President George W. Bush's reelection, it did force both chambers of Congress to debate for two hours before the Electoral College vote was ratified. Tubbs-Jones and Boxer used the podium to rail against GOP efforts to suppress the vote and disqualify ballots in communities of color.<br /><br />The process for challenging the Electoral College vote is two-fold. First, a House member has to file a formal challenge and objection. Then one House member and one senator have to sign on, prompting each body to retire to their chambers for the two-hour debate.</p><p>The Electoral Vote Objection Packet briefing cites two main areas where 2016 Electoral College members were illegally seated and a third where their votes electing Trump were improperly sent to Congress.<br /><br />“Specifically, at least 16 electors lived outside the congressional districts they represented in violation of state statutory residency requirements, and at least 34 electors held dual offices, in direct violation of statutes prohibiting dual-office holding,” the briefing's executive summary says, noting this violates two sections of the U.S. Constitution.<br /><br />The first group of illegitimate electors amounts to political carpetbagging. “In North Carolina, for instance,” the briefing says, a state law, “NCGS 163-1(c) states, ‘One presidential elector shall be nominated from each congressional district…’ Yet, we have voter registration cards showing that numerous North Carolina electors lived outside the congressional districts they represented.”</p><p>The report lists the following states and their number of illegitimate electors: Arkansas (two from outside its congressional district); Indiana (one), Louisiana (one), Michigan (one), North Carolina (seven), Oklahoma (one), and Texas (three).</p><p>The second group of illegitimate electors is based on the fact that presidential electors hold a federal office, however short-lived, and that directly conflicts with states that ban elected officials from holding more than one office at a time. Florida’s state constitution, for example, bars dual-office holding. Its Supreme Court has issued rulings that further define what constitutes an officeholder. And the state legislature has passed other laws treating them as public officials, such as reimbursing them for travel costs.<br /><br />“Ironically, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who has issued a number of Advisory Legal Opinions on dual-office holding, was a presidential elector,” the briefing said. “Her name was on the Governor’s certification list of Republican electors, and also Attorney General Bondi cast her electoral ballot on December 19. Joe Negron, who also cast an electoral vote, is currently president of the Florida Senate.”<br /><br />The report lists the following states and their number of illegitimate electors based on dual-office holders: Alabama (two), Florida (12), Georgia (four), Iowa (two), Kansas (four), Kentucky (one), Michigan (one), Missouri (one), Nebraska (one), North Carolina (one), Ohio (one), Oklahoma (two), Pennsylvania (two), South Carolina (one), South Dakota (three), Tennessee (two), Texas (four), Utah (one), and West Virginia (three). This tally, which adds up to 49 electors, was taken from a spreadsheet accompanying the briefing and is a larger number than what was cited in the report’s executive summary, which is quoted above.<br /><br />Finally, there is another area of concern. Apparently, 23 states—out of the 31 that cast Electoral College votes for Trump—did not properly report separate vote counts for president and vice-president to Congress. That violates the 12th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and a federal law requiring presidential electors in each state to “provide ‘two distinct lists of votes,’ one for the president and the other for the Vice President,” the briefing said. “Of 31 states, only eight states followed that law," the report said. "Some states codify the federal law into their own state law regarding presidential electors. Of those, 15 states did not provide two lists of signatures on their Certificates of Vote.”</p><p>“We are not providing any legal advice,” the briefing’s disclaimer says. “We strongly suggest that members of Congress employ their own legal teams to verify our work.”<br /> <br />It may be that the efforts to convince Congress to challenge the ratification of the 2016 Electoral College amounts to little more than a Hail Mary aimed at derailing a Trump presidency. As of late Wednesday, Clayton thought there would be House members willing to object to certifying the Electoral College vote, but he was less certain about finding a senator willing to go along.</p><p>But even if a challenge is mounted and fails, it underscores the illegitimate basis of Trump’s presidency and the deep opposition to it, and refutes the GOP’s outrageous claim that it has a mandate for dismantling government programs across the board.   </p><p>“We have a list of 50 illegal electors,” Clayton said. “That puts Donald Trump below the threshold that he needs to be elected president. Let’s debate it in an open session. According to the Constitution, the Congress, if nobody wins on the first round of balloting, picks from the top three candidates. That will be Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Colin Powell.”</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2017 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1069981'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1069981" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 04 Jan 2017 15:55:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1069981 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Activism Election 2016 2016 Electoral College Activists Urge Racist Presidential Election Results Should Not Be Certified http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/election-2016/activists-urge-racist-presidential-election-results-should-not-be-certified <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1069919'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1069919" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">As in 2005, Congress may be forced to debate GOP-led voter suppression.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2017-01-03_at_5.00.34_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>An intense women-led lobbying effort on Capital Hill spent Tuesday seeking two representatives and one senator to challenge Friday’s certification of 2016’s Electoral College vote, saying the nation needs to hear how Donald Trump’s margin of victory was built on racist tactics targeting black and brown voters. The activists were focusing on the Congressional Black Caucus, which they said has a special responsibility to defend the rights of citizens of color who were the targets of GOP voter suppression efforts in 2016.<br /><br />“<a href="http://spirithouseproject.org/">Sisters in Struggle</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/1599459547028581/">Women and Allies</a> implore you to make the right decision in supporting our objection against the disenfranchisement of black and brown voters that contaminated and delegitimized the election of 2016,” their letter said. “We are an intergenerational coalition of women of all colors…[who] put our lives, scholarships, careers and futures on the line to break through the iron curtain of black voters’ disenfranchisement. We fought too hard and sacrificed too much to allow the re-creation of a nation of first- and second-class citizens in 2016.”<br /><br />The effort, if successful, would be the <a href="https://www.democracynow.org/2005/1/7/history_in_the_making_dems_force">third time</a> since 1877 that the Electoral College's selection of a president would be challenged. The last time was in early 2005, when the re-election of George W. Bush came after a litany of GOP-led voter suppression, voter disqualification and vote count anomalies occurred in Ohio. Former judge and Ohio Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs-Jones and California Sen. Barbara Boxer, both Democrats, objected to the 2004 Electoral College certification and forced each body to hold a two-hour debate before ratifying the Electoral College vote.</p><p>“Unfortunately, objecting to the electoral votes from Ohio is the only immediate avenue to bring these issues to light,” Tubbs-Jones <a href="https://www.democracynow.org/2005/1/7/history_in_the_making_dems_force">said</a> at the time. “While some have called our cause foolish, I can assure you that my parents, Mary and Andrew Tubbs, did not raise any fools. They raised a lawyer. They raised a former judge. They raised a prosecutor, and thank god, they lived to see me serve as a member of the House of Representatives. I’m duty-bound to follow the law and apply to the law to the facts as I find them, and it is on behalf of those millions of Americans who believe in and value our democratic process, and the right to vote, that I put forth this objection today.”<br /><br />The activists urging the Congressional Black Caucus members to similarly challenge the 2016 Electoral College certification said that GOP racist electioneering is even more dire today.<br /><br />“Our coalition bases our request on documented and irrefutable evidence that the electoral votes that electors cast in critical battleground states are invalid because they are based on rampant voter suppression, stolen and uncounted votes and other acts against black and brown people both during early voting and on election day,” their letter continued. “Time and time again you have gone to ordinary black people to ask for their votes, and they have delivered despite acts of criminalization, dehumanization, and voter intimidation. On top of this they have faced public slander by Republicans who have labeled them immoral citizens and voters who commit voter fraud and who must be tracked by the ‘moral majority’ through measures such as [intentionally restrictive] voter ID requirements and Crosschecking [a computerized program used by states to purge otherwise eligible voters]."</p><p>So far, there have been lukewarm responses from black leaders to file the challenge and lecture their peers about voting rights, said Ruby Sales, a civil rights crusader who is leading Sisters in Struggle.</p><p>“What we have are primitive promises, and they are predicated that we will do it if someone else steps up,” Sales said. “There was some indication that [Minnesota] Congressman Keith Ellison [a candidate for Democratic National Committee chair] would object, whether by writing the complaint or speaking when they return to to the chambers. Stanford Bishop, from home district in Columbus, Georgia indicated he would be interested. Their praise is always predicated on the actions of someone else. There’s a timidity to step out. There’s a lack of courage.”</p><p>The coalition has also been in touch with New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker’s office, Sales said, saying they were first reaching out to Black Caucus members. “If we can break through the monolith of silence, we can have a movement.”</p><p><strong>Historic Necessity</strong></p><p>A detailed and factual case can be presented showing a spectrum of intended slights and injuries against voters of color in the final three states—Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania—that gave Trump his tainted Electoral College majority, the activists said, as well as in other states where Republicans targeted voters of color, such as Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina. Some of these details were seen in the recent presidential recount led by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, as well as in the unfolding political coup in North Carolina, where the outgoing GOP governor and GOP-majority legislature have sought to gut the incoming Democrat’s power and control of state election boards.<br /><br />However, above these barriers and tactics was a bigger and longer view that needs to be conveyed, Sales said. She was referring to the way the Republican Party has been systematically resurrecting a racist states’ rights tradition that began soon after the American Civil War and is poised to assert itself across the federal government under Trump and congressional Republicans.<br /><br />“Coming out of the South and having lived under the weight of states’ rights, we know that for many years there has been activity on the part of right-wing Republicans to supplant federal rights with state rights,” Sales said. “That goes back to the old model that was always in the South and was at the heart of segregation. That is the crisis we face today, the reinstitution of state rights that are predicted on white supremacy… the federal government has not fought the resurrection of states' rights in the country.”<br /><br />The Electoral College challenge would force the Republican Party and the nation to acknowledge that the United States is not a post-racial society, contrary to claims by many in the GOP, she said, and to admit that racism is alive and can be seen in every step of American elections.<br /><br />“When people say move on, they are asking us to lie down and submit to policies and actions that eradicate the meaning of our lives and our place in American democracy,” Sales said. “They are asking us to submit to the forces of oppression. They are asking us to surrender our rights of dissent. This is beyond black and brown people. Ultimately, it is a question of will we have a democracy or will we not?”<br /><br /><strong>Victory by Racist Means</strong></p><p>The process for filing an Electoral College challenge requires one House member to file the compliant, and one additional House member and a senator to sign onto it—triggering the ensuing two-hour debate that would become a focus for focusing on the many ways Republicans created barriers to voting by people of color.<br /><br />“The GOP kicked more than a million people off voter registration lists with Crosscheck. They closed 868 polling places in African-American and Latino districts across the South for this election,” said Ann Massaro, a co-founder of Women and Allies. “[Trump] won a number of states by very narrow margins, less than 1 percent, so small factors would have been enough to change the result.”<br /><br />Massaro gave many high-profile examples showing how GOP-sponsored racist election laws affected larger numbers of voters than Trump’s margin in key states. For example, he won Wisconsin by 22,000 votes, but a federal judge said in a ruling that 300,000 state residents lack the required ID under the state’s tougher voter ID law.  <br /><br />“According to one post-election study, these were the percentages of people who wanted to vote but were unable to vote by ethnicity,” Massaro said. “Forty-seven percent Hispanic-Americans, 42 percent black Americans, and 29 percent white Americans. Hispanic and black Americans were twice as likely to have voted by provisional ballots than whites, which means these were ballots that may not have been counted at all.”<br /><br />“The other really important thing is this whole Crosschecking feeds the complete criminalization of black and brown people,” she said. “It plays into calling them liars and calling them cheats. We’re saying millions of black and brown votes were erased from their 2016 election and we break it down state by state.”<br /><br />The activists’ letter to the Black Caucus listed the tactics and their impacts. Here are the salient facts from the letter:</p><ul><li><em>In Michigan, Trump supposedly won by 10,700 votes, yet 75,355 ballots were never counted—either marked unreadable, blank or rejected. Almost all these so-called "spoiled" ballots were cast in Detroit and Flint, communities of color. A hand count was revealing the obvious: in these uncounted ballots were the votes that defeated Mr. Trump. A partisan state court of appeals stopped the hand counting of paper ballots after a federal judge ordered it to be started. The votes of the Michigan electors must be rejected.</em></li><li><em>Similarly, in Wisconsin, the massive non-count of ballots in Milwaukee doubtless contain the tally that defeated Mr. Trump—but once again, a human hand-count of the ballots was denied. The electors’ vote for Trump must be rejected.</em></li><li><em>In Pennsylvania, in a close and suspect race, the hand-count of paper ballots and review of the machine codes was stymied.  Again, the missing tally came from communities of color. The choice of Pennsylvania electors must be challenged.</em></li><li><em>The U.S. Civil Rights Commission and Harvard Law School investigations have found that the chance a black voter’s ballot will be "spoiled" and not counted is 900% higher compared to a white one. And the terrible secret of American democracy is that millions of votes are cast and not counted in a typical national election.</em></li><li><em>The Supreme Court ruling in</em>Shelby County v. Holder<em>in 2013 eradicated the need for certain states and local governments to obtain federal approval before implementing any changes to their voting laws or practices.  Consequently, this ruling ushered in discriminatory assaults such as voter ID laws and other requirements that further disallowed black and brown people the right to vote.</em></li><li><em>Leading up to the 2016 election, Republicans closed 868 polling places primarily in areas where people of color reside and in states with a long history of voter discrimination such as North Carolina.</em></li><li><em>In Alabama, the state passed a law in 2011 requiring government-issued IDs in order to vote. It later announced that it was closing 31 driver licensing bureaus throughout the state. Consequently, the state made it difficult for black voters in 29 Black Belt and Democratic counties to obtain state-issued IDs in order to vote.</em></li><li><em>The New York Times reported last year that white election officials went door to door in Sparta, Georgia, systematically racially profiling, intimidating and terrorizing more than 180 mainly African-American voters by questioning the accuracy of their addresses. Sheriff deputies served them with "courtesy" summons which required them to appear in person to prove their residency.  </em></li><li><em>In North Carolina, under the guise of voter fraud, despite a lack of evidence, lawmakers moved to slash the number of early voting hours in heavy Democratic and black populated communities, such as Mecklenburg County, in an attempt to stifle voter turnout and to make it difficult to vote.  </em></li></ul><p>The activists’ letter to the Black Caucus said these points are only the tip of the iceberg of racist voter suppression and vote-nullifying tactics, which all adds up to an illegitimate presidency for Donald Trump.<br /><br />“Mr. Trump’s narrow lead of just over one percent of the vote raises the legitimate question of who would have won had not these acts of disenfranchisement taken place,” they said. “We have listened to some of you who have cautioned us that to interfere with the seating of Donald Trump will set loose civil unrest among his supporters. Whether you realize it or not, there is another powder keg that is percolating in black, brown and progressive communities who voted in large numbers for Secretary Clinton only to have their votes stolen and disregarded, not only by Republicans but seemingly by Democrats. The questions are before you: who will enter an objection and sign it?"</p><p>(Editor's Note: This report has been updated with new information.)</p><p><em>(<a href="https://campaigns.organizefor.org/petitions/verify-one-person-one-vote-congress-must-stop-the-invalid-2016-electoral-college-results">Sign</a> the activists' petition to Vice President Joe Biden, members of Congress, the Congressional Black Caucus, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer to challenge the 2016 Electoral College results.)</em></p><p> </p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2017 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1069919'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1069919" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 03 Jan 2017 17:01:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1069919 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 2016 Electoral College challange Sisters in Struggle Ruby Sales Women and Allies Ann Massaro Rules for Revolutionaries: How Big Organizing Can Change Everything http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/activism/rules-revolutionaries-how-big-organizing-can-change-everything <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1069378'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1069378" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Frontline lessons from the Bernie Sanders campaign.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-12-21_at_2.47.45_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p><em>Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign didn’t just defy conventional wisdom by mobilizing millions of Americans. Its organizers and activists rewrote the political playbook by situating the campaign as part of a massive, grassroots, volunteer-driven movement for social, racial and economic justice and real change. </em><em>Becky Bond and Zack Exley were at the heart of the campaign’s extensive volunteer effort. They and legions of young and older supporters used a mix of digital tools to communicate, organize, inspire, track and turn out voters. They tell the story and the lessons of what worked, what didn’t and why, in their new book, <a href="http://www.chelseagreen.com/rules-for-revolutionaries">Rules for Revolutionaries: How Big Organizing Can Change Everything</a>. </em><em>Bond and Exley spoke with AlterNet’s Don Hazen, Steven Rosenfeld and Ivy Olesen.</em></p><p><strong>Don Hazen: Tell us how the book came about and what you really mean by revolution.</strong></p><p>Becky Bond: We wrote this book over the course of five weeks in August and September. We felt it was really important to capture the lessons of how the big organizing that we were doing on the Bernie Sanders campaign could be used by social justice activists. We knew they would have too few resources and a huge job no matter who was going to be the president. We thought it was more likely that it would be Clinton at that point than Trump.</p><p>We felt these were things that needed to be in the hands of activists. These were lessons we learned. These are an in-progress set of rules. We felt it was really important to set up a new marker for what organizing could do based on what we had learned on the Bernie campaign. We did this really, really quickly because we thought after the election and before the inauguration would be an important time for organizing. It was awkward to write a book before the outcome of the election was known. Most people were shocked at the election of Donald Trump, but it's something we always saw was possible, even if we didn't expect it.</p><p><strong>Don Hazen: Even though you thought it was possible, you're still shocked?</strong></p><p>Becky Bond: Yes, it's stunning, we're stunned. Zack, maybe you can expand on that or talk about this question of what we mean by revolution, and why we even thought about it in terms of rules for revolutionaries and how that falls now.</p><p><strong>What’s a Revolution?</strong></p><p>Zack Exley: I think what Bernie meant by political revolution was just electing a whole bunch of people who actually represent the people, and who will carry out the sweeping changes that are needed to get Americans back to working, with good jobs and for some communities to stop being terrorized by their own government.</p><p>Becky and I have always believed in that. When Bernie announced and said, We need a political revolution, and thousands of people started mobilizing right away and he started raising millions of dollars right away, I was so thrilled because of the good use of the word <em>revolution</em>. I had always thrown that word around and a lot of progressives had always chided me and said, Stop using that word, people are thinking about Stalin and Lenin when you say that.</p><p>It's interesting how Bernie got away with that. Another thing, Republicans have been winning their kind of revolution for a long time now. They control 30 state legislatures and have 33 governors. They have their majority in Congress. They've been winning their revolution, and I don't know, as horrible as it is to think about what Trump's going to do, it's also pretty unpleasant to think about what it would have been like to have Clinton in the White House, with virtually no power and yet getting all the blame. It would have been such fuel for a Republican revolution to continue because they would have been able to claim, that "if only we had the White House and more power in the Senate and a bigger majority then we'd be able to get something done." I don't know if that’s a very good point to make.</p><p><strong>Steven Rosenfeld: It is and here’s why. You both write about how Bernie’s campaign attracted a lot of people who wanted to do something meaningful. But then it became hard to channel that energy. You wrote about how technology played a key role.</strong></p><p>BB: One of the amazing things about working on the presidential primary was things were possible that haven't been possible in previous cycles, in part because of the technology. That’s the state of consumer technology, but also how bad things are for the American people.</p><p>We actually saw consumer technology that wasn't available before like Slack and Google Apps and Trello, which allowed supporters to work together. They weren't just connected to us. They were connected to each other. They weren't connected to each other inside this proprietary software that the campaign controlled, they were connected to each other in free Slack teams, some of which were run by the campaign, some of which they set up in their own cities and Facebook groups. They had all their tools and scripts and documents in Google Apps which they had access to download and use and copy and put to other things. We couldn't stop them from pursuing things.</p><p><strong>DH: That sounds revolutionary.</strong></p><p>BB: We couldn't stop them even if we wanted to. That's the beauty of it. They're connected to each other and that's why they're continuing to work together. <a href="https://www.facebook.com/bernlennials/?fref=ts">Millennials for Revolution</a> is a really good example of that, which was it came out of Millennials for Bernie Sanders. It started as a Facebook group associated with <a href="http://www.peopleforbernie.com">People for Bernie Sanders</a> and it became this big very active social media group that also pushed people to take action in real life.</p><p>After the campaign they renamed themselves Millennials for Revolution. Now they're <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1988091224751297/">planning</a> hundreds of <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/245214959206177/">millennial marches</a> in connection with the inauguration. There's no relationship to the campaign, campaign staff, to Bernie Sanders' senate office or anything like that. They were organized for Bernie, now they're continuing to organize for their causes that they care about and they can continue to do that.</p><p><strong>Millennials</strong></p><p><strong>DH: While you're mentioning millennials, there's a map we’ve seen that indicates if only millennials had voted, Hillary would have won 48 of the 50 states or something like that.</strong></p><p>BB: Millennials did come out and vote. Millennials did come out and they voted overwhelmingly for Clinton as <a href="https://www.surveymonkey.com/elections/map/2016/us?poll=sm-exit-millennials-cps">that map</a> showed. The problem wasn't the millennial vote, the problem was....</p><p><strong>DH: Were there enough of them compared to Obama's vote?</strong></p><p>BB: It's almost like putting it on any one group, you guys have to show up 100% or else we're going to blame it on you, right? You know what I mean? People say the same thing about the African-American vote. They say the same thing about the Latino vote. The voter turnout was suppressed across all demographics for Clinton. In fact, voter turnout was suppressed in some ways for Trump</p><p>I think there was an issue with the fact that the Clinton campaign did not have a robust millennial turnout program nor a campus program that registered at all and they left that essentially to third parties. For example, <a href="https://nextgenclimate.org">NextGen Climate</a> and Tom Steyer's operation registered 80,000 students, 80,000 millennials in Pennsylvania alone. They collected 100,000 commit-to-vote pieces of paper on campuses in Pennsylvania.</p><p>The Clinton campaign relegated that to third parties. We don't know what would have happened if there had been a more rigorous effort. She wasn't talking about the issues that young people cared about, and yet to expect them to overperform relative to other voting demographics...There's this weird blaming of millennials that I don't really understand in this election. I think some of it comes out of the media crossfire of the Democratic primary where they became this narrative that millennials were naive and that they were takers. They just wanted free stuff and they didn't understand what the candidates were talking about. Even [Clinton campaign manager] Robby Mook said at the Kennedy School debrief a few weeks ago that sort of thing; blaming it on young people who didn't get it.</p><p>In reality, the under-26 millennials I found on the campaign were an incredibly practical, incredibly hard-working demographic. These are young people that came of age during the financial crisis 2007, 2008. Many of them had been from downwardly middle-class homes. Instead of being tracked to a four-year college they're being tracked to community college or having to take time off and work instead of going to college at all.</p><p>Zack Exley: There was a CNN panel interviewing these 20 millennials and the host’s assumption was they were spoiled brats who don't care about politics. The number one thing that kept coming up was, "How am I going to take care of my parents when I'm older because they've lost their incomes and they're having trouble staying in their house. I'm afraid I'm not even going to be able to make as much money as they made." Then the commentator was like, "Oh man, I never thought about how I was going to take care of my parents. When did that become a thing again?" There were mostly white middle-class students.</p><p>Becky Bond: The younger millennials who volunteered for Bernie, and then many of whom also continued on to work to try and defeat Trump, they're incredibly diverse. They're digitally native but they're really hard working. They really got out of social media and into the streets and into the real world. They really got into voter contact, the knocking on doors, making phone calls. There is a radical practicality of this generation. When people say that they're naive or they don't know and then they're described as takers, they're missing the point. Young people get that they are inheriting a climate crisis. They understand that we can't solve income and equality until we address structural racism. They understand that the immigration reform on the table is far short of what we need, even in the Democrats’ plans.</p><p>They're described as idealistic, but they're practical because they understand the only way they're going to deal with these urgent crises is with solutions that are as radical as the problems that we face. It's very important to keep them in politics and move them into leadership because otherwise clearly with the leadership we have—I mean there's a crisis of competency in the Democratic Party and in the progressive movement. We need to switch out a lot of people who are running our institutions. I think we need to switch them out with some of these people who are under 26.</p><p><strong>The Sanders Campaign</strong></p><p><strong>Steve Rosenfeld: The book talks about how to bring people into positions of responsibility despite the resistance from headquarters. These are people who don't have titles, but end up making things happen.</strong></p><p>ZE: In some ways it was a very traditional campaign and that's true. In some parts of the campaign that was good because the traditional model, at least traditional as of the Obama campaign, is really the way to go. For example, our advance team was amazing and the leader of the team was from the Obama advance team. They did such an amazing job running those huge rallies. Also in Iowa and New Hampshire, it was a great field operation run by two amazing field leaders. </p><p>Our part of the campaign was on the fringe. It was called the Distributed Organizing Team, although sometimes our bosses would mispronounce it as the Distributive Team, like that math property. That gives you an idea of just how central either we were seen as being or not.</p><p>We were doing this experimental thing on the fringe of the campaign. In the beginning we had 46 states in which we were doing this experiment. It was all the later primary states where there was no staff on the ground. Some of those states became staffed later on. But because we were off on the side doing our own thing, we really were free to bring in all those new people—thousands and thousands of volunteers into a really new way of organizing.</p><p>That was our mission from the very beginning. We knew what we were doing. I have worked on presidential campaigns in the past and Becky had done some amazing pioneering work with Credo Super PAC where they mobilized a great many volunteers for national campaigns. We had this kind of fully formed idea of what we wanted to do. We didn't really have many resources to build a team in the beginning or in the end, but that was okay because the whole point of what we were trying to do was to mobilize volunteers.</p><p>Only a volunteer-powered movement can scale to 46 states. A mostly volunteer campaign is not how to win Iowa. Of course there's going to be a lot of volunteers participating, but the core of your operation in Iowa, in a relatively small state, is going to be paid staff. When you're looking at trying to build something that's actually going to accomplish something fast across 46 states including, states like New York and California and Texas, it has to be volunteer-led and has to be a volunteered-powered operation.</p><p><strong>Volunteers Will Make the Revolution</strong></p><p><strong>SR: A traditional campaign has a staff, but a movement has volunteers…</strong></p><p>Becky Bond: Another way to think about it is the challenges that we face are so big right now that we just can't take the staff that we have in the progressive movement and actually run something that will be large enough to overcome the huge obstacles that are in our way, now that we have Trump and a cabinet filled with all these billionaires and generals. We could be on the verge of martial law, right? I even can't underestimate how bad things are.</p><p>We had this presidential candidate who had this amazing message that people responded to and who was an authentic messenger that people really could trust. We had 3% name recognition in the beginning and how is he going to win the Democratic primary for the presidency against Hillary Clinton, who had every single donor, every single endorsement, had locked up all of the top staff?</p><p>The only way that we thought Bernie was going to have a chance was getting so many people involved that the campaign was driven by volunteers. I think we're really facing a similar situation now with the president-elect Trump and with the people he's putting in charge of huge parts of the government. It's going to take a huge number of people, not just the people who already are involved doing it smarter and having a better strategy or being more coordinated. We need way more people. How does that happen? One idea is to actually let all the people who are just waiting to be asked to do something big, to let them take on responsibility that's in scale to their skill and desire to be involved.</p><p>One of things we learned too on the campaign was people are so talented and committed that if you actually give them control and there's a strategy that makes sense to them, it will get us from the world where we are to the world where we want to be. They'll take on any number of tasks. We went from people writing music and software and holding bake sales and doing honk-and-waves, all this creative energy for Bernie's campaign and we told them, "How you're going to help us win is by getting involved in voter contact in the key states at scale." Most of them switched to working together on the plan. I think part of it there needs to be plans that are big in scope, that people can participate in it to scale.</p><p><strong>DH: How do you translate the energy and talent of Bernie’s campaign to what’s needed now?</strong></p><p>BB: Zack, do you want to talk about Brand New Congress? That's one thing.</p><p><strong>Brand New Congress</strong></p><p>Zack Exley: The <a href="https://brandnewcongress.org/home">Brand New Congress</a> is a campaign that I'm working on with a bunch of volunteers that came out of Bernie and some other places. It's trying to follow through on the idea of revolution we talked about earlier. The goal is swapping the people who are in government out with people who actually represent the people. We really believe people want to work on something big. They want to put their time into something big and worthwhile that will actually fix everything.</p><p>The target of Brand New Congress is to run 400 candidates in a block and with one campaign organization behind one plan to fix America and rebuild the economy, reform the criminal justice system, and a whole bunch of other stuff. It's an audacious idea, but what we found in the Bernie campaign is we just ran into so many volunteers who are already thinking about this. They were saying, Well, when Bernie gets elected, he's not going to be able to get anything done with this Congress, and there's all those state legislatures out there redistricting and making it harder and harder, so we just need to keep going and take over everything. We said okay, and again, so many professional progressives have just not been willing to think on any kind of scale like that because we've been getting beaten.</p><p>But so many Bernie volunteers, so many people who became world-class leaders in the Bernie campaign in their cities and doing all kinds of stuff, they're ready for something this big. That's why we're going for this.</p><p><strong>DH: Let me pivot here. Zack, in your <a href="http://inthesetimes.com/features/left_organizing_donald_trump_zack_exley.html">In These Times piece</a>, you raised the question, ‘Why hasn’t the progressive movements’ leadership brought about the radical shakeup that the country needs?’ You argue there should be an overthrow of the non-profit foundation-industrial complex. One of your principles is the revolution will not be foundation-funded. How does this take place?</strong></p><p>ZE: We don't think that just because you take money from a foundation that you're tainted and bad and incompetent. Revolutionaries used to rob banks…</p><p><strong>DH: They had no obligation to the bank if they robbed it, correct?</strong></p><p>ZE: Well, not necessarily. If you believe in what you're doing and are going to stand by your principles, you can take money from a foundation, as long as you're prepared, and as long as you set up your structure so that you're not creating massive dependencies. Also, there are a lot of great radicals in foundations. If you feel like you can do your work and take some money from foundations, fine.</p><p>To your example, you didn't owe anything to the bank, but you had to run for your life and stay undercover after you robbed a bank. You're left with a lot more room to maneuver and operate if you just take a foundation grant. We're not purists on this, but I don't think that we need to overthrow the progressive establishment.</p><p>BB: There are a couple of points. One is to say basically what that we're doing now is not good enough. Obviously we need way more organizing. That's not happening with the structure we have, which has become over the decades more and more foundation dependent and more professionalized. Right? It's not saying that all that needs to shut down, but it's just saying that we need other things happening.</p><p>That’s something that we've learned from the Bernie campaign, and can be seen in efforts like the anti-fracking movement. When you align incentives and the base is actually paying for the efforts, what the organizers spend their time on and what they tend to maximize is participation. Right? As opposed to having to spend their time chasing down the big money, which may or may not be like, "I'll only fund efforts in this state," or "I can only fund you to work for regulations on fracking, but not a ban." That sort of thing becomes a barrier to all of your energy, and all the energy of your members and to work that moves the cause forward.</p><p>If you have a big vision but can't build a base of people who are willing to support it, you won’t have a mass participation movement behind that vision. You’ll need to pursue that idea in a different way, or drop it and follow someone else who is getting more traction. The Bernie campaign was able to go up against the establishment and go up against the conventional political wisdom because we were small-dollar funded. Too many people wait to get started until they can raise the foundation money, or set up the organization or pursue ideas that go beyond their usefulness because they have this funding, and they don't have to be responsive to more people. We need more member-driven, small-dollar funded, movement-oriented organization. We've got a robust institutional sector, but we don't have the same kind of structure that supports mass participation. Some of that has to do with where the money comes from.</p><p><strong>Race Matters</strong></p><p><strong>DH</strong>: <strong>While we're on a controversial area, can we talk about race? One of the things I found striking and positive about the book was your core principle that race has to be part of all the decision-making processes. Clearly, race was a problem for Bernie for reasons that were mostly not his fault, but he had to learn along the way how to deal with groups like Black Lives Matter.</strong></p><p><strong>After the election, there is still some controversy as he's talking about what is political correctness. He's trying to communicate to white voters, in some ways maybe validating their feelings, even though they may be displaced. How do you experience all of this?</strong></p><p>BB: To be really clear, we're not speaking for or as part of Bernie’s team, but as part of the movement. Bernie wasn't the movement. Bernie was in this movement. We are in the movement. Clearly over the course of the campaign, the campaign got better and better at including more people and at reaching more people with a motivating message and at prioritizing so that everybody could bring their full selves to the movement. What we were working on was going to help everybody.</p><p>In the beginning, we were getting younger voters of color, but the campaign struggled in the early states to reach older, specifically African-American voters, but also older voters in general, and include them in the conversation. We had to basically get people to know who Bernie was and then understand what his message was and persuade them to bring them into the campaign. That was a big task. By the end of the campaign, those numbers were going up. If we had started earlier or had more time, then we could have continued to improve on that.</p><p>After the campaign was over, one of the things that Zack and I did was we looked at what black leaders and intellectuals said about the campaign, many of who personally supported Bernie, but who had a critique of the campaign. That specific critique is less important than what some of these really thoughtful black leaders and intellectuals had to say about race, which was if a campaign is going to be successful and include everybody, then fighting racism has to be part of the core message to everybody, not just added on for a specific constituency. If we're truly going to be in this together, and it is going to take all of us, because we have to have a majority to win. It's not a question of adding up all the little constituency subsets until we get to 50 plus one.</p><p>We actually have to work together and be in this together to win, and then we're going to have to win majorities, not just to win the White House, but to win back Congress and win back statehouses. Everybody has to be not just included, but everyone has to be part of this movement that we're in together.</p><p>Heather McGhee and Ian Haney Lopez wrote <a href="https://www.thenation.com/article/how-populists-like-bernie-sanders-should-talk-about-racism/">this article</a> while the campaign was still going on in The Nation, pulling a lot on Ian Haney Lopez's book <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Dog-Whistle-Politics-Appeals-Reinvented/dp/019022925X"><em>Dog Whistle Politics</em></a>, where it talks about how the billionaire class has used race to divide working people. This has been going on for decades. This has to be part of the analysis. This isn't something that happens in some back room in some campaign office. It has to be shared with everybody because everyone is going to have to understand where we are, what the plan is to get to where we need to be, and then what their work is to be part of that. It's not honing down on the two messages to be said on TV to fool people into being with us.</p><p>Also, you can't have fighting racism as part of the core message to everyone if you don't have a diverse leadership. That's been something that the progressive movement has just largely failed to do, with some exceptions. Not just a token representation, but working-class people of color and immigrants in the inner circle, part of making decisions, as campaigns get built. While we had a lot of amazing surrogates on the campaign, people like Nina Turner, people like Keith Ellison. People like Rosario Dawson. Dozens, really too many to name.</p><p>We had some of the most amazing Dreamers on the campaign, too, that really made a difference in terms of how we were able to gain a larger and larger share of the Latino vote week by week. But this has to be part of how campaigns are built. It’s multiracial working-class representation in leadership and putting racism as part of the core message to everybody, not just something that is only given to one constituency. And white people have to take responsibility for persuading and educating white voters to share in this analysis, so we can all work together because there is just no other way to win what we need to win.</p><p>There is no other way forward. I'm very grateful to people who laid this out very clearly and with confidence but also with love. I also am really hopeful about the younger generation of volunteers. They get this. So I'm very hopeful about the ability for campaigns to look more like this in the future and for us to learn from where we fell short because I think it's important to admit that we fell short, even though we improved throughout the campaign. </p><p><strong>Bernie Bros</strong></p><p><strong>Ivy Olesen</strong>: <strong>There was a gender dimension too. You wrote about people projecting on you, and the feminine erasure of being called a 'Bernie bro' and what that means.</strong></p><p>BB: I do want to say that the campaign that happened in person was really different from the campaign as it was portrayed on social media and in the media. I'll give you one example. I was talking to Moumita Ahmed, who was one of the leaders of Millennials for Bernie Sanders, who's from Queens. She's Muslim, she's a working-class democratic socialist. We were talking about a news report that came out from Massachusetts, where Clinton was talking about young people, and said you can't blame them for voting for Bernie and not understanding that the Clinton campaign was fighting for things that were big in the context of what was possible. One of the things that Hillary said was they were living in their parents' basements, and they have to work as baristas. My interpretation of that was that Clinton was trying to understand why young people supported Bernie, and they were going to vote for her, but they were not putting the same kind of work into her campaign.</p><p>But Moumita said to me, "No, I find it really upsetting she said that, because time after time after time, I've found myself and other young women of color who have been leading so many of the efforts on the ground, first for Bernie Sanders and then for the Democratic platform, we feel so erased. You know who lives in the basement of their parents' homes? It's white guys. Guys live in the basement. Girls don't live in the basement." This is someone who is one of the leaders of the youth movement for Bernie. So many of the nationally recognized leaders were actually young women of color. In place after place I saw, the volunteers on the ground tended to be much more diverse, in terms of ethnicity and in terms of class, than the voting base and how the media portrayed it.</p><p><strong>IO</strong>: <strong>Didn’t that happen to you? You’re a woman was attacked as a Bernie bro?</strong></p><p>Becky Bond: I just wanted to set some context, which is that there was this media narrative of aggressive white Bernie bros and that was reinforced by the Clinton supporters on social media. These were fights about people that were actually not the same ones doing the organizing in their communities because this was an existential fight for them. In fact, our best volunteers leading efforts on the ground and managing other volunteers were almost always working-class women of color. I think there's just a misconception of the Bernie movement in that. The media really did not represent very well that which was a huge part of our daily experience on the campaign, especially when it came to volunteers.</p><p>This is the same idea that people don't want to do something small to win something small, but they're willing to do something big to win something big. This idea of revolution, it really appealed to them, that actually if enough of us got together, we could actually change who was in government, and then actually get some things done. This idea of changing everything and it being a political revolution because we're going to do it by voting in a peaceful way was really important.</p><p>I saw Clinton surrogates say they came from countries where having revolution is a negative thing. But people are smart. They understood what we meant by a political revolution. They were engaged in the biggest voter contact machine ever built in a presidential primary because they saw that this was the way they were going to change things, even though it was unlikely, even though it was the longest of long shots. But it was the thing that was worth pursuing, given how urgent and how huge our problems are as a country, and how few politicians in power actually seem to recognize and connect to how bad things are and how big the changes are that we really need.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1069378'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1069378" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Mon, 26 Dec 2016 14:03:00 -0800 Don Hazen, Steven Rosenfeld, Ivy Olesen, AlterNet 1069378 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Activism Activism Books Election 2016 Rules for Revolutionaries Becky Bond Zack Exley 6 Compelling Executive Actions Obama Has Taken That Are Targeted by Trump http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/election-2016/6-compelling-executive-actions-obama-has-taken-are-targeted-trump <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1069395'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1069395" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Immigration, women&#039;s rights, climate change, labor, gun control, nuclear treaties all imperiled.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-12-23_at_4.42.00_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>For years, progressives have wrung their hands over President Obama’s reluctance to more aggressively use executive authority to overcome congressional gridlock—even as Republicans sued and blocked his actions on immigration and climate change. But as the incoming Trump administration threatens to reverse nearly everything Obama has done, it’s worth recalling his priorities.<br /><br />President Obama, notably, is not going quietly into the night. Even as Trump called this week for vetoing a U.N. resolution condemning Israeli settlements, the White House abstained on that vote on Friday—implicitly criticizing Israel. A day earlier, the Obama administration announced it was dismantling a federal registry of Muslims visiting from “high-risk” countries that was created after the 9/11 attacks; a registry Trump would have to reinstate. Days before that, the White House banned new oil and gas drilling in the Arctic and mid-Atlantic, citing a 1953 law the administration said could not be <a href="http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/dec/20/obama-moves-to-block-trump-bans-offshore-drilling-/">undone</a> by Trump.<br /><br />What follows are a half-dozen focal points for Obama’s executive actions.<br /><br /><strong>1. Immigration</strong>. Obama’s 2014 actions suspended the deportation of young people and their parents who came to the country illegally. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program kept young people in public schools, protected recent college graduates or those who served in the military and were honorably discharged. Obama’s DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Arrivals) program shielded the undocumented parents of citizens and others with legal status. After Obama’s first term, when deportations hit a record high, these executive orders protected an estimated 4 million people. However, red-state Republicans, led by Texas, sued, and in June the U.S. Supreme Court issued a split 4-4 <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/23/politics/immigration-supreme-court/">decision</a>, leaving the programs blocked following a lower court ruling by a right-wing judge.<br /><br /><strong>2. Reproductive Rights</strong>. Obama has stood up for reproductive rights and gender equality throughout his presidency. Soon after taking office, he <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/removing-barriers-responsible-scientific-research-involving-human-stem-cells">reversed</a> a George W. Bush administration ban on stem cell research that resulted from religious conservatives who opposed fetal cell science. The Affordable Care Act <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/executive-order-patient-protection-and-affordable-care-acts-consistency-with-longst">required</a> employers to offer contraception in their health plans, which was challenged in court by employers seeking a religious exemption. After the Supreme Court sided with them, the administration issued a rule <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-issues-new-law-guaranteeing-free-coverage-of-birth-control-for-women-2015-7">ensuring</a> women could get birth control for free by requiring health insurers to cover it. Obama also <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/08/10/executive-order-preventing-and-responding-violence-against-women-and-gir">ordered</a> federal agencies to make gender equality and women's empowerment a core foreign policy focus.<br /><br /><strong>3. Carbon and Climate Change</strong>. Obama has used a mix of executive orders to push the development of non-carbon energy sources and federal regulations to force high-carbon power plants to clean up emissions or close down. On the executive order <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/executive-orders?term_node_tid_depth=51&amp;page=1">front</a>, he has issued several orders giving new authority to Native tribes in Alaska and elsewhere to <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/12/09/executive-order-northern-bering-sea-climate-resilience">support</a> biodiversity and <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/01/21/executive-order-enhancing-coordination-national-efforts-arctic">control</a> energy development on tribal lands and offshore. He has also ordered the federal government to <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/03/19/executive-order-planning-federal-sustainability-next-decade">reduce</a> greenhouse gas emissions, <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/09/23/executive-order-climate-resilient-international-development">factor in</a> climate change in domestic and foreign policies, and <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/08/30/executive-order-accelerating-investment-industrial-energy-efficiency">adopt</a> more energy-efficient technologies. Earlier this year, however, proposed rules forcing power plants to cut carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 30 percent by 2030 were <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/09/politics/supreme-court-obama-epa-climate-change/">rejected</a> by the Supreme Court after 29 red states and the energy industry sued. Like the court’s immigration ruling, this was a major blow to Obama’s policies.<br /> <br /><strong>4. Raising Labor Standards</strong>. Obama did many things to improve pay and working conditions for federal contractors. He was unable to get Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, but <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/02/12/executive-order-minimum-wage-contractors">raised</a> the minimum wage for federal contract workers to that level. He <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/09/08/executive-order-establishing-paid-sick-leave-federal-contractors">instituted</a> paid sick leave for federal contractors and <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/07/31/executive-order-fair-pay-and-safe-workplaces">required</a> federal contractors comply with all federal labor laws, including <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/04/08/executive-order-non-retaliation-disclosure-compensation-information">forbidding</a> those firms barring employees from sharing salary and benefit information. Obama also issued numerous orders to resolve labor disputes between union and passenger railways in the northeast.<br /><br /><strong>5. Expanding Gun Controls</strong>. Despite congressional refusal to adopt any substantive gun control laws after a series of mass shootings at schools, theaters and other settings, Obama <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/01/04/fact-sheet-new-executive-actions-reduce-gun-violence-and-make-our">announced</a> nearly two-dozen actions to combat gun violence. Those include expanding background checks, making information about mental illness available in the background check system, expanding research into the causes of gun violence and telling U.S. attorneys to expand efforts dealing with domestic violence. Obama has called Congress’s inaction on gun control the biggest disappointment of his presidency.<br /><br /><strong>6. Reducing Threat of Nuclear Arms</strong>. Astoundingly, Donald Trump this week tweeted that the U.S. needs to increase its nuclear arsenal, a threat by which he would resume the Cold War arms race with Russia and China. President Obama has taken the long view with nuclear arms reduction, such as a 2012 <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/06/25/executive-order-russian-highly-enriched-uranium">agreement</a> to convert 500 metric tons of highly enriched uranium in Russian nuclear weapons into low-grade fuel for commercial nuclear reactors. More recently, Obama's <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/01/16/executive-order-revocation-of-executive-orders-with-respect-to-Iran">deal</a> with Iran has sidelined that regional power from developing nuclear weapons, even though Republicans have voted to reverse the deal.  <br /><br /><strong>More a Moderate Than an Activist</strong></p><p>Despite Republican hyperbole, President Obama <a href="http://http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/04/11/obama-executive-orders-peace-corps/82835834/">has not</a> had the most executive orders of any recent president. Most of his executive actions were focused on streamlining federal bureaucracy, management of federal agencies and sanctioning countries with repressive regimes.<br /><br />In some cases, Obama ordered the government to better reflect favorable Supreme Court rulings, such as instituting policies benefiting same-sex marriages by extending the Family Leave Medical Act to eligible employees regardless of the state they live in and treating same-sex couples like married couples when it comes to filing taxes. Similarly, he implemented policies from presidential panels, such as <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/01/16/executive-order-federal-support-local-law-enforcement-equipment-acquisit">requiring</a> more training for local police that obtain surplus military weapons, a recommendation of his police reform commission.    <br /><br />But Obama has not used his position to grant amnesty or pardon all undocumented people in the country—which scholars like Noam Chomsky suggested he do before leaving office. Instead, he has been a moderate, choosing to protect roughly the same proportion of immigrants as Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush did when they were in office. Nonetheless, Obama’s steps will likely soon be imperiled by the incoming Trump administration and radical right-wing Republicans in Congress. </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1069395'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1069395" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Sun, 25 Dec 2016 16:28:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1069395 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 Obama executive orders Trump anf Obama executive orders Young Sanders Campaign Aides Plan Anti-Trump Permanent Protest Base in Washington http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/young-sanders-campaign-aides-plan-anti-trump-permanent-protest-base-washington <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1069257'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1069257" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The District 13 House will take creative resistance to the capital.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-12-21_at_4.16.27_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>The organizers behind Millennials for Bernie are raising money to create an anti-Trump movement headquarters in Washington DC that will be a base for sustained resistance against the next president and his administration.<br /><br />“This house is supposed to be a place for everybody, regardless of what happened in the general election, to come together and fight,” said Moumita Ahmed, whose organizing helped millennials become involved in Sanders’ campaign and is setting up the house. “We are going to be there to hold him accountable and delegitimize literally everything that he is doing and not let him succeed.”<br /><br />“Some of the things that are going to happen in this house are workshops, people coming in and talking about big organizing,” she continued. “We’re going to have parties. We’re going to have rallies that are going to be organized there. These are just basic ideas, but we know that once this house is available that people will come in and want to do more creative forms of resistance.”<br /><br />Like Sanders’ campaign, the project is seeking $27 <a href="https://www.crowdpac.com/campaigns/142523/the-district-13-house-taking-the-opposition-to-washington-dc/updates/291">donations</a> and is about halfway to its initial $30,000 goal, to set up the house before Trump's January 20 inauguration. They are calling it the District 13 House, named after the rebellious province in <em>The Hunger Games</em>, the dystopian book and movie series featuring a world run by oligarchs. <br /><br />“We’re going to be there to sustain resistance against this administration,” Ahmed said. “We feel that the Trump administration is totally illegitimate, because of the way that he ran his campaign, and how he won, and even though mainstream media will say things like, ‘Oh, he just said those things, but obviously now that he is in office we think that some of the things he said aren’t going to fly.’ While that might be true or might not be true, we don’t know yet—that does not matter. You do not run that kind of campaign, especially for some of us, who were on a campaign where Bernie specifically said, ‘Do not attack the other person.’ [Trump's] entire campaign wasn’t just attacking Hillary, but literally every single ethnic group out there.”<br /><br />“We have a long tradition of people involved in resistance movements, and setting up intentional spaces to work out of. It’s incredibly helpful and supportive on a number of levels,” said Nadine Bloch, a longtime Washington-based activist and training director for BeautifulTrouble.org. “I see my role as supporting the folks who will live there and will take on the daily actioneering, if you will. I am really excited to be in that role and be with the young folks who will be living in the house.”<br /><br /><strong>New Challenges, New Progressive Movement</strong></p><p>Organizers like Ahmed—talented young women of color—were among the unsung grassroots heroes of the Sanders campaign, say Becky Bond and Zack Exley, who headed the campaign’s digital outreach efforts and have detailed the experience in a new book, <a href="http://www.chelseagreen.com/rules-for-revolutionaries"><em>Rules for Revolutionaries</em></a>. Months before Sanders launched his campaign, Ahmed quit her day job to help establish a technology-driven team that eventually empowered volunteers to build and manage an infrastructure that made 75 million phone calls, sent 8 million text messages and held more than 100,000 public meetings, all described in the book.</p><p>"Moumita and other volunteers are demonstrating the power of big organizing," Bond said. "When the Bernie campaign shut down, that didn't mean their organizing would be shut down, too. These volunteers were connected to each other via Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms that allowed them not just to communicate but organize and raise money both in social media but also in person in real life—and soon in an actual row house on Capitol Hill."<br /><br />Ahmed, 26, grew up in New York and said she’s always been politically attuned. She first got involved in campaigns when Barack Obama ran for president in 2008, but learned how to be an organizer with Zephyr Teachout’s 2014 campaign for governor in New York state, where she was deputy field director.<br /><br />“When you’re an activist, you understand what’s happening. You have a lot to say about it. You’ll go to events and you’ll advocate for change,” Ahmed said. “But organizers are people who have this larger goal, even sometimes a smaller goal. They are the ones that are most of the times behind the scenes, and most of the time organizing protests or a campaign, building networks, and just holding the space or activists together. Organizers are like chess players.”<br /><br />Months before Sanders formally announced his bid for president, Ahmed started organizing social media presence and meet-ups for Sanders around the country. When the campaign launched, those volunteers and organizers became its state-by-state staff. Perhaps her biggest contribution, however, was creating Millennials for Bernie, because she said no other candidate was speaking in a way that reached people age 30.</p><p>“He understood that we were living in times like the ‘60s when people were rising up and talking about racial justice issues, and taking to the streets, and going on Twitter and getting their vote heard collectively. And you had two candidates, multiple candidates totally ignoring that reality, versus Bernie who understood,” Ahmed said. “I felt that if I were to start a millennial contingent that it would work. A lot of people would be on board. And it was true. Most of Bernie’s staffers were millennials. Most of his grassroots were led by millennials. I just wanted to create something so that people know millennials are active, that we’re pursuing stuff.”  </p><p>Ahmed spent a year organizing for the campaign, which culminated in being a delegate at the Democratic National Convention. After Clinton emerged with the nomination, the group Ahmed created decided not to endorse anyone, but just work in individual ways for the rest of the campaign. She said millennials are "very pragmatic” and have “very progressive values,” and the protest house she is creating in Washington will be a reflection of that ethic as it pushes back against Trump's agenda and policies. “We are going to be like the people’s White House," she said. "And we are going to be right there in front of him so we stick out like a sore thumb.”  </p><p>The group doesn't yet have a Capitol Hill residence, but they are <a href="https://www.crowdpac.com/campaigns/142523/the-district-13-house-taking-the-opposition-to-washington-dc/updates/291">fundraising</a> and looking at several locations. Meanwhile, older progressive organizers in Washington are hoping that people around the U.S. will support the District 13 House, and more importantly, see that white middle-class America now finds itself in the same vulnerable boat communities of color have been in for years.  </p><p>“I actually see something interesting because I have been involved for a long time,” Nadine Bloch said. “When people might say to us, particularly let’s say white middle-class folks, might say, Oh my god, this is the worst thing ever. You or I have to respond, Well, if you’re a black person, if you’re a trans person, if you’re a black and trans person, you have been been living with the worst thing forever. It has been this bad and it will continue to be this bad unless the people who are now awake, mostly middle-class white folks who have now awakened to how bad it is or might become, actively join the struggle to overcome these problems and to change it.”<br /><br />“Projects like this, where you have dedicated activists 24-7, providing leadership in what can actually make a difference in stopping the aggressive degrading of the rights and the privileges and the health and the safety that we hold dear…that is hopeful,” Bloch said. “We have to be willing to do the work and dig in.”</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1069257'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1069257" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 21 Dec 2016 14:49:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1069257 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 District 13 House Millennials for Sanders Moumita Ahmed Nadine Bloch Becky Bond Zack Exley Rules for Revolutuionaries BeautifulTrouble.org We Finally Reached the Closing Chapter of Our Flawed and Corrupted Electoral Process: Donald Trump's Presidency Has Been Ratified http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/we-finally-reached-closing-chapter-our-flawed-and-corrupted-electoral-process-donald-trumps <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1069100'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1069100" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The electoral process does not empower the citizenry.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-12-19_at_3.05.49_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>The arcane Electoral College met in statehouses across America and ratified Donald Trump's presidency on Monday, despite throngs of protests and last-minute attempts urging 40 or so GOP electors to seek an alternative for the country’s good.</p><p>This was the closing chapter in a presidential election filled with anti-democratic features, the most recent being the elevation to the presidency of a candidate who lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes. But that’s hardly the only breakdown in a process ordinary citizens are raised to revere and soldiers are sent overseas to defend.</p><p>A week ago, the most basic element of fair play seen in every sporting event—the replay to assess close calls; in elections, a verifiable recount—was trashed. The Green Party's Jill Stein would not have raised millions in small donations for a recount if voters were satisfied Trump had won fair and square. What ensued was not even a bad mirage, because all the ballots were not counted in verifiable ways in Wisconsin. It was even worse in Michigan, where Republicans stopped the recount though not before showcasing institutional racism, with 59 percent of Detroit’s precincts barred from recounting. Lest anyone think this is only a GOP problem, Democrat-run Pennsylvania was as obstructionist as Republican-run Michigan.<br /><br />American elections are filled with anti-democratic features from the get-go. Roll back the process to before the presidential race and you have a gridlock-filled federal government that due to partisan redistricting keeps the House red, even though Democrats routinely win the national popular vote in congressional elections. That same gerrymandering exists at the state legislative level, and continues with off-season partisan voter purges. Fast-forward and there are all the barriers to getting a ballot, which fly in the face of many states making voter registration easier—which it is, via online portals. But that doesn’t stop voter ID laws from discouraging turnout among students and people of color, or curtailing early voting, or moving longtime polling places, and so on.<br /><br />Go back to last spring’s primaries, where state parties blocked last-minute attempts for voters to participate—like New York State’s registration deadline that occurred six months before the vote. Or the party-run presidential caucuses, like in Iowa, where the raw vote results were not given out, because in all likelihood Bernie Sanders won before rural areas were awarded proportionately more delegates to the nominating process's next stage. Then there’s the voting machinery itself, computerized black boxes we are instructed to trust, even though most can’t or won’t be audited or have their vote counts verified.<br /><br />That electoral landscape has two recurring themes that transcend specific slights and injustices. The first is that the process intentionally pre-empts citizens from voting in too many ways. And second, when it comes to verifying results, it allows procedural rules to block evidence-based efforts to inform the public about what happened.<br /><br />People who want to blame the candidates might heed the bigger picture. Start with GOP-led felon disenfranchisement. If Florida’s 1.5 million residents who have felony records—many non-violent and drug-related—had their voting rights restored after their sentences, you can bet Trump would not have won Florida by 113,000 votes. If Georgia’s 250,000 ex-felons could vote, it would have been a presidential swing state. This is no accident on the part of Republicans; it is a serious, cynical and intentional decision to shape the electorate so they can retain political power.<br /><br />Democrats and progressives need to understand what they are fighting against, and it’s not clear that they do. The truism by Carl von Clausewitz, the 18th-century Prussian general and military theorist, that “war is the continuation of politics by other means,” has been turned on its head. Today, Republican electioneering and governing can all too often be seen as politics being a continuation of war by other means. Look at what the GOP did last week in North Carolina: After the incumbent Republican governor lost (while falsely accusing Democrats of cheating), the GOP-majority legislature passed new laws limiting the incoming powers of a Democratic governor-elect and reconstituted county election boards giving the GOP members a rotating chairmanship in even-numbered years, when elections are held. That is a political coup.<br /><br />There is no evidence to suggest that the incoming Trump administration will be much different from North Carolina’s GOP, exercising power for their own agenda. Democrats are not going to get the federal government they want, or the judiciary they want, or a foreign policy they want unless they realize how disadvantaged they are in a system where Republicans routinely throw the first punch and benefit from it. That means Democrats have to win by a lot, not by a little, to get to the starting line of rewriting more egalitarian rules.<br /><br />Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.85 million votes, or 2.1 percent, but that wasn’t enough. She needed 100,000 additional votes in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Barack Obama won the popular vote against Mitt Romney in 2012 by more than 5 million votes, which was 3.1 percent of the turnout. He won in 2008 against John McCain by 10 million votes or more than 6 percent. There’s no such thing as winning the presidency by 50 percent plus one, not when the process is filled with micro- and macro-aggressions disadvantaging and discouraging eligible voters.<br /><br />It’s an open question whether American institutions will withstand the coming assault from Trump’s pro-privatization, anti-regulatory, anti-safety net administration. The country has a long way to go to unravel the electoral advantages Republicans have installed at federal and state levels. The price the country will pay for America’s deeply flawed systems of elections will become apparent soon enough.    </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1069100'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1069100" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Mon, 19 Dec 2016 14:29:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1069100 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 2016 Electoral College 2016 voting rights On Russian Hacking, Obama Complains About Media and GOP, but Lets FBI off the Hook http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/russian-hacking-obama-complains-about-media-and-gop-lets-fbi-hook <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1068983'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068983" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">We still do not know the extent of Russian hacking.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-12-16_at_12.22.48_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>There’s plenty of evidence, with more to come, that Vladimir Putin directed Russian cyber-espionage to target Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, President Obama said Friday in a press conference in which he also chided the mainstream media and Republicans for obsessing over the stolen emails and their gossipy content.</p><p>But Obama would not give specifics, nor would he publicly criticize the FBI's 11th-hour intervention in the campaign that deeply damaged Clinton's momentum.  <br /><br />“What I want to make sure of is [that] I give the intelligence community the chance to gather all of the information,” Obama said, when asked about Putin and referencing the intelligence agency review he ordered to be done before he leaves office. “But I’d make a larger point, which is, not much happens in Russia without Vladimir Putin. This is a pretty hierarchical operation.”<br /><br />President Obama’s comments came amid a reflective press conference that began by summing up his presidency's achievements. But most of his remarks focused on Russian meddling, which has come under increased scrutiny in recent days. Clinton campaign chair John Podesta <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/john-podesta-something-is-deeply-broken-at-the-fbi/2016/12/15/51668ab4-c303-11e6-9a51-cd56ea1c2bb7_story.html?utm_term=.127a9afd1713">has said</a> the FBI is “deeply broken” for its double standard, which had the agency downplaying the Russian interference that helped Donald Trump while exaggerating security concerns over Clinton’s use of a private email server while Secretary of State.<br /> <br />Nonetheless, Obama defended his administration’s response, which he detailed as publicly neutral but privately stern with Russia. Obama said it was important to set that example, even if much of the media and Donald Trump do not follow his cues.<br /><br />“I wanted to make sure that everyone understood that we were playing this thing straight, that we weren’t trying to advantage one side or another,” Obama said. “What we were trying to do was let people know that this had taken place, and so if you started seeing effects on the election, if you were trying to measure why this was happening, and how you should consume the information that was being leaked, then you might want to take this into account. And that’s exactly how we should have handled it. Imagine if we’d done the opposite.”<br /><br />Obama continued, leading to his criticism of the media and Trump. “Part of the goal here was making sure that we did not do the work of the leakers for them by raising more and more and more questions about the integrity of elections before the election was taking place—at a time, by the way, when the president-elect himself was raising questions about the integrity of the election.”<br /><br />He returned to that point many times, saying mainstream media took Russia’s bait and acted as a propaganda arm by obsessing over it—including publishing trivialities like Podesta’s risotto recipe. Meanwhile, Obama said he was concerned that Russia would interfere in the voting process and said he warned Putin to back off when he saw him in China last September.<br /><br />“I felt that the most effective way to make sure that didn’t happen was to talk to him directly,” Obama said. “I told him to cut it out or there would be some serious consequences if he didn’t. And in fact, we did not see further tampering of the election process, other than the leaks through Wikileaks that already occurred.”<br /><br />Obama would not give any ground on the FBI’s mishandling of political investigations, namely, director James Comey’s high-profile comments less than two weeks before Election Day about Clinton’s use of a private email server and contrasting silence on how Russia was helping Republicans and Trump. In fact, only late this week did the FBI say it <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/clinton-blames-putins-personal-grudge-against-her-for-election-interference/2016/12/16/12f36250-c3be-11e6-8422-eac61c0ef74d_story.html" target="_blank">agreed</a> that Russian meddling helped Trump—something the CIA had concluded in a secret report earlier this year. (Trump was quick to criticize that report, saying the CIA has made many big intelligence mistakes, which many progressives may also agree with.)<br /><br />“With respect to the FBI, I will tell you that I have had a chance to know a lot of FBI agents. I know Director Comey. They take their job seriously, they work really hard, they help keep us safe, and save a lot of lives,” President Obama said, backing away from any criticism of Comey. “It is always a challenge for law enforcement when there’s an intersection between the work that they are doing and the political system.”<br /><br />“One thing that I have done is to be pretty scrupulous about not weighing in to investigation decisions or prosecution decisions or decisions not to prosecute,” he continued. “I have tried to be really strict in my own behavior about preserving the independence of law enforcement, free from my own judgment and political assessments… I don’t know [why] I would stop now.”<br /><br />That was not the only response that is likely to disappoint Clinton supporters. Obama also said that while he has threatened to take action against Russia for meddling in American elections, he could not disclose what those steps would be because that would reveal intelligence secrets.<br /><br />“When you are talking about cybersecurity, a lot of it is classified and we're not going to provide it,” he said, “because the way we catch folks is by knowing certain things about them that they may not want us to know, and if we're going to monitor this stuff effectively going forward, we don't want them to know that we know. So, this is one of those situations where, unless the American people genuinely think that the professionals in the CIA, the FBI, our entire intelligence infrastructure—many of whom, by the way, served in previous administrations and who are Republicans—are less trustworthy than the Russians, then people should pay attention to what our intelligence agencies say.”<br /><br />That point led Obama to again slam the mainstream media for its trivial campaign coverage and assail Republicans for fomenting hatred of Democrats.     <br /><br />“This is part of what I meant when I said we’ve got to think about what’s happening to our political culture,” Obama said. “The Russians can’t change us or significantly weaken us. They are a smaller country. They are a weaker country. Their economy doesn’t produce anything that anybody wants to buy except oil and gas and arms. They don’t innovate. But they can impact us if we lose track of who we are. They can impact us if we abandon our values. Mr. Putin can weaken us just like he's trying to weaken Europe if we start buying into notions that it's okay to intimidate the press, or lock up dissidents, or discriminate against people.”<br /><br />“And what I worry about, more than anything, is the degree to which because of the fierceness, because of the partisan battle, you start to see certain folks in the Republican Party and Republican voters suddenly finding a [Russian] government and individuals who stand contrary to everything that we stand for as being okay, because 'that's how much we dislike Democrats'.”<br /><br />In many respects, Obama’s harshest critique was aimed at the extremist Republicans who gave Putin’s minions a road map to exploit in the presidential election.<br /><br />“To the extent that our political dialogue is such where everything is under suspicion, and everybody is corrupt, and everybody is doing things for partisan reasons, and all of our institutions are, you know, full of malevolent actors, if that's the storyline that is being put out there by whatever party is out of power, then when a foreign government introduces that same argument, with facts that are made up, voters who have been listening to that stuff for years, who have been getting that stuff every day from talk radio or other venues, they're going to believe it,” he said. “So if we want to really reduce foreign influence on our elections, then we had better think about how to make sure that our political process, our political dialogue is stronger than it has been.”<br /><br />Obama’s criticism of how Republican extremism dovetails with Russian hacking and political propaganda efforts was spot-on, and was also confirmed by the reaction of Congress this week to the latest disclosures of Russian involvement in the election. The Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, reluctantly agreed to investigate the affair. For years, his top priority has been to block President Obama at every turn—even when it has led to siding with the Russians to win the election.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1068983'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068983" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Fri, 16 Dec 2016 16:08:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1068983 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 obama press conference Russian interference in 2016 election It Would Take a Virtually Unimaginable Miracle to Stop Trump's Electoral College Victory http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/it-would-take-virtually-unimaginable-miracle-stop-trumps-electoral-college-victory <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1068913'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068913" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">It won&#039;t take an Electoral College rebellion, but an Electoral College miracle to stop a Trump White House.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-12-15_at_12.59.23_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>People pinning their hopes on an Electoral College rebellion to stop Donald Trump from becoming president are betting that between 40 to 50 red-state Republicans will break ranks next Monday when the Electoral College meets to deny him the 270 votes needed to win.<br /><br />If that happened—and several campaigns under way are urging that course—it would dramatically and chaotically shift the selection of the next president to Congress, where GOP controls both chambers and what happens there is anybody’s guess. As of now, Trump <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/president">has</a> 306 Electoral College votes and Hillary Clinton has 232.<br /><br />The activists, lawyers, scholars and citizens pushing for Electoral College salvation face significant hurdles. Thirteen states where Trump won the popular vote—amounting to 110 Electoral College votes—have laws forbidding electors from voting their conscience by diverting from the popular vote results. That leaves the pool of would-be Trump defectors to 17 states spanning from the deep red South and Plains to the newly red Midwest.<br /><br />Those calling for an Electoral College rebellion are also saying it has an obligation to select a more qualified president, though many critics disagree, saying that is anti-democratic. The <a href="http://www.hamiltonelectors.com">Hamilton Electors</a>, named after Alexander Hamilton, who wrote in the Federalist Papers that the Electoral College is the last check against unfit presidents, are urging electors to reject Trump. Larry Lessig, the Harvard Law professor and briefly a 2016 presidential candidate, has created <a href="https://www.electorstrust.com/">Electors Trust</a>, offering free legal advice. He is also pushing back against criticism that voting one’s conscience is unfairly changing the agreed-upon rules.<br /><br />“One could have the view that, whatever it was meant to be, electors have become just cogs in a wheel,” he <a href="https://medium.com/equal-citizens/rick-hasen-but-not-to-ignore-it-what-is-it-59aaf4f0f0a3#.9c9v0jrg4">blogged</a> in response to Rick Hasen, who runs the nation’s most prestigious election law blog and said electors have a duty to their state. Lessig countered, “But if the College has any of the character that it was meant to have, then for electors to exercise judgment is not to ‘ignore it in an election where everyone agreed it was the set of rules to use.’ To the contrary, it is to take those rules seriously.”</p><p><strong>The Fine Print</strong></p><p>When it comes to the Electoral College, there are federal and state laws, and they don’t add up to a uniform national picture. Under the Constitution's 12th Amendment, when the Electoral College meets Monday in state capitals, each party’s popular vote winner will present a slate of electors to cast the final votes for president and vice-president. Those votes will be sent to Washington, where the Senate president will tally them before a joint session of Congress. If the Electoral College fails to award 270 votes to a candidate, then the House chooses the president. If the House fails to pick the president by a majority vote, it goes to the Senate.<br /><br />Then there’s the states' legal fine print. More than half the states <a href="http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/the-electoral-college.aspx#faithless">bind</a> their Electoral College members to the popular vote, according to legislative <a href="https://medium.com/equal-citizens/richard-briffault-the-faithless-elector-ba7b50fc8ba1#.7zazrzrp3">experts</a>. In these states, there are a range of penalties, from fines to being immediately replaced during the proceedings for voting one’s conscience, which the political scientists call a “faithless” elector.<br /><br />“There have been ‘faithless electors’ in nine of the last 17 presidential elections—1948, 1956, 1960, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1988, 2000, and 2004,” <a href="https://medium.com/equal-citizens/richard-briffault-the-faithless-elector-ba7b50fc8ba1#.7zazrzrp3">wrote</a> Columbia University Law School’s Richard Briffault, who said Congress has only once debated whether a faithless vote should be accepted or rejected. “In 1968, Richard Nixon carried the state of North Carolina and its electoral votes. One Nixon elector, Dr. Lloyd Bailey, however, cast his electoral vote for George Wallace. When the North Carolina results were read before the Senate and House on January 6, 1969, six senators and 37 members of the House, led by Senator Muskie and Rep. O’Hara, respectively, with support from other members of both chambers, objected on the grounds that an elector is obligated to vote for the candidate on whose slate he ran, so that the vote was not regularly given.”<br /><br />After debate, the Senate and House sided with Bailey, Briffault <a href="https://medium.com/equal-citizens/richard-briffault-the-faithless-elector-ba7b50fc8ba1#.7zazrzrp3">said</a>, “upholding elector independence and as Congress’s recognition that it has a very limited role in counting the electoral votes, with no right to reject the ballot of a properly appointed elector.”<br /><br />How that precedent would play out today is unknown. According to National Conference of State Legislatures, 27 states and the District of Columbia <a href="http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/the-electoral-college.aspx#faithless">bind</a> their Electoral College slates to the popular vote winner. That list includes 13 of the states that voted for Trump (Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming). Together, their 110 Electoral College votes are 40 percent of what’s needed for Trump to be chosen president.<br /><br />The Trump campaign knows this. It has filed motions in Colorado to join a suit where one Democratic elector is seeking to challenge that state’s binding law, because, as Trump’s pleading said, that could create a precedent affecting his election. The Republican National Committee has an aggressive “whip” <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/rnc-trump-electoral-college-232537">operation</a> to ensure Republican electors in all the states—especially those states without binding laws—stay loyal to Trump.   <br /><br />Right now, Trump has <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/president">306</a> Electoral College votes—the total of states where he won the popular vote. Clinton has <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/president">232</a> votes. At first glance, that means 37 Republicans would have to break away to deny Trump the presidency. However, activists in contact with the Hamilton Electors group have said that while they have 10 GOP electors willing to break ranks, they also said that six Democratic electors don’t want to vote for Clinton. They also said there's little active organizing of Democratic electors, such as freeing them to vote for a Republican alternative. Lessig has said 20 GOP electors are considering voting their conscience.<br /><br />That's not enough. Realistically, there need to be between 45 and 50 rebellious Republicans to stop Trump. The Hamilton Electors are trying to create private forums for would-be defectors, but it may be too late because GOP electors have been <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/rnc-trump-electoral-college-232537">besieged</a> by thousands of emails, news reports said.<br /><br />Where would the rebellious electors come from? Presumably from states that have not banned them from voting their conscience. There are 17 states won by Trump in that category: Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia. This is red-state America, and it’s hard to believe many Republicans appointed as presidential electors will put the entire country before their party’s consolidation of political power. Even if Trump were swept aside, which is extremely unlikely, most of the Republicans running Congress are not moderates. Their cure might not be that much better than the disease, only more pro-establishment.<br /> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1068913'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068913" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 15 Dec 2016 13:36:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1068913 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Hamilton Electors Electors Trust New Poll Finds Republicans Have Growing Fondness for Russia, Vladimir Putin and Wikileaks http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/election-2016/new-poll-finds-republicans-have-growing-fondness-russia-vladimir-putin-and-wikileaks <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1068858'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068858" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Sympathies for Russia follow white supremacist rise in the GOP.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/putin_on_bear.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Significant numbers of Republicans, who for the past half-century have elected presidents who've unleashed America’s military against communists and especially the Soviet Union, have pirouetted like <em>Nutcracker</em> ballerinas and are now saying they like Russia, Vladimir Putin and his use of Wikileaks to attack Democrats.<br /><br />This history-erasing, principle-abandoning reversal was noted by an Economist/YouGov poll <a href="https://today.yougov.com/news/2016/12/14/americans-and-trump-part-ways-over-russia/">released</a> Wednesday, finding Republicans now favor Wikileaks by a 27 percent margin—a 74 percentage point swing from the summer of 2013. That is undoubtedly related to Trump’s repeated speeches <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/12/14/gop-voters-warm-to-russia-putin-wikileaks-poll-finds/?utm_term=.32e244470374&amp;wpisrc=nl_politics-pm&amp;wpmm=1">praising</a> Wikileaks, which dumped stolen Clinton campaign emails for <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/12/14/gop-voters-warm-to-russia-putin-wikileaks-poll-finds/?utm_term=.32e244470374&amp;wpisrc=nl_politics-pm&amp;wpmm=1">33 days</a> in a row before Novermber's Election Day.<br /><br />But most striking is the Russia and Putin turnaround, which pollster Kathy Frankovic said reflects a willingness among Republicans to follow their leader.<br /><br />“Trump voters today are somewhat more positive toward Russia than his supporters were just after the party conventions last summer,” she <a href="https://today.yougov.com/news/2016/12/14/americans-and-trump-part-ways-over-russia/">said</a>. “Today, the percentage of Trump supporters viewing Russia as either unfriendly or as an enemy has dropped 11 points, from 67% then to 56% now… Nearly half of his own voters say Trump views Russia as a friend or ally.”<br /><br />Putin, who holds the title of president but is clearly an authoritarian ruler consistent with that country’s long history of strongmen, dictators and czars, is seen by Republicans with skepticism, Frankovic said, yet his favorability is increasing among Trump voters.<br /><br />“When it comes to Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin, Trump voters are more positive than the country as a whole, but there is still skepticism and dislike for Putin (though that has lessened since July),” she <a href="https://today.yougov.com/news/2016/12/14/americans-and-trump-part-ways-over-russia/">said</a>. “By three to one, Putin is viewed as a strong leader, but only 21% have a favorable assessment of him. Among Trump voters more than a third are favorable, an increase of nine points since July.”<br /><br />The Economist/YouGov poll was done before Trump announced his selection of Exxon-Mobile CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State. The corporate chieftain has negotiated major deals with Putin and Russian oil producers. Among those polled, Republicans and Democrats, only about one in three were confident of Trump’s “ability to handle Russia.”<br /><br />The poll also split along partisan lines when it came to confidence in the CIA, which concluded that Russia was actively taking sides to elect Trump and defeat Clinton. That secret assessment was disclosed last Friday by the Washington Post after the Obama White House announced it was reopening an intelligence agency review of Russian interference in the election.<br /><br />“The CIA conclusion that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign during the election has been received with a partisan eye,” the pollsters said. “Two-thirds of Clinton voters, but only 12% of Trump voters believe Russia was responsible for the hacks.”<br /><br />“Many Democrats may have lost faith in the CIA after weapons of mass destruction (a major justification for the 2003 Iraq war) were not found in Iraq following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein,” they continued. “In a 2007 Gallup/USA Today Poll, for example, Democrats were more likely than Republicans to place blame on the CIA for that war not going well. But today, Republicans have less confidence than Democrats in the CIA.”<br /><br /><strong>White Like Me?</strong></p><p>The poll did not answer the question of why growing numbers of Republicans are warming to Russia and Putin. But other analysts at legitimate news organizations have been reporting that a serious slice of Trump’s base are white supremacists who see Russia as a white country with a proud nationalist leader willing to assert and protect its identity.<br /><br />“Russian President Vladimir Putin has emerged as a hero of several prominent alt-right figures,” <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/russia-connections-to-the-alt-right-2016-11">wrote</a> Natasha Bertrand for Business Insider. “Whether Russia has played a direct role in awakening the American alt-right, whose resurgence as a crusade against establishment politics coincided with the rise of President-elect Donald Trump, is debatable. But the extent to which the alt-right has found a natural ally in Russia's current zeitgeist — which perceives the U.S. as a globalist, imperialist power working on behalf of liberal elites — is hard to overstate.”<br /><br />Bertrand <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/russia-connections-to-the-alt-right-2016-11">cited</a> white nationalist Matthew Heimbach, who said, “Russia is the leader of the free world right now.” She mentioned Richard Spencer, head of the far-right National Policy Institute, who praised Trump and his reset with Russia and called it the “sole white power in the world.” Her report also noted that some white supremacists who are anti-Semitic are pro-Russia, starting with David Duke, former grand wizard of the Klu Klux Klan.<br /><br />“Preston Wiginton, a white supremacist from Texas who sublets Duke's Moscow apartment when he travels to Russia, has written that his ‘best friends’ in Russia — ‘the only nation that understands RAHOWA' [Racial Holy War] — are ‘leading skinheads,’” she <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/russia-connections-to-the-alt-right-2016-11">wrote</a>.<br /><br />Meanwhile, Russian op-ed writers are intrigued with Trump, Juan Cole <a href="http://www.juancole.com/2016/11/russian-russia-russians.html">reported</a> in late November, citing BBC translations of their commentaries. “Leonid Radzikhovsky writes in an editorial for Rossiyskaya Gazeta on November 15, according to BBC Monitoring, that a ‘Washington is ours’ euphoria has washed over Moscow. He is skeptical of that idea but admits that the election results were ‘a definite psychological victory for the Kremlin.’”<br /><br />One would think the Economist/You Gov poll finding growing sympathies for Russia and Putin is an anomaly turning American history and longstanding Republican Party principles on its head. But with Trump’s campaign bringing white supremacists in from the far-right fringes and attracting supporters who are <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/11/08/us/politics/election-exit-polls.html?_r=0">overwhelming</a> white, it’s not surprising that a sizable slice applaud the white nationalism and nation-building of Putin’s Russia. This isn’t a brave new world; it’s an increasingly dangerous one.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1068858'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068858" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 14 Dec 2016 16:33:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1068858 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 World Economist-YouGov poll Republicans and white supremacists Republicans and Russia Republicans and Putin Natasha Bertrand business insider Recount Fiascos Reveal the Profoundly Pathetic State of Voting in America http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/recount-fiascos-reveal-profoundly-pathetic-state-voting-america <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1068783'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068783" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The Pennsylvania legal fight continues, but lessons are learned about how states don&#039;t verify the vote.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-12-13_at_5.25.47_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s recounts in the three states that gave Donald Trump his Electoral College majority have come to a close, not changing the official results and leaving the public even more wary about the integrity of American elections.<br /><br />After several weeks, $7.3 million in donations from 161,000 donors, obstruction by top Republicans and Democrats, election officials who rejected the most accurate recount procedures, slights against communities of color where voting machines broke on Election Day but recounts were blocked afterward, new hacking pathways discovered, and unyielding responses by state and federal judges who didn’t think much of recounting votes or using best practices, Stein announced Tuesday that her presidential recount was mostly over—and now America needed to heed its lessons.<br /><br />“What we are saying is simply that we have a right to a verified vote, and to a voting system that is accurate, secure and just,” Stein said. “There is enormous evidence that kind of voting system, which is accurate, secure and just, does not exist. You can look, for example, at the 87 [electronic ballot scanning] voting machines that failed in Detroit. This kind of mechanical failure is highly concentrated in communities of color. In fact, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission has said that the odds of your vote being miscounted or discounted are 900 percent greater in communities of color. This isn’t some hypothetical. This has been demonstrated over and over.”<br /><br />Stein and the recount’s leaders and lawyers held a press conference to discuss the lessons learned on Tuesday, even as they are pursuing a federal lawsuit against Pennsylvania for what they say are its unconstitutional actions to stymie a recount. In Michigan, the Trump campaign and top GOP state officials forced its recount to shut down, even though it was not recounting all the paper ballots. Only Wisconsin finished, after more than tripling its fee and then failing to hand-count ballots in the most controversial jurisdictions.  <br /><br />Stein’s unprecedented multi-state effort revealed faulty machinery that is error-prone and vulnerable to tampering and hacking; bureaucratic hurdles and out-of-date state laws that created absurdly high barriers to recounts; and red flags that communities of color were disenfranchised. It sought but was blocked from examining the software and “forensics” of electronic voting, even as the outgoing White House ordered a new review of Russian interference in the election, including hacking. Indeed, activists observing the recount found new ways to access key vote-counting nodes—cellular modems—but were ignored by officials and most press.<br /><br />“We have shown, and some of our expert witnesses, [University of Michigan computer scientist] Alex Halderman in particular, has shown, that he and his students actually have hacked into these various machines in the laboratory,” Stein said. “They are insecure. They are poorly protected. They are essentially without modern security precautions. It is simple for anyone with a degree in computer science to hack into them. There is evidence of their vulnerability.”     <br /><br />Stein’s main takeaway was how absurd it is that America does not verify its presidential vote count—or most elections, for that matter.<br /><br />“We verify our withdrawals from a back account. Certainly, building verification into our voting system should not be like some kind of preposterous idea,” she said. “This should be built in. It should be an automatic quality assurance that is part and parcel of voting. We should not have to proves that fraud has taken place, or that hacking or machine error has taken place, in order to have verification. We do it with all kinds of sports games as well. If we do it with a tennis match, don’t our votes deserve as much care and protection?”<br /> <br /><strong>Institutional Barriers and Vote Count Suppression</strong></p><p>Stein’s team listed many of the obstacles they encountered in trying to verify the vote in the three states that gave Trump his Electoral College majority. When they began, they had little idea of the barriers ahead, because even though the Greens launched presidential recounts in Ohio and New Mexico in 2004, they were in three new states with different procedures and laws: Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.<br /><br />When Stein launched her fundraising drive as the Thanksgiving holiday began, she did not expect to raise nearly $6 million in small contributions in the first 48 hours. Her team was told by Wisconsin officials that their recount fee would be upward of $1 million, and they estimated they'd need $2 million per state for the recounts. When they went to formally file, Stein's lawyers were told the fee in Wisconsin would be $3.4 million, more than triple what they expected. In Pennsylvania, officials said the 100 citizens who signed a statewide recount petition had to pay $1 million—one of the reasons her campaign filed a federal suit. Michigan’s fee was also over $1 million, prompting Republican legislators to send a bill to its House retroactively charging Stein's campaign millions more.<br /><br />When the campaign went into state court in Wisconsin seeking an order for hand-counting the ballots—not rescanning them with the same machines that have error rates, as all electronic scanners do—a judge said she was sympathetic but refused to issue an order requiring counties to follow that best practice.</p><p>“After we filed the petition and paid that astronomical price, we didn’t even get the recount that was necessary,” Jonathan Abady, Stein's lead counsel, said. “The court reviewing this process made a significant statement, that the gold standard for recounting in Wisconsin and elsewhere, is a hand review of the paper ballots. And not withstanding that, there was a huge use of machines, which is just referring paper ballots into the same potentially defective machinery.”<br /><br />What happened in Detroit was arguably the recount's most disturbing chapter, because it showed an institutional disregard for voting rights didn’t end on Election Day but continued into the vote counting and recounting process. Mel Figueroa, press director for the Stein campaign, said Detroit showcased an "electoral Jim Crow” that was a microcosm of issues seen in communities of color since Florida’s recount in 2000, Ohio’s and New Mexico’s recounts in 2004, and other states since, including the 2016 election.  <br /><br />“What we are talking about is mass disenfranchisement of voters of color in poorly served, under-resourced communities that have long been subject to many issues in regards to voting and have long expressed concerns,” she said. “Even before the voting booth, voters of color are subjected to restrictive voter ID laws, felony disenfranchisement, purged from the voter rolls by interstate Crosscheck [a GOP-run interstate program] and subject to long lines due to the closing of polling places in minority communities. What we have since found after people have gone to the voting booth is that many, many votes are simply deemed spoiled or not counted.”<br /><br /><strong>'An Electoral Jim Crow'</strong></p><p>The initial "red flag" was the existence of 75,335 undervotes in Michigan, or ballots that were filled out except for the choice of president, Figueroa said. “That was a rate that happened 70 percent higher than the number of undervotes that were counted in 2012. Many of these are in Oakland and Wayne counties, which includes Detroit, raising this very real possibility that communities of color may have been disenfranchised by an unreliable counting of the vote. A shocking 87 voting machines broke on Election Day, many jamming when voters sent ballots to optical scanners resulting in erroneous vote counts. These are decade-old, poorly maintained, poorly calibrated machines that simply may have not recorded the vote.”<br /><br />Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump by less than 11,000 votes in Michigan, a photo finish in a state with several million votes cast. In the Detroit area, where Clinton did best, she typically won by a two-to-one margin. Thus, if 20,000 of the so-called undervotes turned out to be Detroit-area ballots that were incorrectly scanned, that could have thrown the state to Clinton—winning not the presidency, but a key state. Instead what happened was that state and local election officials said more than half of Detroit’s precincts could not be recounted due to sloppy record-keeping and care of the ballots between Election Day and the recount’s start. Figueroa said those details and the official decisions behind them is what Jim Crow looks like in 2016’s elections.<br /><br />“These revelations reflect the U.S. Civil Rights Commission’s finding that voters of color are at massively increased risk, up to 900 percent more risk, of having their votes misread or simply tossed out by human error, or by badly maintained or poorly calibrated machines in underserved communities," she said. “The recount process has also put a spotlight on the state’s overly restrictive recount law. That law excludes precincts from a recount if there is a discrepancy between the number of voters in a precinct’s poll book and the number of ballots in the ballot box. That had disqualified many precincts from actually being able to be recounted. If the Michigan recount had proceeded, as many as half of Detroit’s votes and many more in surrounding urban areas may have been deemed ineligible for a recount, due to this law.”<br /><br />And if anybody thinks Republicans care about free and fair elections, they should think again, Figueroa said, because while the recount was being fought over, the state’s GOP legislators were passing new laws destined to suppress minority voters.<br /><br />“Michigan Republicans' efforts to suppress voting rights were not limited to their obstruction of the recount,” she said. “During the recount, House Republicans [in its legislature] approved a strict voter ID proposal, despite evidence that the plan could disenfranchise properly registered voters. With all of that, one of the main lessons is that reform is needed now… These are longstanding problems that have been brought to light."<br /><br />As Stein said, the recounts in Michigan and Wisconsin “looked everywhere except in the areas of greatest risk.”<br /><br /><strong>What Recounts Are Supposed To Do</strong></p><p>Phillip Stark, a statistics professor and associate dean of mathematical and physical sciences at UC Berkeley, said it was absurd that the recounts in Wisconsin and Michigan devolved into legal fights and institutional stonewalling over procedures, instead of giving the public something it can trust—evidence-based counting and audits for accuracy.<br /><br />“Our government isn’t a democracy if we have to blindly trust that votes were tallied accurately,” he said. “Any way whatsoever of counting votes makes errors, even if there isn’t any malicious inside or outside actor, or hacking of the equipment or the software. But that said, anything done on computers can be hacked, and computers will never do a perfect job of ascertaining voter intent on ballots.”<br /><br />Stark said there is only one way to get the evidence-based audits and recounts—the paper ballots cast have to be hand-counted and compared to the electronic machine totals. That can be done on a random basis for audits and on a more comprehensive basis for recounts.<br /><br />“What we need are evidence-based elections, not procedure-baed elections,’ he said. “Local election officials should be required to give strong evidence that the answer that they are presenting is correct, not just say we followed the rules."<br /><br />“The way to get that evidence is to have paper ballots and routine auditing of the electronic results against the paper ballots,” Stark continued. “The three Cs of election integrity are to create a paper trail, care for the paper trail and then check the electronic results against the paper trail. We need to check in every election, whether the errors, whatever their source, were big enough to change who won. There are always going to be errors. The question is whether they are big enough to matter.”<br /><br />A handful of liberal counties have been experimenting with the open-source and verifiable systems he wants to see everywhere—namely where Los Angeles, Austin, Texas, and San Francisco are located. But that is a far cry, Stark said, from the way almost all of the rest of America counts and verifies their votes.<br /><br />“What a mess we have,” Stein said. “The recount has shone a light on that mess and has really lifted up the call for a voting system we can trust. It’s not rocket science how to fix this. This is basic democracy. This is a bedrock foundation of a government we can trust and this is how we fix all the other crises that people are faced with.”<br /><br /><strong>What Now?</strong></p><p>Perhaps the most hopeful comments were made by David Cobb, the recount campaign manager and 2004 Green presidential candidate. In 2004, the party led recount efforts in Ohio and New Mexico, which Cobb said led many states to abandon the riskiest voting machinery and a few to update their audit and recount procedures. He hoped that would be the case after the dust settles in the 2016 election.<br /><br />“The efforts to recount in both Ohio and New Mexico actually helped to underscore just how important that is,” Cobb said, “because the reality is that the demands for recounts on Ohio and an effort in New Mexico in 2004 really launched the election integrity movement in this country.  [U.S.] Representative John Conyers held hearings and published a scathing report called, ‘What Went Wrong in Ohio?’ That recount effort in 2004 literally halted the proliferation of the direct recording equipment [DRE or paperless machines], also known as black box touchscreen machines.”<br /><br />Cobb recounted that often-forgotten history. Before Florida’s recount in 2000 was stopped by the Supreme Court, Americans were mortified to learn about “hanging chads," or the dangling pieces of paper from computer punch cards. That led to the Help America Vote Act of 2002, in which several billion dollars was made available to states to buy new voting machines. Those electronic systems, including some that are entirely paperless and have no audit trail, were sold to election officials by an industry exploiting a windfall.<br /><br />“All of the states were rushing forward with these black box voting machines,” Cobb said, until the 2004 election recounts halted that rush. “Because of the spotlight in 2004, we were able to halt the proliferation of that. In fact, in California, then-Secretary of State Debra Bowen initiated a top-to-bottom review of their voting systems that literally outlawed the black box voting machines in California. They were abolished in most states across the country.”<br /><br />New Mexico banned the machines, adopted a robust new audit law and state-funded recount process.</p><p>“I am saying all of this to underscore the critical importance that the recounts play in helping to improve our democratic system,” Cobb said, suggesting the primary outcome of the recounts is promotiing and expanding the election integrity movement's agenda.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1068783'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068783" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 13 Dec 2016 17:17:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1068783 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 2016 recount Jill Stein David Cobb Mel Figueroa Phillip Stark Trump Campaign Seeks to Block Colorado Suit Freeing Electoral College Members to Vote Their Conscience http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/trump-campaign-seeks-block-colorado-suit-freeing-electoral-college-members-vote-their-conscience <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1068750'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068750" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Trump is threatened by &quot;Hamilton Electors&quot; movement.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-12-13_at_10.41.24_am.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Donald Trump is afraid of a rebellion by Electoral College members who will break ranks and choose someone else for president, denying him the 270 votes needed when that body meets next week in the final stage of the 2016 election.<br /><br />Trump’s fears are laid out in a <a href="http://www.politico.com/f/?id=00000158-f468-d09d-a1dc-fdfbee020002">lawsuit</a> filed Monday in Colorado, where two Democrats on that party’s Electoral College slate have sued over a stage law that binds its Electoral College members to the popular vote outcome. They are part of the <a href="http://www.hamiltonelectors.com/">Hamilton Electors</a> group, who are seeking to stop Trump from becoming president.<br /><br />“We are a group founded by several members of the Electoral College dedicated to support [Alexander] Hamilton’s vision that members of the Electoral College should be free to vote their conscience for the good of America,” their <a href="http://www.hamiltonelectors.com/whowe_are">website</a> says. “We believe that Hamilton had somebody very much like Donald Trump in mind when he charged Electors in Federalist 68 with safeguarding the office of the presidency.”<br /><br />“In 2016 we’re dedicated to putting political parties aside and putting America first,” they <a href="http://www.hamiltonelectors.com/about">said</a>. “Electors have already come forward calling upon other Electors from both red and blue states to unite behind a Responsible Republican candidate for the good of the nation.”<br /><br />The Colorado suit brought by Democratic electors Polly Baca and Robert Nemanich terrifies Trump, because it could state a federal court precedent that would free electors across the U.S. from being bound by state laws to vote for their state’s popular vote winner. The Constitution doesn’t say that Electoral College members will be subject to such rules. 

“Despite their prior commitment to honor the outcome of Colorado’s presidential election, Plaintiffs now claim they might consider voting for people other than Secretary Clinton and Senator Kaine,” Trump’s <a href="http://www.politico.com/f/?id=00000158-f468-d09d-a1dc-fdfbee020002">motion</a> to intervene in the lawsuit said. “Of course, President-elect Donald Trump and  Vice President-elect Mike Pence have more than enough electoral votes to secure their respective offices.”<br /><br />That last assertion is not quite right and is refuted by their motion’s continuing argument.<br /><br />“Plaintiffs’ lawsuit, however, threatens to undermine the many laws in other states that sensibly bind their electors’ votes to represent the will of the citizens, undermining the Electoral College in the process. That is why the President-elect and his Campaign seek to intervene in this case,” they <a href="http://www.politico.com/f/?id=00000158-f468-d09d-a1dc-fdfbee020002">said</a>. “Should this Court conclude (despite decades of legal and historical precedent to the contrary) that it is unconstitutional for Colorado to bind its presidential electors, similar statutes in other states where the President-elect won may also be in jeopardy. The President-elect and his Campaign therefore have a direct, substantial, and legally protectable interest in preventing the invalidation of Colorado’s law requiring presidential electors to honor both their  prior commitment and the voters’ will."<br /><br />Trump’s filing is yet more evidence that he is paying close attention to the legal efforts that challenge his fitness for office and could stop him from assuming the presidency. He and Republicans stopped a recount in Michigan, and were successful in limiting ballot scrutiny in recounts in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Trump knows his ascent to the presidency hangs on the Electoral College’s antiquated system that overrides the popular vote. Hillary Clinton won 2.85 million more votes than Trump nationally.<br /><br />The question, of course, is how many potential electors would break ranks and how might that play out. So far, nine Democratic electors have endorsed the effort and one Republican – Chris Suprun of Texas – has signaled support as well. These are some of the same electors that <a href="https://extranewsfeed.com/bipartisan-electors-ask-james-clapper-release-facts-on-outside-interference-in-u-s-election-c1a3d11d5b7b#.7kbbcdhli">called</a> for CIA to brief them on their until recently secret report that showed how Russia helped Trump. Right now Clinton <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/president">has</a> 232 Electoral College votes and Trump has 306. To win, 270 votes are needed.<br /><br />It’s not as simple as saying that Clinton needs 38 more votes, because some of the Hamilton electors might not support her even if they don't want Trump. It is anybody’s guess how many Republican electors are willing to break ranks. One source said as many as a dozen GOP electors are leaning that way, but that’s far short of the 40-to-50 needed to prevent Trump from becoming president.<br /><br />“The Founding Fathers intended the Electoral College to stop an unfit man from becoming President,” the Hamilton Electors' homepage said. “The Constitution they crafted gives us this tool. Conscience demands that we use it.”<br /> <br /> </p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1068750'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068750" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 13 Dec 2016 10:24:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1068750 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 trump Hamilton Electors Russian Espionage and Interference in 2016 Election Is Bigger Constitutional Crisis Than Bush v. Gore http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/russian-espionage-and-interference-2016-election-bigger-constitutional-crisis-bush-v-gore <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1068709'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068709" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">With Electoral College vote looming, Republicans put party ahead of country.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-12-12_at_4.23.04_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Donald Trump’s march from Election Night to Inauguration Day feels like the ticking of a doomsday clock, with new drama surfacing daily that is deepening the alarm while not derailing the coming storm.</p><p>Russian interference in the election is the top example, prompting Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta to say Monday that the campaign is <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/clinton-campaign-backs-call-for-intelligence-briefing-before-electoral-college-vote-232512">supporting</a> an effort by 10 bipartisan Electoral College members <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/clinton-campaign-backs-call-for-intelligence-briefing-before-electoral-college-vote-232512">who want</a> an intelligence agency briefing on foreign intervention. Their request comes as states face a Tuesday deadline to finalize their vote count results before next week’s Electoral College vote, which Jill Stein’s recount did not disrupt even as it exposed new anti-democratic facets of our elections.</p><p>The reason these anti-Trump electors and the Clinton camp want the intelligence briefing is because Russia’s involvement has been ominously reframed. On Friday, the Obama administration ordered a new intelligence agency assessment of Russia's actions. The <em>Washington Post</em> <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obama-orders-review-of-russian-hacking-during-presidential-campaign/2016/12/09/31d6b300-be2a-11e6-94ac-3d324840106c_story.html?utm_term=.2fad4132aa98&amp;wpisrc=al_alert-COMBO-politics%2Bnation">said</a> a secret CIA report found Russia’s goals went beyond sowing chaos and were intended specifically to hurt Clinton and help Trump. A day later, the <em>New York Times</em> <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/10/us/politics/trump-mocking-claim-that-russia-hacked-election-at-odds-with-gop.html?_r=0">said</a> the Russians hacked Republican National Committee emails as well, but didn’t release them, yet more evidence of a hostile foreign power taking sides.</p><p>The rebellious Electoral College members clearly see themselves as a last line of defense against tyrants and foreign meddlers that Alexander Hamilton warned about in Federalist Paper #68, <a href="https://extranewsfeed.com/bipartisan-electors-ask-james-clapper-release-facts-on-outside-interference-in-u-s-election-c1a3d11d5b7b#.bsl7zq2aw">writing</a> “a core purpose of the Electoral College was to prevent a ‘desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.’”</p><p>Their supporters in Congress agree, with Rep Jim Himes, D-CT, and a House Intelligence Committee member, <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/clinton-campaign-backs-call-for-intelligence-briefing-before-electoral-college-vote-232512">saying</a>, “This man is not only unqualified to be president, he’s a danger to the republic.”</p><p>“I do think the Electoral College should choose someone other than Donald Trump to be president. That will lead to a fascinating legal issue,” he continued. “But I would rather have a legal problem—a constitutional legal problem—than to find out the White House was now the Kremlin’s chief ally.”</p><p>Realistically, it’s very unlikely anything will derail the Electoral College from meeting December 19 and making Trump the next president. (If that were the case, the election would be decided in the GOP-majority House of Representatives.) In the day-to-day news between now and that date, there will be plenty of sniping to distract from the constitutional crisis that Russian espionage and meddling presents.</p><p>One can persuasively argue that Russian actions reinforce the conclusion that Trump’s presidency is illegitimate. (Other factors include Clinton’s <a href="http://cookpolitical.com/story/10174">2.85 million</a> popular vote lead, the GOP’s litany of voter suppression tactics and refusal to verify the vote.) Russian interference is worse than the Supreme Court’s ruling stopping Florida’s recount and awarding the presidency to George W. Bush in 2000, because that was a domestically inflicted constitutional crisis.  </p><p><strong>Yet Again, Party or Country First?</strong></p><p>Conservatives who normally revere founding constitutional doctrine, from the editorial writers at the <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-hackers-and-american-hacks-1481499091">Wall Street Journal</a> to the <em>National Review</em>, have cast that moral compass aside. Not only have they predictably piled on Democrats as crybabies and sore losers, but they’ve also, like Trump, attacked the CIA for its “secret” assessment that seems obvious to anybody watching the campaign, including Trump himself, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNa2B5zHfbQ">urging</a> Russia last July to hack and uncover more Clinton emails.</p><p>They seem to be taking it for granted that it is now a normal part of covering campaigns to repeat sensational leaks, not caring if they came from espionage by adversarial foreign governments. Imagine, for a moment, if the shoe were on the other foot. The GOP and the far right would be screaming about the traitorous and treasonous Democrats.</p><p>Some writers, like <em>New York</em> magazine’s Jonathan Chait, have <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/12/trump-mcconnell-putin-and-the-triumph-of-the-will-to-power.html">raised</a> the appropriate and unnerving question of why Obama or the executive branch didn't do more to force the Russians to back off, instead of letting them taunt slices of the electorate (like Sanders supporters distrustful of Clinton) in a tight race where a few points mattered. But beyond that question, Chait notes that the <em>Post</em>’s account of Obama’s effort to get bipartisan support for pushback—by convening lawmakers to hear the CIA’s secret report—was derailed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who did what he does best: Put party before country.</p><p>“Perhaps the most amazing revelation in the <em>Post</em>’s report is, ‘Some of the Republicans in the briefing also seemed opposed to the idea of going public with such explosive allegations in the final stages of an election,’” Chait <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/12/trump-mcconnell-putin-and-the-triumph-of-the-will-to-power.html">wrote</a>. “Almost immediately afterward, Republicans in Congress trumpeted explosive (but ultimately empty) allegations from a different agency [the FBI on Clinton’s emails]. Of the many causes of the election outcome, one was simply that Trump’s supporters in government were willing to put the system at risk in order to win, and Clinton’s supporters were not.”</p><p>Russian spying, stealing political secrets, leaking them into a compliant media, and putting its thumb on the scale to tip the balance toward a candidate whose views seem destined to hurt American interests and help Russian interests all pose a real constitutional crisis. It is a crisis because little can be done to stop this juggernaut—another failure of our system of supposed checks and balances.</p><p>In the near term, there have been calls by Robert Reich for Electoral College members who have doubts about Trump to vote with their conscience. There are protests being planned for statehouses across America. Russia’s role in Donald Trump’s election gives the tens of millions who opposed him new reasons to feel aggrieved and conclude his presidency is illegitimate. In addition, it underscores that a foreign power intervened and aided Trump's election, subverting a core pillar of America’s system of elections.</p><p>Meanwhile, Republicans pretend there is little to worry about, because winning justifies the means. It matters little that on Monday, McConnell agreed to a Senate inquiry into Russian interference. Republicans have a lock on Washington and can shut down that process at will. That is why the final weeks of Obama’s presidency feel like the ticking of a doomsday clock.  </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1068709'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068709" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Mon, 12 Dec 2016 16:05:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1068709 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 2016 e;ection contitutional crisis russian espionage and 2016 election More Evidence Emerges of How Russian Hacking Harmed Clinton and Helped Trump in Presidential Election http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/election-2016/more-evidence-emerges-how-russian-hacking-harmed-clinton-and-helped-trump-presidential <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1068608'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068608" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Russia helped Trump, CIA concluded. Russia hacked RNC, but didn&#039;t leak emails. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_trump_putin.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>The Obama White House’s December surprise, a new intelligence agency probe into Russia’s hidden hand in influencing the presidential election, has already yielded two new revelations.<br /><br /><em>The Washington Post</em> <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obama-orders-review-of-russian-hacking-during-presidential-campaign/2016/12/09/31d6b300-be2a-11e6-94ac-3d324840106c_story.html?utm_term=.2fad4132aa98&amp;wpisrc=al_alert-COMBO-politics%252Bnation">reported</a> late Friday that a secret CIA assessment has already found the Russians helped Trump. <em>The New York Times</em> <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/09/us/obama-russia-election-hack.html?_r=0">reported</a> Saturday that the Russians hacked into Republican National Committee computer systems but did not leak what they found there—unlike the release of damaging communications from the Democratic National Committee during the primaries, and emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, during the general election.<br /><br />Republicans, from the Trump transition team to the RNC, denied that that they were helped or hacked by the Russians, with Trump’s team, saying, “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction… It’s now time to move on.”<br /><br />Significantly, the White House probe will not be conducted by the FBI. In late October, FBI Director James Comey announced the bureau was going to look at newly found emails from Clinton’s private accounts while she was Secretary of State—for classified materials—and then days before the election Comey announced there was nothing there. That “October surprise” broke Clinton’s slowly growing momentum after the three presidential debates.<br /><br />“The FBI investigation was looking at specific acts that we saw over the summer and fall of this year,” White House Spokesman Eric Schultz said Friday, when asked about the agency's role. “So, as you know, they looked at the hacks at campaign committees like the DNC and other malicious cyber activity that we were detecting. At the time, they determined that this is activity that could have only been directed from the highest levels of the Russian government. So, yes, this [intelligence agency probe] is going to put that activity in a greater context. That's going to look at the pattern of this happening from foreign actors, dating all the way back to 2008.”<br /><br />Schultz reminded the White House press corps that in 2008, it was Chinese hacking attempts that targeted that year’s presidential campaigns. He said that Russia has a more recent history of trying to sabotage elections in surrounding counties, “and then, of course, in 2016, our intelligence community determined that there was malicious cyber activity intended to interfere with our elections. In the high confidence assessment that was released this past October, the intelligence community made very clear that this was activity directed by the highest levels of the Russian government.”<br /><br />The WaPo report that grabbed headlines—that the CIA had already concluded that Russia was trying to help Trump—hardly seems like a surprise. While WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has repeatedly said that “no state parties” gave them Podesta’s stolen emails, the Times said intelligence circles had no doubt “Russians gave the Democrats’ documents to WikiLeaks.” What the Times report didn't raise, but seems more significant in light of the range of communications taken from Democrats, is what information do they have on Republicans and the incoming Trump administration that could be used to Russia's advantage?<br /><br />While more disclosures are expected from the White House probe, they are likely to fall into the cyber-security fold, Schultz’s statements suggest, but not challenge Trump’s ascension to the presidency in January.<br /><br />“This is not an effort to challenge the outcome of the election, that we have acknowledged who won the election,” he said. “It wasn't the candidate that the President campaigned for.  And so the President has actually gone out of his way to make sure that we are providing for a seamless transition of power.  So we're not calling into question the election results.  We are taking seriously our responsibility to protect the integrity of those elections.”<br /><br />Schultz said federal agencies did not see a cyber attack on state election systems on Election Day, and considered that matter closed.<br /><br />“What we determined in mid-November, a few weeks ago now, is that state election systems did not—the federal government did not detect any increased malicious cyber activity on Election Day or related to the administering of the elections,” he said. “So we've already made that determination, and that's something we've announced publicly from here. But in terms of what this review will look at, this is going to be a review that’s conducted by the intelligence community.”<br /><br />Computer scientists involved in the Green Party presidential recount would disagree with the White House spokesperson’s premise—saying hackers place malware in targets long before the attacks occur and can be pre-programmed for triggering events.<br /><br />The White House said it wants its new probe done before Trump is sworn in as president. But the matter is not likely to go away.<br /><br />Several members of Congress want to investigate Russian interference in the election. Reps. Eric Swalwell, D-CA and Elijah Cummings, D-MD, sponsored legislation to create a bipartisan, independent commission. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, who previously called on Congress to investigate, also wants to head up a review.<br /><br /> </p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1068608'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068608" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Sat, 10 Dec 2016 08:45:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1068608 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 2016 Election Russia hacking It Doesn't Take a Foreign Government to Hack into Our Flimsy Election System http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/it-doesnt-take-foreign-government-hack-our-flimsy-election-system <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1068571'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068571" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">As Obama launches a probe into Russia&#039;s possible role in hacking the 2016 election, voting experts warn that our systems are already vulnerable to amateur attacks. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_hacking_0.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Parallel narratives of deepening intrigue and outright denial unfolded Friday, as new revelations surfaced about Russian hacking to steer the presidential election while states showed they were afraid to look under hood to see what happened.</p><p>Out of the blue, President Obama’s national security adviser said the White House was ordering a new review of Russian hacking and interference in the 2016 election, saying there is more to be learned from that affair that benefited the GOP and Donald Trump. Later Friday, the Washington Post <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obama-orders-review-of-russian-hacking-during-presidential-campaign/2016/12/09/31d6b300-be2a-11e6-94ac-3d324840106c_story.html?utm_term=.2fad4132aa98&amp;wpisrc=al_alert-COMBO-politics%252Bnation">reported</a> a secret CIA assessment said the Russians helped Trump—which he denied.</p><p>In stark contrast, in federal court in Philadephia, lawyers for Green presidential candidate Jill Stein were challenging objections by top election officials for the right to examine Pennsylvania's aged electronic voting systems for evidence of hacking as a part of their effort to recount its presidential vote. That bench is expected to rule against Stein as early as Monday. (Also on Friday, Michigan's Supreme Court shut down that state's unfinished presidential recount, while a federal court in Wisconsin rejected a GOP suit to stop that state's recount.)</p><p>This dichotomy, of escalating claims that Russian hacking and electoral interference helped Trump win an Electoral College majoirty, and a systemic refusal by senior election officials and judges to verify the votes in 2016's key battleground states, will soon disappear under the political tsunami surrounding the White House probe—Obama's December surprise.</p><p>But before most of the media turns away from covering Stein's presidential recounts, it should heed what a handful of election integrity activists—including top Silicon Valley programmers and computer security academics at leading universities—have found as they observed the recount in Wisconsin. In short, their discovery of a major hacking pathway into widely used ballot scanners is also a pathway that could have been used to access the Democratic Party and Clinton campaign's communications.   </p><p>"Whether from abroad or from a basement in Peoria, our machines are equally susceptible,” Stein said, in a statement Friday praising Obama for launching the Rusian hacking probe, but also emphasizing there are many accessible targets to tilt the vote.</p><p><strong>The White House Bombshell </strong></p><p>Lisa Monaco, Obama’s homeland security adviser, told reporters about the new probe early Friday, using carefully measured words that didn't reveal what the WaPo reported later in the day, that the CIA had already secretly concluded that Russia helped Trump.<br /><br />“The president has directed the intelligence community to conduct a full review of what happened during the 2016 election process and to capture lessons learned from that,” she told reporters. “We may have crossed into a new threshold, and it is incumbent upon us to take stock of that, to review, to conduct some after action, to understand what this means, what has happened, and to impart those lessons learned. And that’s what we’re going to go about doing.”<br /><br />Monaco's words didn't add much to what's been said for months. During the 2016 campaign, Washington intelligence officials blamed Russia for stealing emails from the Democratic National Committee and from Hillary Clinton’s campaign staff. In October, the officials said the hacks were directed by “Russia’s senior-most officials” in an unprecedented effort to interfere in the election.</p><p>Meanwhile, as Election Day passed and election integrity activists like Barbara Simons, a computer scientist and past president of the Association for Computing Machinery, among others, were looking for clues to explain Trump's upset victories because they'd been following Russia's purported hacks of U.S. voting infrastructure from the last summer.</p><p>Federal officials said a Florida contractor managing statewide voter registration databases in key battleground states including Florida and North Carolina had been hacked—with Russia as the top suspect—and later 200,000 voters’ information was taken from Illinois. The feds issued warnings to 20 states to protect their election systems, but local officials have said there was no cause for concern, seeking to quickly change the subject. The FBI said there was no threat because most voting machines are not online.<br /><br />In the meantime, outside of official Washington, Stein's recount started. In Wisconsin, the election integrity activists discovered a previously unknown but major hacking point of entry. They found cellular phone signal modems were installed in commonly used scanners that count ballots at precincts and electronically report those counts to county central tabulators. They said commercially available tools can easily <a href="http://soaho2003.en.ec21.com/Cell_Phone_Signal_Interrupter--1942950.html">intercept</a> these cellular phone signals. It does not take much, they said, to repurpose these tools to alter data transmissions or insert malware that can implant itself into central tabulators and be poised to readjust vote counts.<br /><br />This interception technology can capture cellphone communications, Mickey Duniho, a retired National Security Agency staffer told AlterNet. In addition to possibly tampering with the vote counts, he said it could also have been one way that the Democrats and Clinton campaign communications were breached. (If this seems too much like a spy novel, recall that New York City police were caught <a href="https://www.extremetech.com/mobile/202935-new-york-police-caught-lying-over-stingray-use-spying-without-court-oversight">lying</a> about using similar spyware.) FBI Director James Comey said America's voting systems were too decentralized and unconnected to the internet, concluding they could not be hacked; but intercepting cellular modem signals is another path.</p><p><strong>Recounts Thwarted, Just When Evidence Is Needed</strong></p><p>Stein issued a statement Friday praising the White House investigation while also seeking to make the connection to the election integrity issues underlying her recount effort. It may seem like a radical series of steps to jump from observing aging vote-counting equipment that’s improperly functioning (incorrectly recording or counting ballots); to machinery that has been programmed to skip reading presidential votes (leaving missing votes for president, as in Michigan, which reported 75,000 such undervotes); to partisan agents programming paperless voting systems to readjust the totals as the count mounts (creating a pattern in which one candidate keeps winning on paper ballots (as Hillary Clinton did in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania) but keeps losing on paperless systems (as Trump did in these states). Or maybe that's not radical, but a logical application of available technologies.<br /><br />Stein’s campaign has been fighting in court—and mostly losing—for the right to conduct hand counts of all available paper ballots, which would reveal machine malfunctions or vote count tampering. She also wants to examine county electronic tabulators to see if any traces of hacking can be found, which has never been granted—and is very hard to do because voting machine manufacturers have privatized the tools used by this sector of government and consider their computer code as trade secrets. Ironically, as Stein's effort faces increasingly steep odds, the White House announcement Friday of a new investigation validates her concerns.<br /><br />"Today's extraordinary announcement by the President should make clear that the threat of hacking in this election is creating serious concern at the highest levels of our government,” Stein said Friday. “We must also stress that concerns about the security and accuracy of our election system extend into the realm of human and machine error, where there is already evidence before our eyes of widespread machine failure. We must get rid of tamper- and error-prone electronic voting machines and work toward a verifiable paper ballot system, which has long been central to the Green Party’s democracy platform.”<br /><br />“Despite overwhelming evidence and consensus from cyber-security and computer science experts that our election system is vulnerable to hacking, manipulation, malfunction and human error, the political establishment in Washington has dismissed the need for comprehensive recounts of the 2016 election,” she continued.<br /><br />That’s true, even as several members of Congress have said they want to investigate Russia’s interference in the election. Reps. Eric Swalwell, D-CA and Elijah Cummings, D-MD, sponsored legislation to create a bipartisan, independent commission. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, who previously called on Congress to investigate, said this week he would head up a review. But when it comes to looking at these issues in local elections, official Washington has turned away.<br /><br />“They have criticized it for a ‘lack of evidence,’” Stein said, “giving no regard to the simple facts that optical scan machines and black box electronic machines used in our elections have been proven to be error-prone and easily hackable, and despite the fact that 20 state voter registration databases, the DNC and personal email accounts were hacked this year. For the purpose of the recount, it doesn't matter where hacks originated."</p><p>Stein said it doesn't matter where the hackers are, "whether from abroad or from a basement in Peoria, our machines are equally susceptible.”</p><p>That last point is the most important—that whatever foreign agents can orchestrate can also be executed by locally committed partisans with the skill and motivation to win at all costs. That’s why the presidential recounts are needed to verify the vote count and expose the unreliable and vulnerable features of voting machinery. That's why it is a travesty that clues found in observing the recount in states that don't want to look under the hood could be critical links in the White House's Russia electoral hacking probe.</p><p>The White House's announcement that there is more to the Russian hacking story is a stunning reminder that cyber interference in elections is not just a nation-state affair. As the election integrity activists in Wisconsin discovered, the same software tools that can capture a presidential campaign’s e-mails also can be used to intercept vote counts and implant malware to readjust the results.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1068571'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068571" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 14:22:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1068571 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 2016 Election Russian interference Jill Stein recount election integrity activists 7 Election Integrity and Cyber Security Experts Say Stopping Michigan Recount Is a Corrupt Exercise of Power http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/7-election-integrity-and-cyber-security-experts-say-stopping-michigan-recount-corrupt-exercise-power <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1068504'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068504" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">“Americans will never know the truth about what happened.”</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/chris_thomas.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Michigan is the new Florida in American elections, an infamous state where Republican judges shut down a presidential recount before the votes were counted, leaving Americans with unanswered questions about Donald Trump’s closest margin of victory on election night, November 8. Thursday morning, no county election offices were continuing with the recount, even as Green presidential candidate Jill Stein’s campaign was taking its flght for the recount to Michigan’s Supreme Court.<br /><br />Make no mistake, a travesty has occurred. On Wednesday in courtrooms and government boardrooms across the state, a series of legal dominos fell on Stein’s statewide presidential recount. In state legal venues, the linchpin was a three-member appeals court of Republican judges who ordered a state vote canvassing board to shut down the recount. That board then voted to reverse its earlier decision allowing the recount to start. Later Wednesday evening, a federal court judge lifted his prior restraining order preventing Michigan officials from calling off the recount. On Thursday, Michigan counties had suspended the recount. “It’s stopped,” said the receptionist answering the phone at the Wayne County Election Division in Detroit.  <br /><br />What follows are seven statements from election integrity activists and computer security experts who supported the recount.<br /><br /><strong>1. John Bonifaz, co-founder and president, Free Speech For People</strong>: 
"It is an outrage that the voters of Michigan are being denied their right to have their votes properly counted. Because of a partisan state appeals court decision, Americans will never know the truth about what happened in this election. But the fight for our democracy must go on, now more than ever. History will record that, at this critical moment, people across the country stood up to demand that we verify the vote.”</p><p><strong>2. Douglas W. Jones, associate professor of computer science, University of Iowa</strong>: “In a healthy democracy, elections are run with sufficient transparency that partisans of the losing candidate can convince themselves that they lost fair and square. Recounts in close elections are a necessary part of this transparency, particularly when the margin of victory is exceeded by an unusual number of ballots that were cast without reporting any vote in the election. Trump's fight to stop the recount only serves to fuel speculation that he has something to hide.”<br /><br /><strong>3. Mark Halverson, founder and former director, Citizens of Election Integrity Minnesota</strong>: “On the basis of our research into state recount laws, I take issue with the court’s assertion that no court has ever endorsed the use of a recount for purposes of determining whether or not voting machines functioned properly and counted votes accurately. For example, Tennessee recount statutes allow 'any court, primary board, legislative body, or tribunal' with jurisdiction over election contests to initiate a recount of ballots under circumstances including an indication of fraud, or the malfunction of a voting machine, whether the malfunction would be in a sufficient amount to alter the election outcome or for 'any other instance' in which such a body 'finds that a recount is warranted.' California and Delaware have similar provisions.”<br /><br /><strong>4. Barbara Simons, board of advisers, U.S. Election Assistance Commission</strong>: The co-author of <em>Broken Ballots: Will Your Vote Count?</em> says, “Michigan citizens are fortunate to have a sound method for casting their votes: they mark paper ballots which are then counted by computers inside of scanning machines. However, computers can have software bugs, programming errors, or election-rigging malware. Fortunately, we can determine if there are any problems with the scanners by comparing what the paper ballots say to what the scanner thinks they say. But if we don't look at the paper, then we can't know if the scanners are correct. We have a choice. We can honor our democracy by routinely checking computer-declared results after <em>every</em> election. Or we can accept computer-declared results on faith, even though they may be wrong. Our democracy will fail if we continue to allow unreliable computers to decide our elections on our behalf.”</p><p><strong>5. Phillip B. Stark, associate dean of mathematical and physical sciences and professor of statistics, UC Berkeley</strong>: “This decision halts the collection of priceless evidence about how well the infrastructure of our democracy works. Counting the votes accurately and checking the count carefully should not be a partisan issue. We should check election results against cast paper ballots in every election. There are more efficient ways to do that than full recounts: we need laws that require non-partisan, risk-limiting audits to catch and correct errors. But first, we need all voters to use paper ballots, and we need all jurisdictions to protect those ballots.”<br /> <br /><strong>6. Poorvi Vora, professor of computer science, George Washington University</strong>: "Statistician Philip Stark and computer scientist David Wagner of Berkeley have defined 'evidence-based elections' as those where voters and observers are provided evidence in support of the election outcome. The recount was to have provided evidence for or against a very unusual number in the Michigan election this year: 75,000 voters—a number seven times the margin in the race—voted in the election but did not vote on president. However, in the early days of the recount, there have been reports of other, more troubling facts from this election: mismatches between voter turnout and ballots, scanners jamming, insecure storage of ballot boxes. This is not the time to stop the recount. This is the time to press on with it to obtain more evidence and understand more completely the election process in Michigan."<br /> <br /><strong>7. Dan Wallach, professor in Rice University’s Department of Computer Science and manager of Rice Computer Security Lab</strong>: “I'm disappointed that Michigan isn't seeing its recount through. We have legitimate concerns about foreign nation-states trying to manipulate our elections, and Michigan offered an important opportunity to either prove or disprove these concerns. The discrepancies in Detroit (broken seals, mismatching counts) already point to flaws in Michigan's election processes that need to be improved, and even a recount that failed to change the outcome would be able to provide a definitive count of how many Michigan votes were handled so poorly that they cannot be properly recounted.”<br /><br /><strong>Recount Continues in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin</strong></p><p>The Stein campaign also filed for recounts in Wisconsin, which started last week, and in Pennsylvania, which has gotten off to a rough start and where it has sued the state in federal court over what it says are unconstitutional obstructions to the process.<br /><br />Pennsylvania’s election system allows for a state-run recount if the margin of victory is less than 0.5 percent, which is slightly below Donald Trump’s latest lead over Hillary Clinton. That has prompted the Stein campaign to try to file for citizen-initiated recounts, where any three voters from one precinct can submit notarized petitions. As of midweek, 1,300 voters filed petitions, but many jurisdictions either refused to take them or haven’t acted on them. Republicans have also filed legal challenges, tying up recounts in courts, where more often than not local judges have rejected the recount.<br /><br />When the Stein campaign filed a legal petition seeking a statewide recount with 100 signatures on it, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court demanded that they pay $1 million to be able to move forward with their case, which prompted the Stein campaign to sue the state in federal court. The case will be heard Friday. In Wisconsin, where the recount is nearing completion, the state inexplicably more than tripled its estimated $1.1 million filing fee to $3.5 million, which Stein's campaign paid.<br /><br />But the most dubious opposition to recounting the ballots was in Michigan, where the state election department told counties they could disqualify local precincts from a recount if there is discrepancy between the number of voters in a precinct’s poll book and the number of ballots in the ballot box. That standard meant 392 of 662 precincts in heavily Democratic Detroit—or 59 percent—of the precincts were deemed ineligible for a recount.<br /><br />In interviews with the Detroit Free Press, nationally known election scholars <a href="http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2016/12/07/michigan-recount-ballot-election/95058326/">criticized</a> that disqualifying standard. Larry Norden, Democracy Program deputy director at the Brennan Center at NYU Law School, said, “It seems like to have such a strict rule is a bad idea because it potentially incentivizes someone who doesn't want a recount.” The Free Press added, “Norden said a rogue poll worker could simply add one name to the poll book at the end of the evening to ensure the precinct couldn't be recounted.”<br /><br />Ed Foley, an election law expert at Moritz Law School in Ohio also <a href="http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2016/12/07/michigan-recount-ballot-election/95058326/">said</a> Michigan’s disqualifying standard was out of step with other states. “In most states, if it’s [precinct ballot totals and poll book sign-ins] only off by one or two, it’s usually poll worker error and absent any other evidence of fraud or impropriety, they’ll treat the ballots as valid. The thinking is that those mistakes even out. Michigan is sort of out of step with that prevailing practice.”<br /><br />But like Wisconsin, where state actors changed the rules in the middle of the recount process, Michigan Republicans have not stopped going after the Greens. In their GOP-controlled legislature, the House Elections Committee has passed and sent to the floor a bill retroactively <a href="http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/12/house_bill_would_amend_michiga.html">requiring</a> the Stein campaign to pay more for the recount.  <br /><br /><strong>Not What Democracy Looks Like</strong></p><p>Voting in the presidential election didn’t start on November 8. It began weeks before, where civil rights attorneys in many states were in court to prevent partisan election officials, almost all Republicans, from creating barriers to the vote such as closing early voting sites in communities of color and toughening voter ID laws to get a ballot. And the presidential election didn’t end after Election Day, when states took weeks to officially certify their counts and a call came to verify the vote count in the states that purportedly elected Trump.<br /><br />Americans need to know who elected Trump and why, instead of seeing a morass of vote count obstructionism that’s as alarming as the October surprise delivered by a partisan FBI, which targeted Hillary Clinton in the final weeks of the campaign. While the Clinton campaign refused to demand accountability on behalf of its voters, Stein’s campaign surprisingly took on the job. What did her 100,000-plus small donors get for their millions? They have placed new election integrity issues before the nation. They showed it is not just partisan voter suppression before and on Election Day, but a rickety ballot and vote counting machinery manned by too many officials who don’t want to account for votes, compounded by partisan courts pre-empting the vote count, that sit at the center of the electoral process. Perhaps American elections have always been this way, but many voters do not think that’s the way a democracy is supposed to function.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1068504'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068504" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:15:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1068504 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 2016 recounts Michigan 2016 Recount on the Verge of Being Blocked by Trump and GOP http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/election-2016/michigan-2016-recount-verge-being-blocked-trump-and-gop <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1068480'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068480" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Local election officials in key counties are not helping.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-12-07_at_4.30.51_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>The Trump campaign and Michigan Republicans won a series of legal rulings Wednesday that may be the beginning of the end of the presidential recount in the state where Hillary Clinton stood the best chance of overturning Donald Trump's election night victory.</p><p>While the Greens said they would file appeals, Green presidential candidate Jill Stein’s attempt to verify the vote in the three states giving Donald Trump an Electoral College majority faced a rough road Wednesday. Opposition from Republican court challenges and local election officials mounted during the day and a federal court judge lifted a previous order stopping Michigan officials from shutting down the recount that started only two days before.</p><p>"We are deeply disappointed in [U.S. District Court] Judge Goldsmith's ruling today, which gives deference to partisan state judges in Michigan who are attempting to block the state's recount simply because of the person who made the request, without regard for the integrity of Michigan's electoral system," Stein's lawyers said in a statement, vowing to appeal to the state Supreme Court to challenge a Michigan election board's 3-1 vote earlier in the day to cancel the recount.</p><p>"The history of this country is one where federal courts step in to protect the constitutional voting rights of all Americans, especially when they are under attack in the states," Stein's lawyers said. "Well today, they are under brutal attack. Backed by Michigan Republicans, Donald Trump—who himself has repeatedly alleged widespread voter fraud and a 'rigged election'—suddenly sees no need for a routine verification of the democratic process in Michigan. His efforts to suppress the vote count is a stunning about-face, even by Trump's own standards."</p><p>The Stein campaign's Michigan recount is now hanging by the thinnest of threads, as its last resort, Michigan's Supreme Court, has two justices on it who Trump has named as possible U.S. Supreme Court nominees. The Stein campaign filed motions Tuesday to remove those justices from hearing their appeal.</p><p>"Make no mistake, we are not backing down from this fight—a fight to protect the hard-fought, hard-won civil and voting rights of all Americans," Stein's lawyers said. "Our campaign will seek immediate relief in Michigan's Supreme Court to ensure the recount that is already underway in all Michigan counties continues. With so many irregularities in Michigan — including more than 75,000 under-votes, many in urban areas, and widespread carelessness, and perhaps interference, with preserving ballots — there is a real possibility the rights of voters in Michigan may have been suppressed during this election. We need this recount to ensure the fairness, accuracy and integrity of the vote."</p><p><strong>A House of Cards</strong></p><p>Goldsmith's ruling capped a day in which difficulties were unfolding in the three recount states—Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. But it was Michigan where the recount effort seemed most imperiled, showing just how hard it is to recount presidential ballots and bring trust-inspiring transparency to the vote count process.<br /><br />Earlier Wednesday, Stein's campaign was emphasizing that all Michigan counties had begun their recounts. But throughout most of the day, state election officials, the Stein campaign, the Trump campaign and its allies like Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette waited for a federal district court judge to rule on whether the recount could continue and whether he would lift an order barring the state from stopping the recount. The state board that launched the recount Monday voted Wednesday to <a href="http://www.freep.com/story/news/politics/2016/12/07/board-canvassers-recesses-recount-hearing-till-1-pm/95084944/">reverse</a> its decision, meaning state election officials may seek to suspend the recount while the case goes before its high court.<br /><br />But Wednesday's legal jousting was not the only resistance to verifying Michigan’s vote. Clinton lost Michigan by under 11,000 votes. Across the state—notably in southeast counties where Hillary Clinton won by a two-to-one margin in communities of color—local election officials were disqualifying an astounding number of precincts from being recounted. This is the region with the greatest potential for a Clinton upset, because it is where tens of thousands of scanned ballots did not record a presidential vote.</p><p>In Detroit, for example, hundreds of precincts—59 percent—were disqualified from the recount because officials found sloppy record-keeping such as precinct-level paper ballot totals not matching the number of voters who signed poll books, or the boxes storing paper ballots had damaged seals.</p><p>Thus, while the Stein campaign is fighting the recount in court, the reality on the ground is local election officials, backed by the state election director, were refusing to look at ballots that would verify if Trump was the winner and could begin to confirm that many people, 75,000 statewide, didn’t vote for president—or plausibly, didn’t have their ink-marked paper ballots correctly scanned.<br /><br />Attorneys working with election integrity activists independent of the Stein campaign identified sections in Michigan election law that explicitly said “canvassers”—the term for the local officials overseeing the recounts—have the “power and authority” to examine all of the ballots, and can decide whether or not to proceed when discrepancies surface. Nobody has filed any lawsuits over that standard, because of the higher stakes litigation. Nonetheless, Michigan is not just showing that the Trump campaign and its allies can stop a legitimate democratic process, but it is also spotlighting how local election officials are turning away from investigating perhaps the most easily solvable question: the presidential undervotes. Hand recounts would reveal whether voters marked their ballots.<br /> <br /><strong>Wisconsin</strong></p><p>Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, which has been recounting ballots since last week and is 70 percent complete, it does not appear a Clinton upset is in the making. However, election integrity activists discovered what could be a major pathway for electronically altering the reported vote count—which the Stein campaign has cited in its legal pleadings as a rationale for verifying the vote and needs to be investigated. They submitted affidavits by more than a half-dozen top computer scientists saying this is a legitimate concern.<br /><br />In Milwaukee and other counties, the activists found that one of the most widely used ballot scanners in the state has a built-in cellular phone modem to wirelessly submit precinct vote totals to a countywide tabulator. That raises the question of whether the electronically transmitted totals match the paper ballots. In many locales, that question is going unanswered. That's because key suburban counties where the activists want to take a closer look are not recounting paper ballots by hand. They are rescanning them, after Stein lost a state court legal fight over hand recounts. Each county can decide how to recount and two-thirds are doing hand counts.<br /><br />Thus, it looks like Wisconsin’s recount is not going to reverse Trump’s 22,000-vote lead. On Tuesday, the Associated Press said he had widened his margin by 146 votes, with 23 of the state’s 72 counties finishing the recoun. In those completed counties, Trump gained 105 votes and Clinton lost 41. On Friday, a federal court will hear a suit filed by pro-Trump super PACs to stop the recount.<br /><br />In Wisconsin and Michigan, in differing ways and above and beyond the court fights, many election officials are dodging hand counts to verify the computer-produced vote count totals. Moreover, when activists spotlight a issue worthy of investigation, such as the celluar connectivity of Wisconsin's voting machines, their concerns are not being addressed or incorporated.  <br /><br /><strong>Pennsylvania</strong></p><p>That same frustrating scenario was also evident in Pennsylvania Wednesday, when a Philadelphia court rejected Stein’s motion to conduct a full “forensic analysis of voting machines and their software.” That would attempt to see if precinct vote totals had been electronically altered en route to countywide tabulators.<br /><br />Elsewhere across the state, there are other obstacles. Many counties are refusing to act on citizen-initiated recount petitions, a process in which any three voters from a single precinct can file a notarized request and pay a nominal fee to launch a recount. Organizer Aquene Fairchild said that 1,300 petitions had been submitted statewide in 375 precincts, but “at least 50 were turned away when they tried to file.”<br /><br />That pattern of obstructionism prompted the Stein campaign to file a federal lawsuit Monday, calling the state’s election system “a national disgrace” and demanding a full statewide recount. A hearing will be held Friday. Meanwhile, the state’s Republican Party and Trump campaign warned that the lawsuit threatens Pennsylvania's ability to certify its election before the December 13 federal deadline, which starts the Electoral College clock. The Electoral College meets December 19.<br /><br />Elsewhere in the state, the closer activists looked at the reported vote counts, the more serious questions emerged. Academics not working for the Stein campaign said their analysis of the latest vote counts in 10 Philly-area counties found, as of Sunday night, showed that Clinton was ahead by 6.2 percent on the paper ballots—mostly absentee and overseas military votes—while Trump led by 6.8 percent on the paperless voting machinery. It is an open question whether that disparity will be officially explored.<br /><br />Trump's lead over Clinton is now about 44,000 out of more than 6 million votes cast in Pennsylvania. That is still just short of Pennsylvania's 0.5 percent trigger for an automatic statewide recount. Meanwhile, the state's top consitutional officers, including the Secretary of the Commonwealth overseeing any recount, are all Democrats who have not supported the Greens.</p><p>As of Wednesday, the Stein campaign raised more than $7 million from individual contributions averaging under $50 to pursue the recount. Their investment may not change the presidential results, but they are spotlighting exactly why Americans do not have the answers they deserve to explain how Trump apparently won and where his base resides.</p><p>That does little to advance the public's confidence in elections. Regardless of Stein's legal fights, local election officials in key counties who are resisting hand-counts are not taking the high road. Whether they know it or not, these civil servants who otherwise believe deeply in democracy have tarnished their profession. There's nothing good for America in that. </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1068480'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068480" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 16:33:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1068480 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 2016 recount Michigan Election Officials Refuse to Recount Thousands of Ballots in State's Communities of Color http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/election-2016/michigan-election-officials-refuse-recount-thousands-ballots-states-communities-color <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1068413'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068413" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Fifty-nine percent of Detroit&#039;s precincts disqualified.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-12-06_at_2.59.59_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>The Green Party’s best chance to overturn a statewide victory by Donald Trump has run into a swamp of dubious election protocols in Michigan, where Detroit officials said nearly two-thirds of the precincts cannot be recounted because of poor record-keeping on or after election night—presumably the rationale for a recount.<br /><br />That unexpected hurdle, which was also present in other southeastern Michigan counties with communities of color such as Flint and Lansing and where Hillary Clinton won by the largest <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/president">margins</a>, emerged as the Trump campaign and Republicans pursued appeals in federal and state courts to block the recount. (Late Tuesday, the two courts issued contradictory rulings allowing it to continue.)</p><p>Meanwhile, in the state's legislature, a House committee passed a bill retroactively requiring the Greens to pay more for the recount.<br /><br />“Donald Trump and GOP allies in Michigan are launching an attack against the recount, and attempting to strip the constitutional and civil rights of Michigan voters who are demanding that their voices be heard,” Jill Stein said earlier Tuesday. Her campaign is focused on verifying whether over 75,000 people did not cast votes for president in a state Trump leads by under 11,000 votes.</p><p>“In addition to verifying the reliability of our voting machines, this recount has begun to expose a modern-day electoral Jim Crow," Stein said. "Hand-counting the ballots has revealed many irregularities and red flags about the quality and maintenance of voting technology, the handling of ballots, and other aspects of election administration in communities of color. This raises serious questions about whether historically marginalized communities have been massively disenfranchised during this election.”   <br /><br />Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, where it <a href="http://elections.wi.gov/publications/statistics/recount/2016/12-6-spreadsheet#attachments">does not</a> appear Clinton will emerge as the winner in the recount, election integrity activists not working for Stein have discovered a serious security vulnerability to voting systems in many counties including Milwaukee, where ballot scanners have cellphone network SIM cards to transmit precinct vote totals to the county office. The state has said no Wisconsin voting systems are connected to the internet to guard against hackers, but one computer scientist who filed an affidavit supporting the Greens' lawsuit for hand-counting ballots said such connectivity was standard—and accessible to hackers.<br /><br />“There are hacks involving the public switched telephone network that are quite distinct from internet hacks, but just as dangerous,” said Doug Jones, a University of Iowa associate professor of computer science. “I would not be shocked to find that the [ESS ballot scanner] DS200 is vulnerable to some of these, but I do not know it to be vulnerable.” In other words, Jones, who has studied voting machines for many years, said the election integrity activists have legitimate concerns, even if he has not seen counts compromised this way. "I don't find this surprising," he said. "It appears that numerous communications options are available, and Milwaukee has selected the one that doesn't require them to make sure that polling places have landlines."<br /><br />The Green Party has launched presidential recounts in three states, which is unprecedented. In the third state, Pennsylvania, it filed a federal suit this week seeking to impound electronic voting machines to look for signs of tampering with vote totals. While many people outside computing circles dismiss that possibility, the Greens are pursuing and evaluating a complicated spectrum of political, legal and cyber tactics that could tilt the vote count. (In Pennsylvania, where top election officials have rejected this scenario, news reports Tuesday <a href="http://www.post-gazette.com/business/tech-news/2016/12/05/Pittsburgh-FBI-office-has-hand-in-dismantling-International-cybercrime-network-of-servers-called-Avalanche/stories/201612050166">said</a> Pittsburgh’s top prosecutor’s office was hacked last year and paid a $1,400 ransom to unlock its files.)  <br /><br /><strong>Michigan Barriers Emerge</strong></p><p>The recount’s biggest developments Tuesday were in Michigan, where the day started with the growing revelation that thousands of ballots in the counties most solidly behind Clinton were being deemed ineligible for the recount.<br /><br />Trump leads here by less than 11,000 votes, promoting many observers to say that Clinton’s best chance to close that gap would be in Wayne County, home of Detroit, where she won by a two-to-one margin. But shortly after the recount began Monday, local officials discovered that many precincts would be excluded from the recount because precinct ballot totals didn't match the number of voters signing poll books.</p><p>“It’s not good,” Daniel Baxter, Detroit’s elections director, <a href="http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2016/12/05/recount-unrecountable/95007392/">told</a> the Detroit News Monday, saying that at least 87 ballot scanners failed on Election Day, with many jamming. In 392 of the city’s 662 voting precincts, vote totals recorded on the machines did not match the number of voters signing in, he said, disqualifying 59 percent of the city's precincts from the recount.<br /><br />There were equally murky problems reported in other Michigan counties that disqualified precincts from the recount, <a href="http://www.detroitnews.com/videos/news/politics/2016/12/05/ingham-county-clerk-explains-how-precincts-can-non-recountable/95014330/">explained</a> local election officials like Barb Byrum, county clerk of Ingham, where Lansing is located. If there’s damage to the plastic containers storing the ballots, or if the seal number on the containers doesn’t match the poll books, “then there is a very good possibility that precinct will not be recountable,” she said. “The [state] Bureau of Elections is here to guide this process along.”  <br /><br />“In the first six hours of Ingham County’s recount Monday, six of 30 precincts from Lansing could not be recounted,” the Detroit News reported. “One of the ballot containers had a hole in it, making it susceptible to tampering and not recountable."<br /><br />These disqualifications, which election observers from outside Michigan said were astounding as they underscore the reason for verifying the vote, are <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brianna-fritz/detroit-elections_b_4372763.html">well-known</a> to civil rights lawyers in Michigan, who for years have been urging the state to raise its standards. Outside lawyers observing the recount sent memos Tuesday citing Michigan election law (Sections 871 and 872, of Act 116 of 1954) that states, “Canvassers shall have full power and authority to subpoena witnesses and open any ballot box, regardless of the condition in which the same may be found, and may break open, if sealed, the seal thereon and examine the ballots.”<br /><br />When asked about the apparent contradiction between recount practices in Detroit and surrounding counties, and Michigan election law, Fred Woodhams, spokesman for the Michigan Department of State, replied, “I want to check in with elections leadership about it. They are all at a court hearing right now. It is doubtful I’ll be able to respond to you today.”<br /><br />That hearing, at the Michigan Court of Appeals, a three-member Republican bench, was the GOP’s latest attempt to shut down the recount. The appeals court held a hearing on lawsuits from Trump's campaign and state Attorney General Bill Schuette, who are arguing that the recount should end because Stein's petition was “deficient” and because she “has no possible opportunity to win Michigan’s electoral votes.”</p><p>The Greens, however, want to know why there were 75,335 “undervotes” in the state, or ballots that were filled out except for the selection of president. “Many of these are in Oakland and Wayne counties, which include Detroit, raising the very real possibility that communities of color may have been disenfranchised by an unreliable counting of the votes,” the Green Party Tuesday press statement said. “The number of under-votes exceeds by several-fold Trump's margin of victory in the state.”<br /><br />Late Tuesday, the Michigan appeals court directed the Board of State Canvassers to reject Stein's recount petition, but did not order the recount to be stopped, because as numerous experts have pointed out, their hands are tied by a U.S. District Court ruling ordering it to commence. Later Tuesday, that federal court also said the recount should continue.</p><p>The Greens were anticipating they might lose in state appeals court and be forced to take their fight to Michigan’s Supreme Court. On Tuesday, the Stein campaign filed papers to disqualify two Michigan Supreme Court justices from hearing cases related to the recount.</p><p>“Chief Justice Robert Young Jr. and Justice Joan Larsen have been mentioned by Donald Trump as potential nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court, and their involvement in the case would create an appearance of impropriety,” the summary said. "[Both justices] have a substantial personal and professional interest in the election of Trump as president and in conducting themselves in a way which is favorable to him and/or hostile to, among others, other candidates for president," wrote Mark Brewer, Stein's lawyer.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1068413'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068413" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 06 Dec 2016 15:00:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1068413 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 2016 preisdential recount Trump Defeated by Judge Who Orders Immediate Recount in Michigan http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/election-2016/trump-defeated-judge-who-orders-immediate-recount-michigan <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1068317'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068317" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Election 2016 update: Jill Stein campaign says Pennsylvania&#039;s election system is such a mess it &quot;might make Kafka proud.&quot;</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-12-05_at_9.10.40_am.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>The Green Party’s push for presidential recounts swung into high gear early Monday as a federal judge in Michigan dismissed GOP objections and ordered that state’s recount to begin immediately, and Jill Stein’s campaign filed a federal suit seeking a statewide recount in Pennsylvania, whose election system they called a “national disgrace.”<br /><br /><strong>Michigan Federal Court</strong></p><p>The court victory came early Monday, when U.S. Court District Judge Mark Goldsmith granted the campaign’s emergency request to start the statewide recount immediately. His opinion, issued just after midnight, said a state law requiring a two-business-day waiting period to start the recount likely violates voting rights. “The fundamental right invoked by plaintiffs—the right to vote, and to have that vote conducted fairly and counted accurately—is the bedrock of our nation,” he said, ordering the recount to begin Monday at noon.<br /><br />Goldsmith dismissed objections by Donald Trump’s campaign and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, a Republican, that sought to block or delay the recount, saying further delay would throw into doubt the authority of the state’s Electoral College vote, scheduled for December 19, thereby voiding Michigan voters' input into selecting the next president.<br /><br />“Without completion of the recount, any controversy regarding which candidate’s electors had been elected in the November 8 election might ultimately be decided by Congress, rather than conclusively determined by Michigan,” the federal judge wrote. “Plaintiffs here have shown a credible threat that the recount, if delayed, would not be completed by the 'safe harbor' day [a week before, when the state’s votes are to be submitted].”  <br /><br />Goldsmith said the arguments by the Trump campaign and Schuette were flimsy—he called them “unavailing"—saying that they would not be harmed by a recount, but “the recount would likely ease their burden somewhat,” and rejected the state GOP’s argument that they needed more time to make travel arrangements for observers. “Michigan Republican Party briefly argued that the changes to the recount schedule have caused it some logistical problems concerning flight and hotel reservations booked for people,” he wrote, “but this concern must yield to the constitutional rights at issue here.”<br /><br />There are still two pending lawsuits in Michigan that could interrupt the process. The Board of State Canvassers deadlocked Friday on a motion by Trump to block the recount, which led the Green Party to file in federal court seeking the emergency order for it to begin—granted by Goldsmith. That lawsuit and one filed by the state’s attorney general against Michigan’s Bureau of Elections is still pending.<br /> <br />“Despite all the obstacles that Donald Trump and his cronies in the political establishment have thrown in the way of this democratic process, we are excited to be pushing forward with the recount set to begin on Monday,” said a Stein aid Monday. “Eighty percent of Americans were disgusted with this election, and many people resonated with Donald Trump's assertion as a candidate that the election was rigged. Now 62 percent of Americans, including a plurality of his own voters, believe Donald Trump would be calling for a recount if he had not been declared winner. The American people are clamoring for a voting system that we can trust—and to bring about that system, we must conduct this recount on behalf of all citizens to verify the vote and earn public confidence in our elections.”<br /> <br />The Stein campaign is hoping a Michigan recount, in which paper ballots that were marked with pens will be counted by hand, will resolve the question of why there were 75,335 “under-votes”—ballots that were scanned by electronic devices but did not register a vote for president. That percentage is about 70 percent more than in 2014. “Many of these are in Oakland and Wayne Counties, which include Detroit, raising the very real possibility that communities of color may have been disenfranchised by an erroneous counting of the votes,” the campaign said. “The number of under-votes exceeds by several-fold Trump's margin of victory in the state.”</p><p><strong>Pennsylvania’s 'National Disgrace'</strong></p><p>The campaign also filed a federal suit in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in a hard-hitting complaint that described why the state’s voting machinery and procedures are a “national disgrace,” and sought an immediate hand recount of the paper ballots in counties where they are electronically scanned and a “thorough forensic examination of a reasonable sample of DRE [direct recording electronic] voting systems” used by a majority of the state.<br /><br />“The Pennsylvania election system is a national disgrace,” the complaint said. “Voters are forced to use vulnerable, hackable, antiquated technology banned in other states, then rely on the kindness of machines. There is no paper trail. Voting machines are electoral black sites: no one permits voters or candidates to examine them.”</p><p>“After Election Day, voters are equally helpless to make sure their votes are counted,” the lawsuit continued. “The Election Code requires 27,474 voters in 9,158 districts to bring notarized petitions to county boards, in time for shifting, divergent, and secret deadlines known to no one except, perhaps, 67 separate county election boards. In court recounts, voters must pay exorbitant fees, and (according to boards of elections) should only one voter fail to sign a single petition in a single district anywhere in the State, no one can seek a recount anywhere. This labyrinthine, incomprehensible, and impossibly burdensome election regime might make Kafka proud. But for ordinary voters, it is a disaster.”</p><p>The federal court filing was provoked by a series of escalating slights from an array of state and county officials that blocked the possibility of a recount.<br /><br />The most egregious was a decision by Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court to demand that the 100-plus voters who petitioned for a statewide recount post a $1 million fee to be able to move forward with their case. As the Green Party's federal lawsuit aid said, “Petitioners are regular citizens of ordinary means. They cannot afford to post the $1,000,000 bond required by the Court.”<br /><br />Elsewhere, Trump and his GOP allies have tried to exploit the state’s dated election laws and opaque election bureaucracy to block the Green Party’s citizen-initiated recounts, in which hundreds of volunteers have submitted petitions to county boards of elections from at least three voters in every precinct to start a presidential recount in that tiny jurisdiction. The citizen-initiated process was unfolding again a backdrop of county election boards reporting their official presidential results to the state. By last Thursday, Trump’s lead in the state fell from roughly 70,000 to 40,000 votes, which is within 0.3% of triggering an automatic statewide recount. That led Trump to file an objection in state court, claiming that following through with the recount would somehow “put Pennsylvania at grave risk.”<br /> <br />Meanwhile, lawyers for the Republican Party have tried to block the recount in courthouses from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. In Montgomery County, the GOP alleged that voters could not file their recount affidavits because they allegedly failed to pay a “required” $50 court filing fee, even though the voters paid almost double that fee. Trump’s surrogates argued that it requires 27,000 voters in all the state’s 9,163 precincts to request a recount in order for the voters in any single precinct to be recounted.<br /><br />The Stein campaign’s federal lawsuit seeks to pull the process out of these nuts-and-bolts weeds and restore the focus on the big-picture—namely, was the vote count accurate or was there any evidence of tampering with it.<br /><br />“In the 2016 presidential election, rife with foreign interference documented by American intelligence agencies and hacks of voter rolls in multiple states, voters deserve the truth. Were Pennsylvania votes counted accurately?” the complaint said. “That truth is not difficult to learn: simply count the paper ballots in optical scan districts, and permit forensic examination of the electronic voting systems in DRE districts. This can be done in days, by top experts, if necessary at the Stein campaign’s expense, under the supervision of election officials, and without endangering a single vote.”</p><p>“A majority of machines voted for Donald Trump in Pennsylvania. But who did the people vote for?” they summed up, restating the core of the issues as seen by the election integrity movement, which has argued for a decade that computer voting systems are uniquely vulnerable to manipulation by political insiders in ways that are akin to old-fashioned ballot box stuffing. “Absent this Court’s intervention, Pennsylvanians will never know that truth.”</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1068317'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068317" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 09:11:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1068317 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 green party 2016 recounts federal court pennsylvania michigan Greens Heading Into Federal Court on Monday to Seek Statewide Pennsylvania Recount http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/election-2016/greens-heading-federal-court-monday-seek-statewide-pennsylvania-recount <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1068266'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068266" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Media reports that they pulled the plug are wrong.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-12-03_at_9.56.14_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>The Greens' fight for a presidential recount in Pennsylvania is anything but over, a top lawyer for Jill Stein’s presidential campaign said late Saturday, saying it plans to file a federal suit on Monday seeking “emergency relief” after facing anti-democratic, unconstitutional obstacles in the state.<br /><br />“Make no mistake – the Stein campaign will continue to fight for a statewide recount in Pennsylvania,” said Jonathan Abady, the lead counsel to the Stein recount efforts. “We are committed to this fight to protect the civil and voting rights of all Americans.”<br /><br />Mainstream media incorrectly reported Saturday that the Greens' decision to withdraw its suit seeking a statewide recount in Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court meant that Stein had decided to call off the effort to verify the vote in Pennsylvania, one of three states that gave an apparent Electoral College majority to Donald Trump.<br /><br />The more complete picture is the Greens are turning to federal court because of obstacles faced in the state—such as a judge in one suburban Philadelphia county who threw out scores of notarized citizen recount petitions without comment, to other instances of violating a constitutional process.  <br /><br />“Over the past several days, it has become clear that the barriers to verifying the vote in Pennsylvania are so pervasive and that the state court system is so ill-equipped to address this problem that we must seek federal court intervention,” Abady said. “As a result, on Monday the Stein campaign will escalate our campaign in Pennsylvania and file for emergency relief in federal court, demanding a statewide recount on constitutional grounds.”<br /><br />The move to federal court comes as a parallel effort has unfolded across the state. For the past week, hundreds of volunteers in Pennsylvania have set in motion a citizen-initiated recount effort. Under state law, a recount can be undertaken if three voters from any precinct sign a petition. The Greens have turned in hundreds and hundreds of petition for citizen-initiated recounts, racing against a closing five-day filing window that varied from county to county. Those recounts, which, amount to a patchwork quilt compared to what’s unfolding in Wisconsin and Michigan, where state election officials are overseeing statewide recounts, will still continue, the campaign said.<br /><br />“Stein’s campaign intends to continue its county-by-county recount effort in Pennsylvania,” Larry Otter, one of Stein’s Pennsylvania-based lawyers <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/presidential/20161204_Jill_Stein_campaign_drops_recount_effort_in_Pa_.html">told</a> the Philadelphia Inquirer. “A recount in Philadelphia is already underway in 75 of the city’s more than 1,600 divisions. Judges in Bucks and Delaware counties will hear arguments this week on whether to grant recounts.”<br /><br />The Wisconsin recount started Thursday, although Republicans filed a suit on Friday to stop it. The Michigan recount was supposed to start Friday, but the Trump campaign and Republican state attorney general filed motions and lawsuits to stop it, which has slowed that process. Barring court intervention, it is slated to begin early next week.</p><p><strong>Recount Field Reports</strong><br />Eyewitness reports from Wisconsin and Pennsylvania posted on Stein’s website describe a process that can be chaotic and frustrating in one location and efficient and professional in another.<br /><br />“They will not be showing us the voter logs (the book where the voters sign in),” <a href="http://www.jill2016.com/parecountfilings">wrote</a> Camille in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. “They will not be showing us the provisional ballots that were rejected, nor will they tell us how many were rejected nor why they were rejected. They refused to do a forensic audit and refused to let us check that the [security] seal of the PROM was intact.”  <br /><br />“The clerks and tabulators were amazingly organized, polite and professional,” <a href="http://www.jill2016.com/wireports">wrote</a> Karen, from Dane County, Wisconsin, one of the bluest in the state. “Everything was sorted, marked, and counted twice per pile (without telling the second counter what number the first counter came to). In the first five wards of Waunakee, only three absentee or provisional ballots were rejected. One was a provisional ballot where the person had not brought proper i.d. to the polls. The lady never returned. Another rejected ballot was an absentee ballot with no witness address. The final rejected ballot was from someone who was not a registered voter and hadn’t filled out a provisional ballot. I did not see who these votes would have been for.”<br /><br />However, other reports from election integrity activists not associated with the Stein campaign but who traveled from other states to observe saw things that concerned them. Under a state court ruling last week, Wisconsin county election offices can decided how to count the ballots—by hand or using the electronic scanners. The Stein campaign argued for hand counts.<br /><br />“I would characterize Milwaukee County's operation as controlled chaos,” one legal observer wrote. “The operation is massive. They are located in a huge warehouse. The City of Milwaukee recount is being conducted in one large room and the suburban municipalities are conducting theirs in another. The canvass board meets in a spot between the two rooms using microphones so all can hear. Trump observers are aggressively challenging here but the board seems to be ruling on disputes in a way to honor voter intent and allow ballots to count whenever possible. For example, 519 ballots in one Milwaukee ward lacked clerk signatures and they ruled to count them. We seem to have a sufficient number of observers to cover all tables.<br /><br />“We had a nice conversation with Clerk-Elect George Christianson, currently deputy clerk, and he agreed that a hand count would have been better,” the observer wrote. “At the least, he said, it would have been preferable to hand count some percentage of the precincts.”<br /> </p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1068266'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068266" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 22:05:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1068266 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 2016 presidential recount Trump Campaign and GOP Allies in Full Legal Panic as Recounts Could Create Electoral College Crisis http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/election-2016/trump-campaign-and-gop-allies-full-legal-panic-recounts-could-create-electoral-college <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1068223'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068223" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Invoking Bush v. Gore to stop them or ignore the results.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-12-02_at_1.57.22_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Republicans are panicking because the Green Party’s presidential recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania could prevent Donald Trump from receiving 270 Electoral College votes—the final hurdle to the presidency—on December 19.<br /><br />In the past 24 hours, the Trump campaign and its GOP allies in the three states that gave him an apparent Electoral College victory after on November 8 have filed lawsuits and legal motions to block, delay and freeze the recounts. In the case of Michigan, where Trump’s lead is smallest, 10,704 votes, the state's Republican attorney general is arguing the recount's results should be ignored.<br /><br />“If a recount cannot be accomplished by the ‘safe harbor’ date [a week before the Electoral College meets], or if it is started but not finished by that date, then the State Defendants must, on or before December 13, 2016, certify to the federal government the initial elector results announced on November 28, 2016,” Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said in his <a href="https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/MIAG/2016/12/02/file_attachments/688881/2016.12.01%2B-%2BSchuette%2BBrief%2Bon%2BRecount.pdf">lawsuit</a> filed against the Michigan board overseeing the recount and its state election director.    <br /><br />The Trump campaign filed a similar complaint Thursday against Michigan's Board of State Canvassers, saying Stein has no basis for the recount because she has no grievance and no chance of winning—ignoring that presidential candidates, even in minor parties, have standing under state and federal law.</p><p>By midday Friday, the canvassers board had met to consider the Trump campaign's motion and <a href="http://patch.com/michigan/detroit/donald-trump-expected-contest-michigan-vote-recount">deadlocked</a> along partisan lines. That means the recount will resume next week, barring other appeals and court orders. Thus, the Trump campaign’s first legal move in Michigan has delayed the start, and therefore the finish of the recount, increasing the likelihood of an upcoming legal fight over whether the state's Electoral College members can vote by December 19.<br /><br />But Trump allies have filed even more eyebrow-raising lawsuits in the other states. </p><p>In Wisconsin, where counties started recounting ballots Thursday, two super PACs supporting Trump, Great America PAC and Stop Hillary PAC, <a href="http://support.greatamericapac.com/recountdocs.pdf">sued</a> in federal district court to stop the recount, citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s intervention in Florida in 2000 where they stopped a recount and awarded the presidency to George W. Bush. That decision followed the twisted logic that since Florida counties weren’t following identical procedures, Bush did not receive equal treatment under the law. (In Wisconsin, counties have differing voting machinery and local officials have discretion to decide if they want to recount votes by hand or electronically.)  <br /><br />“The recount will be conducted in a manner that violates the requirements set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court in <em>Bush v. Gore</em> for recounts in presidential elections,” the pro-Trump super PACs <a href="http://support.greatamericapac.com/recountdocs.pdf">argued</a>. “Because Wisconsin law lacks adequate protections to ensure that similarly completely ballots will be afforded similar treatment, both within the same county and across different counties, the recount should be enjoined to prevent further Equal Protection violations from tainting the outcome of the election.”<br /><br />Besides harshly dismissing the recount, the super PACS, like the Michigan attorney general, are only seeing what they want to see in the legal precedents cited. In <em>Bush v. Gore</em>, the Supreme Court said its equal protection ruling was not to be applied to another case. Moreover, the Greens last week sued Wisconsin’s election oversight board seeking a uniform statewide standard, hand-counting of ballots. A judge agreed that was a good idea, but said she could not order it under state law.<br /><br />The pro-Trump super PACs also said that should a recount continue past December 13, when the state is supposed to certify the winner, the recount should be stopped and Trump should be declared the winner for Electoral College purposes. “Because there is no reasonable assurance the recount can accurately and carefully be conducted within that timeframe, this Court should enjoin the recount to prevent careless mistakes from tainting the results of the election, or incomplete or partial results to cast a pall over President-Elect Trump’s victory.”</p><p>Later Friday, U.S. District Court Judge James Peterson denied the super PACs' motion to halt the recount, saying there was no harm in letting the process continue. He scheduled a hearing for next Friday on the underlying lawsuit.<br /><br />However, it is the Pennsylvania lawsuit, filed by that state's Republican Party and the Trump campaign, which shows the most hypocrisy. The Greens' recount has faced the roughest going in that state. The Secretary of the Commonwealth, Democrat Pedro Cortes, and other top elected Democrats are not on board. That’s prompted the Greens to file petitions signed by voters representing hundreds of the state’s 9,163 precincts, for a citizen-initiated recount. The Green Party also filed a lawsuit seeking to preserve the right to argue for a state-ordered recount once the results of its smaller effort are known.</p><p>Since filing last week, county election offices have been turning in official results and Trump’s lead has been cut by a third from more than 70,000 to 46,435 votes. It is now <a href="https://twitter.com/decisiondeskhq/status/804368028930478080">within</a> 0.2% of triggering an automatic statewide recount.<br /><br />Trump’s lawyers and Pennsylvania Republicans filed a motion to dismiss the Greens' lawsuit, citing much the same arguments as those made by recount opponents in Wisconsin and Michigan. But shamelessly, their legal <a href="http://static.politico.com/76/c8/23e6f73840859f70e56751173201/161202-pa-recount-application-dismiss.pdf">brief</a> quotes Cortes speaking in mid-October about the integrity of the state’s election systems. That was Cortes’ <a href="http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/oct/20/pennsylvania-elections-official-pushes-back-on-fra/">response</a> to Trump’s campaign trail rant that the election was going to be "rigged" against him.<br /><br />“Before the election, Secretary of State Pedro Cortes assured Pennsylvania voters that Pennsylvania’s voting systems are 'secure,' and criticized contrary suggestions as 'not only wrong and uninformed,' but 'dangerous,' Trump’s legal team <a href="http://static.politico.com/76/c8/23e6f73840859f70e56751173201/161202-pa-recount-application-dismiss.pdf">argued</a> with a straight face. “He [Cortes] also explained that all voting systems in Pennsylvania were ‘examined and certified to federal and state standards,’ and that voting machines were ‘not connected to the Internet,’ or ‘to one another,’ thus reducing the risk of compromise.”<br /> <br />The Green Party would disagree with that last statement, because it knows Pennsylvania has some of the oldest entirely paperless voting systems in the nation, including countywide tabulators that have been shown by computer scientists to be vulnerable to hacking. But the bigger point, echoed by David Cobb, campaign manager for the recount, is that Trump and the GOP do not want to examine the ballots and verify his apparent presidential election victory.<br /> <br />“Why is he so worried about letting this recount move forward?” Cobb said Friday. “We will continue to help Pennsylvania voters make sure that the election in Pennsylvania had integrity and that their votes counted.”<br /><br /><strong>Other Recount Developments</strong></p><p>The Greens issued an update on Friday listing the vote count anomalies they are hoping a recount will clarify. In Wisconsin, they noted that two-thirds of the counties are doing hand-counts of paper ballots, which is this only way to check against machine-induced errors. One of those counties, Ottagamie, where observers noticed that an early tabulation <a href="http://http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/pressure-builds-presidential-recounts-key-2016-swing-state">counted</a> 1,500 more votes than actual ballots cast, <a href="http://whowhatwhy.org/category/presidential-election/">will not</a> be doing a hand count, which is very frustrating to election integrity activists.  <br /><br />Their update said “there are a number of statistical irregularities in voting data, which merit heightened scrutiny given the historic level of concern over hacking during this election:</p><blockquote><p>“Wisconsin: Three counties saw large discrepancies in votes between 2012 and 2016, with the margin of victory for Donald Trump in some cases being ten-fold higher than the GOP’s average in the last four presidential elections.<br /><br />“Wisconsin: Another statistical analysis, done by Stanford PhD candidate Rodolfo Barragan and Axel Geijsel of Tilburg University, finds that even when taking into account factors like ethnicity and education, there is significant evidence that counties with electronic voting showed higher support for Trump than counties using only paper ballots.</p><p>“Michigan: More than 75,000 Michiganders cast no vote for president in the 2016 election—almost twice as many 'under-votes' than were cast in the 2012 election (49,840). The high number is a red flag, especially when considering that these 'under-votes' were concentrated in the heavily Democratic precincts of Detroit.”</p></blockquote><p>The Greens also said the touchscreen voting systems in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin were especially vulnerable to hacking, and even cited a <a href="https://twitter.com/snowden/status/795429334286635008?lang=en">tweet</a> by Edward Snowden affirming that point. “Hacking voting machines: not that difficult. Hiding a secret deviation in votes from after-the-fact statistical analysis: nearly impossible.”</p><p>“In Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, approximately two-thirds and one-tenth of voting, respectively, is done through touchscreen machines (DREs) that are susceptible to manipulation and hacking (and which many states have banned or are phasing out),” their summary said. “In Pennsylvania, whose voting system has been called a 'nightmare scenario' by one leading expert, the machines do not even dispense a paper ballot or receipt. As a result, the only way to conduct a full, foolproof audit is through a 'forensic analysis' —opening each machine to look for evidence of tampering or voter manipulation.”</p><p>“Optical scan voting—the method for all voting in Michigan, 85 percent in Wisconsin and one-third in Pennsylvania—is considered an improvement over DREs, but can still be breached without detection,” they continued. “The machines suffer from glitches and are prone to mistakes, including misreading voters’ markings. For example, in a recount of Ohio votes initiated by then Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb in 2004, almost 90,000 votes were left uncounted due to a machine calibration error. As such, manual hand recounts—as opposed to simply running ballots back through the machine—are essential, and considered the gold standard of recounts by election integrity experts.”</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1068223'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068223" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:20:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1068223 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 green party 2016 recounts 13 Top Theories for How Trump Won and Why Clinton Lost: What's Your Theory? http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/election-2016/13-top-theories-how-trump-won-and-why-clinton-lost-whats-your-theory <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1068183'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068183" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Everyone is still debating what happened.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/compiled_election_web.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>It’s now three weeks since Donald Trump won the presidential election, and people are still reeling. In an election that shocked the world and scrambled people’s sense of reality, Trump did what millions thought impossible: he was—sort of—elected president of the United States. True, if the U.S. were like the rest of the world, the person who got the most votes—Hillary Clinton, with in this case over 2.5 million more—would be the next president. And also true, the shenanigans, voter repression, disenfranchisement and perhaps worse that accompanied this election, mean that Donald Trump starts his term having very little legitimacy in the eyes of millions.</p><p>Nevertheless, it was an astounding feat for Trump to get elected. He has never held public office. He is widely known for a unique form of obnoxious branding and corrupt capitalism that includes numerous casino failures, multiple bankruptcies, hundreds of lawsuits (with 75 still outstanding two months before he takes over the Oval Office) and untold examples of screwing over those who work for him. On top of this, he was hugely unpopular—even more so, according to most polls, than his opponent.</p><p>So how the hell did this happen? The Trump victory, as unlikely and confounding as it was, set off an enormous amount of head-scratching, along with an unprecedented avalanche of opinions and theories about how this came to be. What is it that just happened to America? What is it that so many did not understand? And how could the pollsters and prognosticators be so far off?</p><p>We at AlterNet set out to catalog what we consider the top 13 theories of this election. Most everyone, of course, has a theory. The biggest theory is that voters wanted change. Hillary Clinton was very familiar and an extension of President Obama, while Trump was different, saying many things to please many people. Many of the things he said were contradictory and often untrue, but that did not seem to matter to 60 million or so voters. So on one level, almost half the voters wanted some kind of change—that is not debatable. But why? Why were they willing to bet the ranch on a candidate with some of the most blatant flaws and inappropriate behavior of any presidential candidate in our lifetime?</p><p>Before we dig deeper, we need to stipulate at the onset that there can be no one single theory explaining why voters wanted change, unless it is a theory that weaves together many theories. That said, certainly Hillary’s often-touted unpopularity comprises a major ingredient, since a lot of voters stayed home, and third-party voting was higher than in recent years. But still, an event as shocking as this election has to have multiple causes, and some of those reasons may still not have fully surfaced.</p><p>Cooked into this election is a meaty stew of factors: the huge desire for change, voter anger, fear and resentment, trauma, loss of place, white supremacy, misogyny, economic deprivation, media bias, conspiracy theories, unpopular candidates, FBI meddling, voter suppression and more, if you want to add to our list.</p><p>So, dear reader, you no doubt have plenty of opinions of your own. To have a little fun with this list, there are some exercises you might try: 1) rank this list from 1 to 13 in terms of the importance or impact of the theory on the outcome of this election; 2) take 100 points and allocate them to your favorite theories as a way of weighting them compared to each other (and leaving some out if they do not rise to a sufficient level of importance).</p><p>—<em>Don Hazen, AlterNet executive editor</em></p><p><strong>1. Racism and white supremacy ran deep enough to help Trump win.</strong></p><p>The big winner in this election, capping off a streak lasting hundreds of years now, was white supremacy. Never mind the false media narrative about Trump voters being motivated by economic anxiety—a premise that not only <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/11/13/yep-race-really-did-trump-economics-a-data-dive-on-his-supporters-reveals-deep-racial-animosity/" target="_blank">runs</a> <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/economic-anxiety-isnt-behind-trump-or-brexit-2016-10-28" target="_blank">counter</a> to <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/11/13/yep-race-really-did-trump-economics-a-data-dive-on-his-supporters-reveals-deep-racial-animosity/" target="_blank">actual data</a> and <a href="http://jezebel.com/please-stop-saying-poor-people-did-this-1788813761?utm_medium=sharefromsite&amp;utm_source=Jezebel_facebook" target="_blank">numbers</a>, but also discounts the more dire economic insecurity of people of color. Don’t be misled by appeals to understand the rage of the white working class, a storyline belied by the sheer number of votes cast for Trump by <a href="https://newrepublic.com/article/138754/blame-trumps-victory-college-educated-whites-not-working-class" target="_blank">middle- and upper</a>-class whites. This whole thing has been one big referendum on race, and is more proof of how far and wide America’s love of white supremacy goes.</p><p>Trump’s was a campaign largely devoid of policy proposals, except for those of erasure and exclusion. There were promises to keep Muslims out of the country, calls for mass deportations, the criminalization and pathologizing of black Americans, the whole “big, beautiful wall” lie. The repeated oath to Make America Great Again—to turn back the clock to when this country was even more horrific in its treatment of women and racial and ethnic minorities—was a perfect summation of Trump’s terrifying goals. The candidate’s general refusal to disavow support from white supremacists, his “law and order” mantra, his hiring of Steve Bannon, a white supremacist (aka alt-right) leader, made clear to every voter Trump’s ugly vision for America. That’s the vision Trump’s overwhelmingly white base supported during the campaign and the one they voted for in the election.</p><p>President-elect Trump is now making good on his vows. Bannon has been elevated to chief White House strategist. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s new attorney general, was once turned down for a U.S. District Court judge position because he was just <a href="http://theslot.jezebel.com/sen-jeff-sessions-once-deemed-too-racist-to-become-a-1789132421" target="_blank">too darn racist</a>. Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, is an unrepentant <a href="https://twitter.com/GenFlynn/status/703387702998278144?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw" target="_blank">Islamophobe</a>. Trump ran on racism, and now his team is all set to codify racism into some of the most regressive policies we’ve seen in decades.</p><p>This administration will have social, cultural, economic and political consequences that are both devastating and disastrous for communities of color. It’s <a href="https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2016/11/15/update-more-400-incidents-hateful-harassment-and-intimidation-election" target="_blank">already making</a> the very act of existing potentially dangerous for them. There’s no doubt Trump will also royally screw over his supporters, particularly the most vulnerable. But it’s hard not to feel like those voters are getting the leader they deserve.</p><p><strong>2. It was easier to accept a misogynist than a woman in the White House.</strong></p><p>When Trump supporters said they wanted change, that didn’t include the status quo on misogyny. Sure, it’d be easy to paint Trump voters as either sexist men or self-loathing women, both opting for the traditional masculine image of leadership—and both holding women to higher standards of conduct. But Trump’s win and Clinton’s loss simply <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/11/hillary-clinton-white-women-vote/507422/">represented</a> millions of voters’ failure to confront misogyny, however latent or overt. And it also proved that more than 60 million voters don’t see sexual abuse, sexist attacks and misogynist attitudes as a deal-breaker for being president.</p><p>Although Trump’s appeal lay in his political outsider status, his persona was a familiar and perhaps comforting one. As Laura Morgan Roberts and Robin Ely <a href="http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/where-did-all-those-women-voters-go">explain</a>, Trump’s image “as the supremely successful businessman” and “masculine leader-as-savior” is one that “women and men have been socialized by family members, educators, and the media to associate [with] leadership.” As Roberts and Ely state, Clinton failed because, “Many women (and men) who supported Trump bought into the false dichotomy that a woman leader can be either competent or likeable, but not both… While almost 25 percent of Trump supporters said he was not qualified, they voted for him anyway.”</p><p>An abridged list of Trump’s misogynist offenses includes bragging about grabbing women by the pussy; objectifying women (e.g., rating Carly Fiorina’s looks, calling Alicia Machado “Miss Piggy,” <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/act-four/wp/2016/10/14/extremely-unattractive-how-donald-trump-tries-to-discredit-women-based-on-their-looks/?utm_term=.62b9041bba89">discrediting</a> women’s claims of sexual assault based on attractiveness); and interrupting Clinton to call her a “nasty woman.” Trump’s VP and hypothetical SCOTUS nominee both support banning a woman’s right to choose, and Trump once said that women who seek illegal abortions should <a href="http://www.alternet.org/gender/donald-trump-dangerous-women">face</a> “some kind of punishment.” Still, Trump <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9B7KPRo30y4">insisted</a>, “Nobody has more respect for women than I do.” It’s painful to say, but Trump’s "respect" for women falls within the accepted boundaries of misogynist behavior in America.</p><p>Trump repeatedly proved he was an unqualified candidate and a hater of women, and Clinton clearly proved she was a politically experienced candidate with a plan. But America was not with her.</p><p><strong>3. </strong><strong>The media gave Trump an unfair advantage.</strong></p><p>The media began normalizing Trump’s racial bigotry and misogyny well before the election, fawning over his ratings-boosting belligerence to the tune of <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-05-27/trump-defies-growth-in-political-ad-spending-for-now" target="_blank">$3 billion</a> in free press that was fairly impossible to run against. For much of the election season, candidate Trump was allowed to say whatever erroneous thing he wanted without correction, while the flagging media used the Trump show to drive ad dollars to levels the industry hadn’t seen in years. Initially, Trump bathed in this spotlight, <a href="http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/10/13/donald-trump-ive-spent-nothing-on-ads-because-o/206115" target="_blank">telling</a> Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, “I've spent zero on advertising,” because the press covered him “a lot, to put it mildly.” He told the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/19/us/politics/donald-trump-republican-nomination.html" target="_blank">New York Times</a>, “When you look at cable television, a lot of the programs are 100 percent Trump.” When the press later tried to do its job and Trump complained the media was biased, the only detail he left out was that it was in his favor.</p><p>Traditional online and offline news outlets undoubtedly helped Trump soar atop their rising profit margins, but perhaps no industry got a bigger boost than <a href="http://www.alternet.org/media/fake-news-writer-feels-guilty-helping-put-trump-white-house" target="_blank">fake news</a> sites, which produced stories both Trump supporters and the Trump team helped go viral. Professional conspiracy theorist and paranoia machine Alex Jones fed the right-wing fever dreams of Trump’s base; conservative attack dogs such as Michael Savage, Matt Drudge and the rest of the right’s echo chambers beat the drums of fear and misinformation. Breitbart—now the white supremacist propaganda arm of the White House—lavished praise on the candidate; Russian <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OauLuWXD_RI" target="_blank">state-backed trolls</a> on social media and white supremacist provocateurs spread lies, abuse and surprisingly effective memes. CNN did its part, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/07/01/corey-lewandowskis-first-week-on-cnn-was-just-as-bad-as-everyone-expected/" target="_blank">hiring</a> Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski <a href="http://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/10/14/video-cnn-has-trump-surrogate-problem/213824" target="_blank">as well as</a> surrogates Kayleigh McEnany, Scottie Nell Hughes and Jeffrey Lord as talking heads. Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live and Dr. Oz all gave Trump guest spots that helped turn a bloviating demagogue into a relatable billionaire.</p><p>Trump often outpaced a newscycle that spent most of the election in furious pursuit, shuttling from one daily outburst and scandal to another. When the media wasn’t pushing the ridiculous idea that using a private email server came anywhere near those violations, it dedicated itself to criticizing Clinton’s <a href="http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/yes-hillary-still-has-suffer-sexism-dude-tv-pundits" target="_blank">speaking voice</a> and questioning her long list of <a href="http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/7-less-noted-still-very-sexist-attacks-hillary-clinton" target="_blank">accomplishments</a> in a way it never sufficiently questioned Trump's. In the big picture, while the press wasn’t the only entity responsible for Trump’s win, it played a major role in making it happen. The latest news suggests it will continue to make the Trump presidency—complete with its white nationalist ties and disregard for rules and law—seem like just another political story.</p><p><strong>4. Clinton was tarnished by perceived corruption for accepting money from Wall Street for her speeches.</strong></p><p>Hillary sincerely believes there's nothing wrong with taking $225k a pop from Wall Street for giving a speech. There's also no harm in helping out the Clinton Foundation by arranging a State Department meeting or two for its donors. She and Bill are just doing what those around them have been doing since leaving Yale Law School. Becoming super-rich on Wall Street or super powerful in politics launches you into the rarefied world where money and power glide back and forth with little ethical friction. Our political and economic elites dine together, vacation together and share their private planes and estates. If you're on the money side of the line, you crave political access. If you're on the political side, you'd like a little spending money—about $10 million a year would do.</p><p>The Clintons see this as their due. They are as smart, capable and hardworking as any of their hedge fund friends. They also share a cold, hard understanding that the line between the public interest and pay-to-play is ever wavering. Elites never judge each other harshly when there's a bit of slippage. It's the burden you must carry.</p><p>The public usually envies the glitter. They can even forgive the ethical lapses. But the game changes when their own prospects diminish year after year. Unfortunately, for Hillary, her slippery slides took place just as the American people woke up to the runaway inequality. Why was it so easy to make stick the claim that she was getting rich at our expense? Because, in a broad sense, it was true.</p><p><strong>5. Actually, Hillary did win.</strong></p><p>The number of presidential votes now stands at 135.5 million and is still <a href="http://www.electproject.org/2016g">growing</a> as states like California keep processing their ballots. What’s clear is Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by more ballots than <a href="https://www.thenation.com/article/hillary-clintons-popular-vote-victory-is-unprecedented-and-still-growing/" target="_blank">anyone</a> in American history who did not become president—over 2.5 million. But the problem of rigged American elections goes deeper than the antiquated Electoral College, which makes a mockery of a nationwide contest in which more than 60 million people voted for the top two candidates, yet the race was decided by 106,000 votes in three states (27,000 in <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/wisconsin" target="_blank">Wisconsin</a>, 11,000 in <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/michigan" target="_blank">Michigan</a>, 68,000 in <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/pennsylvania" target="_blank">Pennsylvania</a>).</p><p>Republicans employed their <a href="https://www.brennancenter.org/voting-restrictions-first-time-2016" target="_blank">do-everything</a> strategy to complicate and create barriers to voting in Democratic epicenters, as most visibly seen by 14 states that adopted new laws restricting voting since 2014. Did tougher ID requirements in <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/wisconsin" target="_blank">Wisconsin</a> tip the balance from Clinton to Trump? In Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, where turnout was down by 58,000 votes from 2012, and where local officials said the new tougher ID law <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/21/us/many-in-milwaukee-neighborhood-didnt-vote-and-dont-regret-it.html?hp&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;clickSource=story-heading&amp;module=b-lede-package-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news" target="_blank">was partly</a> to blame, Clinton got <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/wisconsin" target="_blank">66 percent</a> of the votes this year. Could those mostly missing-in-action Democrats have made the difference? Perhaps, except some voters who backed Obama before <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/21/us/many-in-milwaukee-neighborhood-didnt-vote-and-dont-regret-it.html?hp&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;clickSource=story-heading&amp;module=b-lede-package-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news" target="_blank">said</a> they didn’t like anyone this year and didn’t vote, or they voted for Trump.</p><p>The same questions are raised about Detroit, Michigan, where Wayne County’s turnout fell by 70,000 votes this year compared to 2012. Whether it was voter suppression tactics, a candidate who lacked the emotional appeal of her predecessor, states that were mostly ignored by both candidates during the lengthy campaign, unexpected high turnout in the white-majority rural areas—hacking vote count apparatus—or some mix of these (and other) factors, Trump is set to take the presidential oath in January—pending recounts.</p><p><strong>6. </strong><strong>Clinton supported trade deals and Trump criticized them.</strong></p><p>Once upon a time, trade deals like NAFTA were win-win deals for Democrats as they competed for corporate/Wall Street cash. Since the Republicans were already there, it took Democratic votes to seal the deal. A "yes" vote cost the Democrats very little since unions and working-class voters understood that the Republicans were even worse. Triangulation, the Clintons called it: Please your corporate donors without losing votes.</p><p>Hillary, in lockstep with Bill, lobbied wavering Democrats. Drunk on neoliberal Kool-Aid, they argued that more trade between the U.S. and low-wage countries would increase jobs and prosperity for all.</p><p>Flash-forward a decade and Senator Hillary is both the senator from Wall Street and from the Rust Belt devastation of upstate New York. Obviously, those who lost their jobs to low-cost Mexican and Asian labor were not getting the good-paying ones. So she put down her pom-poms to say that NAFTA "has not lived up to its <a href="http://www.pri.org/stories/2016-07-28/hillary-clinton-s-stand-nafta-and-tpp-it-s-complicated-and-evolving" target="_blank">promises</a>."</p><p>Meanwhile more than 850,000 workers were <a href="http://www.epi.org/blog/fast-track-to-lost-jobs-and-lower-wages/" target="_blank">dislocated</a> during the NAFTA years, and millions more from the vast imbalance in trade with China. After decades of industrial decay, the anger was rising. It came from industrial workers, from the cities and towns left behind, and most importantly from a shared class understanding that the dream of "free" trade left nearly all working people behind. The economic elites had promised prosperity for all—and took it all for themselves.</p><p>Bernie Sanders, onto this for years, was finally recognized, and he nearly demolished Hillary on the trade issue. Then came Trump, the first successful Republican contender to attack NAFTA head-on. Good-bye, triangulation.</p><p><strong>7. Party loyalty and candidate loyalty ran high.</strong></p><p>Americans are more divided along political lines than at any time since the Civil War, <a href="http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-essential-politics-20161118-story.html" target="_blank">according</a> to post-election statistics that saw the fewest states splitting their votes for president and Senate since the popular election of senators began a century ago. Even in a year where more than 7 million voters <a href="http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/index.html" target="_blank">picked</a> third-party presidential candidates, it’s hard to say that Bernie Sanders supporters who flocked to the Green Party (or even some Libertarian Gary Johnson supporters) could have changed the outcome. Seen from afar, Jill Stein won more votes than Trump’s margin of victory in Wisconsin (almost 31,000) and Michigan (51,000) but not in Pennsylvania (49,000), where Trump was leading by 68,000 in the unofficial count. Clinton needed to win <a href="http://www.thegreenpapers.com/G16/" target="_blank">all three</a> of these states after losing Florida on election night.</p><p>Without the third-party candidates, Clinton might have won. Certainly, without the Electoral College, she would have won. But this is not the world we live in. Exit polls, which early on November 8 wrongly predicted a Clinton victory, found that Clinton and Trump won about <a href="http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-essential-politics-20161118-story.html" target="_blank">90 percent</a> of the votes of people who identified with their two parties. That suggests partisanship still greatly matters. In that vein, it’s clear that many people moved by Sanders were not going to follow his advice to vote for Clinton when Stein more clearly resonated with their values.</p><p>What this means, looking ahead, is the country seems fated in the near future to see-saw between the two major parties, each taking a turn forcing their agendas through over the other's fierce objections, and voters reacting with a backlash several years later.</p><p><strong>8. The feelings of displacement and economic stress overwhelmed many voters.</strong></p><p>Displacement is loss of place or stature. Many millions of Americans, for a host of reasons, are feeling fundamental loss. Their displacement is a loss of culture, jobs, community, religion, economics, identity and hope for the future. Trauma can follow. And so in terms of this election and a desire for change, displacement can be seen as an overarching umbrella that encompasses the polarization, anger and pessimism prevalent in many parts of the country and seen as motivating Trump voters.</p><p>Displacement can exacerbate fear of the “other”—immigrants, minorities—and provide increased rationalization for racism and misogyny. It can produce paranoid thinking, blame-the-victim psychology and fantasies of reverse discrimination. It can trigger fear, anger and domestic violence. People who feel psychologically displaced and fearful are more likely to respond to authority figures who talk of law and order. The feeling of being displaced can be a loss experienced so deeply it has led to increasing levels of addiction, alcoholism, violence and suicide.</p><p>The Science of Us website <a href="http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/11/more-evidence-that-drugs-and-despair-fueled-trumps-win.html">highlights</a>:</p><blockquote><p>“Penn State demographer Shannon Monnat, who <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-vote-results-drug-overdose-deaths-2016-11" target="_blank">tells</a> <em>Business Insider</em>’s Harrison Jacobs that the counties that went harder for Trump than expected correlated closely with mortality rates stemming from drugs, booze and suicide. The other two predictors were the portion of white voters and a measure she calls the ‘economic stress index,’ which bundles poverty, unemployment, being uninsured, and other precarious states in a single metric.</p><p>“’[W]hen you think about the underlying factors that lead to overdose or suicide, it’s depression, despair, distress, and anxiety,’ Monnat said, and those are exactly the emotional states that Trump, the master marketer, appealed to. When people in a community are ‘literally dying,’ she notes, it makes sense that they’d vote for massive change, like the many that did in 2008 for Barack Obama. In Ohio, Jacobs reports, almost every county with an overdose mortality rate above 20 per 100,000 people (14.7 is the national average) saw Trump do about 10 percent better than Romney in 2012, or saw Hillary Clinton lose about 10 percent of Obama’s 2012 votes—or both.”</p></blockquote><p>As Robert P. Jones, author of <a href="https://www.amazon.com/End-White-Christian-America/dp/1501122290/?tag=alternorg08-20"><em>The End of White Christian America</em></a>, offers in his <a href="http://www.alternet.org/books/end-white-christian-america-and-trumps-desperate-promises-save-it">interview</a> with AlterNet:</p><blockquote><p>“My best read of what's happened on the ground is a combined economic and cultural anxiety particularly among white conservative evangelical Christians. In addition to the cultural fears, about eight in 10 white evangelical Protestants say they still think we're in a recession today. They still feel economically distressed.”</p></blockquote><p><strong>9. Clinton performed worse with union households than any Democratic candidate since 1984.</strong></p><p>It’s hard to compile definitive data on how union members vote, but if we trust any part of the exit polls, things didn’t go well for Hillary Clinton. The numbers indicate that Clinton <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/labor-unions-hillary-clinton-mobilization-231223" target="_blank">outperformed</a> Trump by a mere 8 percent in union households. That’s the lowest Democratic advantage since Walter Mondale lost to Ronald Reagan in 1984. To put this in context, Obama won union households by 18 percent in the last presidential election.</p><p>Trump obviously didn’t get endorsements from the big unions like Clinton did, but he consistently talked about the devastating impact of NAFTA and the disappearance of jobs. He also invoked the boogeymen of undocumented workers and the economic threat of China. As Dave Jamieson of the Huffington Post <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-did-really-well-with-union-households_us_582367d0e4b0aac62488cc32" target="_blank">wrote</a> after Trump’s victory: “Trump did something unheard of for a modern Republican presidential candidate: He made a direct appeal to union workers and claimed to be their champion.”</p><p>The numbers don’t exactly point to a positive union showing for Trump (exit polls indicate that GOP support with union households only rose by 3% since the last election). While there are many reasons for this outcome, it is interesting to note that Clinton lost important, union-dense states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and (it looks like) Michigan—all states that Obama won in 2012.</p><p><strong>10. Americans were more pessimistic than ever before, and instead of reforming the system, they decided to blow it up.</strong></p><p>Economic despair, lost jobs, fantasy-based economic policy, and racism were too potent a cocktail for voters in the Rust Belt and the South to ignore, and they drove Donald Trump to victory. Voters took a risk, and that risk means white supremacists in the White House.</p><p>Why? Economists and pundits will be arguing for years over whether racism or job loss had a bigger effect on the Rust Belt's and South's Trump votes. Production data, as the MIT Technology Review <a href="https://www.technologyreview.com/s/602869/manufacturing-jobs-arent-coming-back/">explains</a>, shows a "massive 30-year decline of employment beginning in 1980. That trend led to the liquidation of more than a third of U.S. manufacturing positions. Employment in the sector plunged from 18.9 million jobs to 12.2 million."</p><p>During the Great Recession, the South and the Midwest both suffered; according to one <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/11/poverty-rate-doubled-in-the-midwestern-rust-belt-over-past-decade/">report</a>, "poverty rates in some Midwest cities, such as Detroit and Toledo, Ohio, have doubled over the last decade. And in the South, poverty in some metro areas, such as El Paso, Texas, and Baton Rouge, La., has increased by more than a third." Which is atrocious, but so is telling voters that tariffs on China and Mexico are an economic wand that will magically transport jobs to depressed areas.</p><p>It's tempting, as Damon Young writes in the <a href="https://www.thenation.com/article/this-is-what-white-supremacy-looks-like/">Nation</a>, to simply say that Trump supporters voted against their self-interest. However, "They may have voted against a self-interest—several self-interests, actually—but not their most important one: the preservation of white supremacy." Despair and job loss drove America to madness.</p><p><strong>11. The FBI’s James Comey stopped Clinton’s momentum.</strong></p><p>Clinton’s momentum in the final two weeks of the election was halted when FBI director James Comey went public with a virtually meaningless letter to Congress about how the department was looking into some emails found on a laptop belonging to Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin. Comey was said to be under pressure from his more conservative anti-Hillary agents to reopen the investigation into her server. We know from post-election interviews that some fence-sitting voters tipped over to the Trump side after that. Others just firmly decided at that point they could never vote for Clinton and sat it out. Clinton’s allegedly unusual use of a private email server while Secretary of State, and the statements she made about it afterward, seemed to bother even staunch Democratic voters about her more than any other pseudo-scandal.</p><p>The timing of Comey’s letter was far too coincidental for anyone to believe it was not intentional. And the added bonus of somehow linking Clinton to creepy Anthony Weiner in the midst of the mounting allegations of sexual assault against Donald Trump helped seal the damaging deal. The press happily complied and talked about nothing but the nonexistent email kerfuffle for five precious days, as the narrative shifted away from the now p*ssy grabber-in-chief.</p><p>Comey’s decision to resurface the suspicions about Clinton’s email at that critical moment stinks in every way, and many are calling for an investigation into this egregious interference in the election. It violated longtime Justice Department protocols not to comment about ongoing investigations, as well as the federal Hatch Act, which prohibits government employees from interfering in elections. Will the nation’s top cop admit any policy or law was breached?</p><p><strong>12. Clinton had too many shortcomings as a candidate.</strong></p><p>It has often been said—even by Hillary Clinton—that she is better at doing the actual work of governing, legislating and getting things done than running for the job. She’s doesn’t connect emotionally with crowds and struggles to be spontaneous and seem authentic. This matters. Democrats like Barack Obama and Bill Clinton were talented campaigners and they won. Stilted technocrats like Michael Dukakis, John Kerry, Al Gore (well, he won, but didn't occupy the White House), and Hillary Clinton were not, and they lost. Unfortunately, the beer test matters, and Clinton was a historically unpopular candidate. (Then again, so was Trump.)</p><p>Clinton was a savvy debater, and the debates were a bright spot in the campaign. She ran rhetorical circles around Trump in the first debate, closing strong with the Alicia Machado reference, which prompted a damaging Twitter meltdown. Clinton was sharp as a tack in the third debate. Her full-throated endorsement of reproductive choice was an inspiring, unparalleled moment. Her comments on race were thoughtful and considered. But it doesn’t matter. It turns out that most Americans don’t really care about debating skills.</p><p>Clinton also lacked a strong central message. Her general election campaign focused almost exclusively on Trump’s unfitness for office. She had extensive proposals on her website, but they seemed more like wonky, uninspiring tweaks to Obamacare, minimum wage and paid family leave, not a grand vision. Even those who were for her were hard-pressed to say what exactly she stood for and what she planned to do, or what her legacy might be.</p><p>Clinton’s arrogance helped do her in. She had a great resume; it was her turn. Too often when she spoke, she made it about herself and her marvelous accomplishments, rather than about American people and what they needed. Tin eared, she hit the wrong notes most of the time. When it became clear the race in Michigan was dangerously tightening, she went there, and sang the wrong tune again.</p><p><strong>13. The election was undermined by the powerful effect of conspiracy theories, fake news and disinformation.</strong></p><p>Let’s not forget where this election started, or rather where this version of candidate Trump started: with Trump’s aggressive and persistent pushing of the so-called “birther" theory that Barack Obama was not born in the U.S. and by implication was a Muslim and not a Christian. Trump pushed the racist birther lie for years, enjoying substantial media coverage along the way. Throw into the mix media-savvy conspiracy peddlers Roger Stone, Alex Jones, Michael Savage, and the major domination of the white nationalist anti-Semitic Breitbart News’ Steve Bannon, and you have an unprecedented all-star team of conspiracy mavens on team Trump.</p><p>These are the people who thought, according to Sarah Kendzior <a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/trumps-strategy-pull-the-fringes-into-the-centre-and-mainstream-extremism/article32657532/?reqid=7523850d-bb8f-446d-9e99-f8460f4adf7a">writing</a> in the <em>Globe and Mail</em>, “that the path to victory lies with the campaign’s ability to manipulate people through the internet.” Kendzior adds that Trump campaign conspiracies traveled not only through social media and mainstream outlets, but also through the FBI, whose authoritative reputation lends innuendo legitimacy, whether intentional or not (see theory #11 on Comey and the FBI).</p><p>Consistent with conspiracies and disinformation is the huge debate underway in the country about the extent and impact of fake news on <a href="http://www.alternet.org/media/how-misinformed-tweet-was-manufactured-major-right-wing-news">Twitter</a>, Facebook, Google and all over the internet, and role it played in the election (see theory #3 on media).</p><p>As Kendzior <a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/trumps-strategy-pull-the-fringes-into-the-centre-and-mainstream-extremism/article32657532/">underscores</a>, “Mr. Trump’s campaign has long been aimed at pulling the fringes into the center, mainstreaming extremism, so that it is not recognized as extreme anymore.” She adds: “In authoritarian states, conspiracy narratives... Operate both as a method of intimidation and a way to rally followers. ...One should not dismiss the process by which he successfully cowed and manipulated institutions; or how deeply his narratives—often consisting not of substantive claims but of allusions to shadowy unnamed forces—resonated with a frustrated public.”</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1068183'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068183" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 01 Dec 2016 15:47:00 -0800 Don Hazen, Kali Holloway, Jenny Pierson, Jan Frel, Les Leopold, Steven Rosenfeld, Michael Arria, Ilana Novick, Janet Allon, AlterNet 1068183 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 The Right Wing alternet compilation Why Is Trump Fighting So Hard to Stop the Recount in Michigan? http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/why-trump-fighting-so-hard-stop-recount-michigan <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1068182'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068182" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">A mere 0.22 percent separates the candidates, and thousands of ballot machines recorded no presidential pick.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-12-01_at_3.55.38_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>The Trump campaign filed a legal petition Thursday to stop Michigan’s presidential recount, saying Jill Stein has no chance of winning and no grievance, and there’s no way a hand count can be done before the Electoral College meets December 19.  <br /><br />“Despite being a blip on the electoral radar, [Green Party nominee] Stein has now commandeered Michigan’s electoral process,” said Trump’s <a href="https://drive.google.com/viewerng/viewer?url=http://media.freep.com/documents/2016/11/Objection-to-Recount-Petition.pdf">petition</a> to Michigan’s Board of State Canvasser. “Indeed, on the basis of nothing more than speculation, Stein asks that Michigan residents endure an expensive, time-consuming recount, and the scrutiny and hardship that comes with it.”<br /><br />The Trump campaign called the recount an “electoral farce,” ignoring that it has been filed in a state where its candidate leads Hillary Clinton by almost 11,000 out of 4.8 million votes cast, the smallest margin of the final three states that gave Trump an Electoral College majority after election night. (The Green Party is also seeking recounts in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Wisconsin began its recount Thursday, while challenges continue in Pennsylvania as the Green Party is filing local petitions at county election boards.)<br /> <br />“She does not allege, let alone explain, how a fourth-place finisher could be ‘aggrieved’ by the election canvass,” Trump’s petition <a href="https://drive.google.com/viewerng/viewer?url=http://media.freep.com/documents/2016/11/Objection-to-Recount-Petition.pdf">said</a>, saying candidates must be harmed to seek a recount under Michigan law. “And even if that could be overlooked, Stein’s request would have to be denied because no recount can be reliably competed in the time required by state and federal law” (to meet the Electoral College’s deadline).  <br /><br />Trump’s objection comes just one day after state officials said they would do a full, statewide hand recount of all votes cast in Michigan, beginning Friday, December 2. Because of the filing, the state canvassers' board, an appointed body that has already pledged its support of the recount, will have to postpone counting until it holds a hearing and issues a ruling within five days. If the recount goes forward, Trump’s objections will have delayed the process up to a week and made it that much harder to complete before presidential electors convene.  <br /><br />“You wonder why they are fighting it so hard,” said Bob Fitrakis, an Ohio-based attorney who was involved in that state’s 2004 presidential recount and has been advising the Green Party in 2016. “Michigan, with its thousands of undervotes [no vote recorded for president] in Democratic strongholds—these people voted the whole ticket but left off Hillary Clinton?”<br /><br />“They are trying to run out the clock,” he said, saying that same delaying tactic was used in Ohio in 2004 when the Green and Libertarian parties filed for a presidential recount in the state where George W. Bush unexpectedly beat John Kerry, despite media exit polls and other indices suggesting the incumbent president would be defeated.<br /><br />Stein issued a statement blasting Trump’s petition to stop the recount, calling it “shameful” and “outrageous”: “The recount in Michigan, which has been driven by an outpouring of grassroots support in the state, will go forward,” Stein said. “The Michigan Board of State Canvassers and Director of Elections has been a model of professionalism in moving this recount forward in an efficient, transparent manner. Yet the Trump campaign’s cynical efforts to delay the recount and create unnecessary costs for taxpayers are shameful and outrageous.”<br /> <br />The Green Party filed its recount petition Wednesday, paying an initial filing fee of $973,250 for the state’s first presidential recount in more than a half-century. That sum may be adjusted upward once the recount is complete. Her campaign paid Wisconsin a $3.5 million fee for a recount in a state where Trump leads Clinton by 23,000 votes. Stein’s statements emphasized that the recount’s purpose is to verify the vote and showcase vote count problems, including the possibility the machinery malfunctioned or was hacked.<br /> <br />“The true costs of this recount are the result of elected leaders who have refused to invest in a 21st-century voting system and powerful politicians who are putting up obstacles in an effort to prolong, undermine and stop this recount,” Stein said. “But as the overwhelming grassroots demand shows—close to $7 million raised by nearly 150,000 people—Americans are hungry for a voting system they can trust, and they won’t let these obstacles get in their way.”<br /> <br />On Monday, the Michigan Board of State Canvassers certified that Trump won by 10,704 votes, or a margin of just 0.22 percent of the total vote. But computer scientists and election experts have raised serious concerns about election results in papers filed for the Wisconsin recount. These include the vulnerability of voting machines that can be breached without detection and have a tendency to misread ballot markings. In Michigan, there were 75,335 under-count tallies—votes that machines did not record as selecting anyone for president—nearly double the amount recorded in 2012.<br /> <br />“America's voting machines and optical scanners are prone to errors and susceptible to outside manipulation,” said J. Alex Halderman, one of the nation’s leading cyber security experts and a professor of computer science at the University of Michigan who filed court papers supporting a recount.<br /><br />“Paper ballots, like those used in Michigan’s elections, are the best defense we have against cyberattacks, but that defense is only effective if we actually look at the paper trail after the election,” he said. “That’s precisely why we need this recount—to examine the physical evidence, to look under the hood. A recount is the best way, and indeed the only way in 2016, to ensure public confidence that the results are accurate, authentic, and untainted by outside interference.”</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1068182'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068182" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 01 Dec 2016 15:45:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1068182 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 2016 presidential recount michigan trump campaign Bob Fitreakis Jill Stein These 15 Startling Election Takeaways Reveal the Surprising Electorate That Resulted in President-Elect Trump http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/election-2016/these-15-startling-election-takeaways-reveal-surprising-electorate-resulted-president <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1068174'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068174" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">A new survey of why people did and didn&#039;t vote has some valuable insights.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-12-01_at_1.45.27_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>The American electorate in 2016 has some strange and surprising features, according to a new <a href="http://www.prri.org/research/prri-atlantic-december-2016-post-election-survey/">survey</a> released Thursday by PRRI/The Atlantic. The survey, an exploration of why people did or didn’t vote, found most voters apathetic early on, with two-thirds not participating in the primaries, but then becoming engaged in a passionate fight over what many working-class whites saw as their last chance to preserve a country where they could prosper. Conversely, many women and communities of color felt deeply threatened by Donald Trump and were left feeling discouraged and fearful after the election.</p><p>What follows are 15 takeaways from the research, starting with the stark reality that a small percentage of Americans in both parties nominated the presidential candidates—who were disliked by a majority of the country.</p><p><strong>1. A minority of Americans gave us November’s candidates</strong>. Voter turnout in the primaries was 37 percent, or about half of the presidential election’s 63 percent turnout. This was as true for Democrats as for Republicans, PRRI found: “There were no significant voting pattern differences between supporters of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.” Fewer people drive the nominations and then tens of millions of less-engaged voters begrudgingly weigh in.</p><p><strong>2. Making voting harder does depress turnout.</strong> States with all voting by mail <a href="http://koin.com/2016/10/11/wash-breaks-record-with-over-4-2-million-voters/">set records</a> this fall. On the other hand, nearly a quarter of non-voters (23 percent) said getting to a polling place took too much time. One in five (21 percent) said they were not registered, so they could not make last-minute decisions. One in ten, or 11 percent, said why bother, the election is “rigged.” The most common reason for not voting, among 36 percent who didn’t bother, was dislike of the candidates.<br /><br /><strong>3. Trump’s voters were more loyal than Clinton’s</strong>. More Trump supporters who early on said they would vote for him ended up doing so, compared to Clinton. “Only about three-quarters (76%) of registered voters who reported that they were supporting or leaning towards Clinton in late September and early October reported actually casting a ballot for her,” PRRI found. “In contrast, 84% of those who reported they were supporting Trump ahead of the election said they voted for him.”<br /><br /><strong>4. Many couples were split, with women backing Hillary and men not.</strong> The pollsters were able to quantify the political differences along gender lines, finding about two-thirds of Clinton voters said their spouses voted like them. But among those who did not, 10 percent said their spouse voted for Trump or someone else, and another 19 percent of the women supporting Clinton said their husbands didn’t cast a vote for president.<br /><br /><strong>5. Trump households were more united than Clinton households.</strong> Compared to homes where women were behind Clinton while their partners had doubts, pro-Trump households were more unified. “Nearly three-quarters (73%) of male Trump supporters said their wife or partner was also supporting the GOP nominee, and few said their spouses or partners voted for Clinton (4%) or another candidate (3%). Thirteen percent of male Trump supporters reported that their wife or partner did not vote.”<br /><br /><strong>6. Voters more scared of Democrats than Republicans.</strong> More said Democratic policies were “a threat to the country” than Republican policies were. “A majority (56%) of Republicans and 61% of Trump voters say that the policies of the Democratic Party constitute a dangerous threat to the country,” PRRI said. “About four in ten (38%) Republicans believe that Democratic policies are misguided but not dangerous. Conversely, a slim majority (51%) of Democrats and half (50%) of Clinton supporters believe that the GOP’s platform represents a threat the country.”<br /><br /><strong>7. Election left more negative feelings than positive ones.</strong> After election day, half the nation was worried (26 percent), disappointed (19 percent) and angry (5 percent), compared to those feeling satisfied (23 percent) or excited (19 percent) by the election's results. Intriguingly, a lot of Democrats and Republicans don’t like their parties. “One-quarter (26%) of Republicans and three in 10 (30%) Democrats say the policies of their own party are misguided,” PRRI said.<br /><br /><strong>8. Working-class whites most excited with results.</strong> This isn’t a new analysis, but PRRI found an intriguing twist. The most pleased people in 2016 were the ones most disappointed with Mitt Romney’s loss to President Obama in 2012. “A majority of white working-class Americans say they feel satisfied (26%) or excited (26%) about Trump’s electoral victory. In contrast, fewer than four in 10 white college-educated Americans say they feel satisfied (20%) or excited (17%). In 2012, only about one in three white working-class Americans reported feeling either excited (12%) or satisfied (23%) about Obama’s reelection. More than six in 10 said they were disappointed (29%), worried (29%), or angry (4%).”<br /><br /><strong>9. Not surprisedly, communities of color are disappointed.</strong> “Majorities of black and Hispanic Americans report generally negative feelings about the election outcome, expressing feelings of disappointment (33% and 33%, respectively), worry (19% and 25%, respectively) or anger (15% and 7%, respectively).”  <br /><br />1<strong>0. Women feel much worse than men.</strong>This is also not surprising: “A slim majority of men report feeling satisfied (28%) or excited (23%) about the prospect of a Trump presidency, while only about one-third of women share these feelings—18% are satisfied and 15% are excited,” PRRI found. “Roughly one-third (32%) of women say they are worried, 21% say they are disappointed, and eight percent are angry about the election outcome. Negative feelings among non-white women are even more pronounced; 35% of non-white women say they are disappointed, 26% say they are worried, and 12% say they are angry.”<br /><br /><strong>11. White evangelical Protestants very excited</strong>. Among religious groups, only this cohort of evangelicals were really pleased with this election. “Two-thirds of white evangelical Protestants report being excited (31%) or satisfied (36%) with the election result,” PRRI said. “Despite winning a majority of white Catholic and white mainline Protestant votes, fewer than half of each group feel positively about Trump’s win. Fewer than half of white Catholics report feeling excited (27%) or satisfied (20%) by Trump’s victory.”<br /><br /><strong>12. Republicans saw last chance to save America.</strong> This apocalyptic view was held by a majority of Trump voters. “Six in 10 (60%) Republicans and 66% of Trump voters believe the election represented the last opportunity to arrest America’s decline, while only 29% of Democrats and 22% of Clinton voters embrace this view,” the pollsters said. “More than two-thirds (68%) of Democrats and 76% of Clinton voters reject this idea. The views of political independents closely resemble those of the public overall.”<br /><br /><strong>13. Working-class whites split on doomsday scenario</strong>. Not everybody who lacked a college degree thought America was facing a do-or-die moment, but many did. “Nearly half (49%) of white working-class Americans believe the election was the last chance to stop America’s decline, while about as many (50%) disagree,” PRRI said. “Fewer than three in 10 (27%) white college-educated Americans believe the election was the last chance to stop America’s decline.”<br /><br /><strong>14. Media bias was biggest problem seen by voters.</strong>That was seen as the biggest problem (33 percent) with the election, followed by the influence of wealthy Americans and corporations (24 percent), low-voter participation (16 percent), voter suppression (7 percent) and voter fraud concerns (6 percent). Republicans said media bias was the biggest problem, while Democrats said the biggest problem was the undue influence of big money.<br /><br /><strong>15. America is still a very racist county</strong>. Half the public felt Trump’s anti-immigrant remarks helped him. “Nearly half (48%) of the public says Trump’s position on immigration and immigrants helped him during the 2016 election, while only 13% said it hurt him. Roughly one-third (32%) say it did not make a difference either way,” PRRI said. Those findings show how entrenched racist views are, whether they are openly expressed or not.<br /><br /><strong>A deeply divided county digs in</strong></p><p>The nation is as divided as ever on partisan lines, the PRRI/Atlantic survey affirms. Not surprisingly, Democrats do not expect the future to be much better, while Republicans believe the opposite, buying into Trump’s hype. “A slim majority (51%) of Republicans say that the quality of life in their community will get better while only 16% of Democrats share this view. However, only 27% of Democrats say the quality of life in their local community is likely to decline while most (55%) say it will probably remain about the same.”</p><p>What’s especially striking about that last finding is that many Democrats do not believe that the incoming Trump administration will be able to impact the legal and political forces that shape their lives. That is remarkable, when Trump is appointing the most right-wing administration in decades and is poised to lock up the U.S. Supreme Court for social conservatives and pro-corporate forces for decades. </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1068174'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068174" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 01 Dec 2016 13:33:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1068174 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 PRRI/The Atlantic 2016 voters 2016 Recount Update: Republicans Freaking out in Wisconsin, and Greens File for Hand Counts in Michigan http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/election-2016/2016-recount-update-republicans-freaking-out-wisconsin-and-greens-file-hand-counts <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1068123'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068123" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Wisconsin GOP claims Greens and Clinton are colluding. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-11-30_at_4.59.32_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>The Green Party's presidential recounts in the three states that gave Donald Trump his Electoral College majority made halting progress Wednesday. As the party formally filed for a recount in Michigan, Wisconsin Republicans filed a federal complaint against the Green Party and Hillary Clinton's campaign, and a suburban Philadelphia judge shut down a recount in his county. Meanwhile, organizers on the ground in all of these states are scurrying to recruit and train observers for the next stage of the process, which varies from watching county election officials hand-count ballots in Michigan, use a mix of hand counts and scanners in Wisconsin, and keep filing citizen petitions for precinct-level recounts in Pennsylvania.<br /><br />Here’s a summary of the latest developments in the three states.<br /><br /><strong>Michigan</strong></p><p>Jill Stein, the Green Party’s presidential candidate, filed a petition for a recount in Michigan on Wednesday, after a state board overseeing election results certified that Donald Trump won the state’s race by 10,704 votes, or a margin of just 0.22 percent of the 4.7 million votes cast. The Greens paid a $973,250 filing fee for a recount that is expected to start on Friday.<br /><br />The state will hand-count these ballots, which is the standard Stein and a cadre of computer scientists and election experts say is the most accurate way to verify the results. That’s because the high-speed scanners used in Michigan (and much of Wisconsin) can misread ballots and are vulnerable to hackers seeking to adjust vote totals. After Election Day, for example, “there were 75,335 under-count tallies—votes that machines did not record as selecting anyone for president—nearly double the amount recorded in 2012,” the Greens' press release said.<br /><br />“America's voting machines and optical scanners are prone to errors and susceptible to outside manipulation,” said J. Alex Halderman, a professor of computer science at the University of Michigan who has helped the Greens by filing legal statements supporting a hand count.<br /><br />“Paper ballots, like those used in Michigan's elections, are the best defense we have against cyberattacks, but that defense is only effective if we actually look at the paper trail after the election,” he said Wednesday. “That’s precisely why we need this recount—to examine the physical evidence, to look under the hood. A recount is the best way, and indeed the only way in 2016, to ensure public confidence that the results are accurate, authentic and untainted by outside interference.”  <br /><br />It didn’t take long, however, for Republicans in Michigan to start criticizing the process.<br /><br />“If we don’t have this process over by Dec. 13, we certainly jeopardize Michigan’s electors [16 Electoral College members] and risk disenfranchising all of Michigan’s voters from the election,” Eric Doster, general counsel for the Michigan Republican Party, <a href="http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2016/11/29/recount-cost/94607806/">told</a> the <em>Detroit News</em>, suggesting an unfinished recount could suspend their participation in the Electoral College’s nationwide vote December 19.</p><p>“I am concerned about the costs to the taxpayer, specifically with a candidate who got 1.07 percent (of the vote) being able to put forward a recount that will be so cumbersome for our state and potentially put our electors at risk,” Ronna Romney McDaniel, chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, <a href="http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2016/11/29/recount-cost/94607806/">told</a> the paper.<br /><br />Chris Thomas, the longtime state election director, said the state had to finish the recount by December 13. He told reporters that the recount could simply be called off after that date if the process isn't completed by then—as was the case in Florida in 2000 when the U.S. Supreme Court stopped a recount and awarded the presidency to George W. Bush.</p><p>“The question that’s out there ... what happens if we’re not done by the 13th?” Thomas <a href="http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2016/11/29/recount-cost/94607806/">said</a> this week. “And I think the recount’s probably off at that point. That’s what the Supreme Court did back in 2000. It stopped the process right there.”<br /><br />In other words, while Stein’s filing Wednesday was the starting line, whether the recount crosses a satisfying finish line will increasingly be an important question and possibly subject to litigation. The experience thus far in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania shows why that is the case.<br /><br /><strong>Wisconsin</strong></p><p>The official recount will begin Thursday, where Trump leads Clinton by 22,177 votes. County election offices have the discretion to decide if they will use hand counts or electronic scanners for paper ballots, a state judge ruled Tuesday. She rejected the Greens' arguments backing hand counts, including the testimony from another half-dozen computer scientists like Halderman. The most notable testimony concerned how scanners misread ballots, she said, specifically how the standard error rate, when multiplied against the 2.9 million votes cast in Wisconsin’s presidential election, added up to more votes than Trump’s margin of victory.<br /><br />Dane County Circuit Court Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn <a href="http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/11/29/steins-recount-headed-court-tuesday/94598740/">said</a> there were good reasons to do a hand recount but no legal basis for her to mandate it. "I follow the law. That's who I am despite my personal opinions… It's (the counties’) decision. It's their discretion. I may disagree with it … but I must follow the law."<br /><br />That ruling deeply disappointed election integrity activists, especially those who were traveling to Wisconsin to monitor the recount and train observers. They quickly pointed out that Bailey-Rihn had been a partner in a large law firm, Quarles and Brady, with deep Republican ties, such as sponsoring <a href="http://www.quarles.com/news/quarles-brady-hosts-rnc-2012-visions-luncheon-for-black-conservatives/">events</a> for the Republican National Committee at its <a href="http://www.quarles.com/news/quarles-brady-hosts-reception-at-the-republican-national-convention/">national convention</a>, and other <a href="http://www.quarles.com/news/lawrence-falbe-elected-president-of-the-lake-county-republican-federation/">events</a> that featured Republicans like Gov. Scott Walker. But one campaign finance lawyer based in Wisconsin said Bailey-Rihn is an establishment Democrat elected in one of the state’s bluest counties, who last spring <a href="http://www.madisonteachers.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/FINAL-MTI-Questionnaire-Valerie-Bailey-Rihn.pdf">sought</a> the endorsement of the state teachers' union, a longtime Walker foe. “If you’re going to win in Dane County, you really can’t say she’s conservative.”<br /><br />The recount is fraying nerves on both sides of the aisle. Wisconsin’s Republican Party filed a <a href="http://theuptake.org/2016/11/30/gop-files-election-complaint-in-wisconsin-recount-claiming-stein-and-clinton-coordinated/">complaint</a> with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday, accusing the Stein campaign of illegally coordinating with the Clinton campaign to conduct the recount. They demanded the FEC immediately investigate, saying “this recount effort amounts to nothing more than a massive campaign finance scheme designed to shield the Clinton campaign from unpopular decisions from that which can only serve to benefit Hillary Clinton’s campaign…It is concerning that the Stein campaign would position itself to front and fund a recount attempt that only serves the interests of a desperate and defeated Clinton campaign.”<br /><br />Needless to say, this is the same Wisconsin Republican Party a federal appeals court last week <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/21/us/wisconsin-redistricting-found-to-unfairly-favor-republicans.html?_r=0">ruled</a> had unfairly redrawn political districts to favor its party—a way of tilting elections and the balance of power in its state. This could not be further from the recount’s election integrity mission, to verify the votes cast, which Stein keeps reiterating.<br /><br />“All Americans deserve a voting system we can trust,” she said Wednesday. “People of all political persuasions are asking if our election results are reliable. We must recount the votes so we can build trust in our election system. We need to verify the vote in this and every election so that Americans can be sure we have a fair, secure and accurate voting system.”  <br /><br /><strong>Pennsylvania</strong></p><p>The Keystone state continues to be the steepest climb for a recount. The deadline for a state-ordered recount has passed, leaving the Greens with the monumental task of getting three voters in each of the state’s 9,163 precincts to sign and submit recount petitions to their county election office. The window for those citizen petitions is narrow and closing across the state.   <br /><br />As of Wednesday, they were mostly focusing on six of the largest counties, “which together comprise 3.45 million voters (or 40 percent of the state’s registered voters),” they said. “Since Monday, concerned voters have filed more than 780 petitions in more than 304 election districts in Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Centre, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. These are some of the most vote-rich counties in the state.”<br /><br />While hundreds of people answered the Greens' call for volunteers to help gather and submit the petitions, a judge in Montgomery County, outside Philadelphia, <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/presidential/20161201_Montco_judge_rejects_presidential-vote_recount_request.html">rejected</a> citizen petitions for 72 of the county’s precincts Wednesday. Judge Bernard A. Moore offered “no reason for his ruling,” Philly.com said, saying local election officials and Republicans oppose a recount.<br /><br />“A solicitor for the county's election board and attorneys for the state Republican party opposed the Green Party's petitions, each of which was signed by three voters. They argued, in part, that the petitioners had failed to meet a technical requirement: filing $50 cash with each petition as required under state law,” Philly.com <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/presidential/20161201_Montco_judge_rejects_presidential-vote_recount_request.html">said</a>. “Ilann Maazel, an attorney for Stein's campaign, said the Montgomery County petitions were filed with a fee of $250.69 each as required by the county prothonotary's office — more than enough to cover the cash requirement for recounts.”
</p><p>The Stein campaign has a pending lawsuit in state court seeking a statewide recount. But that suit says the party wants to wait and see how the citizen petition process unfolds before going before a judge.<br /><br />In the meantime, the Green Party, which has <a href="https://jillstein.nationbuilder.com/recount">raised</a> $6.7 million from 144,000 people, with average donations of $44, has increased its fundraising goal to $9.5 million for the recounts. That sum keeps on growing because the state election agencies are charging the party several times what was originally estimated for the recount.<br /><br />The initial Wisconsin cost was estimated at $1.1 million, but the state demanded $3.5 million from the Greens this week. The party paid Michigan a deposit of $973,250 on Wednesday, but state election officials said that cost could double by the time the recount is done. And that estimate comes even as those same officials suggest they may seek to pull the plug on the process once the Electoral College meets and picks the next president on December 19.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1068123'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068123" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 30 Nov 2016 16:45:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1068123 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 2016 presidential recount What 6 Top Election Experts Are Saying About the Next Big Step in the 2016 Recount http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/election-2016/what-6-top-election-experts-are-saying-about-next-big-step-2016-recount <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1068055'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068055" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Wisconsin judge likes hand counts, but won&#039;t order it under state law.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_342696611_0.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>A half-dozen of the nation's top computer scientists who have spent years analyzing how electronic voting machines can malfunction or be hacked to alter vote counts have filed affidavits in the Wisconsin presidential recount in support of hand-counting the ballots.</p><p>The scientists have collectively spent decades advising top state election officials and the federal government’s election oversight panels on computer security and preventing inaccurate or tampered vote counts. Their affidavits support the idea that the Wisconsin Elections Commission should order the state’s counties to recount all paper ballots by hand, instead of leaving it up to counties to decide if they will do that or run them through high-speed scanners as on Election Day. They also make the case that hostile foreign governments like Russia are quite capable of hacking into state election systems, inserting malware to a range of components to alter the reported vote counts and then disappearing with no trace.<br /><br />These assertions are unprecedented in a federal election recount and strongly bolster the Green Party’s argument that the states conducting a presidential recount should conduct the most comprehensive recount possible, starting with hand-counting paper-based elements in voting systems. In Wisconsin, that includes ballots and tapes from touchscreen machines.</p><p>A Wisconsin court began hearing testimony Tuesday afternoon on the Green Party's suit to force a manual recount. The court ruled against the Green Party, with Dane County circuit judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn <a href="http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/11/29/steins-recount-headed-court-tuesday/94598740/">saying</a> the Greens fell short of the legal requirements to order a hand count, even though the judge personally thinks a hand count is a good idea.</p><p>"I follow the law. That's who I am despite my personal opinions," <a href="http://Dane County Circuit Judge Valerie">said</a> Bailey-Rihn. "It's (the counties’) decision. It's their discretion. I may disagree with it… but I must follow the law."<br /><br />What follows are excerpts from the <a href="https://wetransfer.com/downloads/4cef2f3f91dc7e77a27527d670f8e40d20161128220503/12528ce9fa1a0e5c6f265e4ba5f0b7f820161128220503/c3e386">court filings</a> by the six computer scientists supporting a manual recount.<br /><br /><strong>1. Harry Hursti</strong>. In 2005, Hursti, who is based in Finland, developed a series of tests showing that the vote count by Diebold voting machines could be altered. He co-authored a comprehensive study of Ohio’s voting machine vulnerabilities, participated in Princeton studies showing other widely used voting machines were similarly vulnerable to hackers, and studied these issues in Europe.<br /><br />Wisconsin uses the same optical scanning systems that studies he conducted in other states have found are vulnerable, he said, saying the computer memory cards, software, tabulation systems and other elements can all be accessed. “Optical scan machines can be hacked in a manner that changes election results, and such an attack would likely go undetected during normal pre- and post-election testing,” he wrote. “If the scanners are hacked, using them as part of the recount process is likely to result in the same fraudulent election outcome. The only reliable way to detect attacks on the scanners is to recount the paper ballots by hand and compare the results to the electronic tallies.”<br /><br /><strong>2. Douglas W. Jones</strong>. Jones, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Iowa, has been studying electronic voting systems since 1994. He has served on numerous federal panels and advised Congress and states about the technicalities of conducting reliable, verifiable and transparent elections.<br /><br />His affidavit said optical scanning systems reading ballots routinely make errors. “No optical scan technology, including that used in Wisconsin, is capable of perfectly uniform and reliable scanning and electronic tabulation of voter marked ballots… The potential for different interpretations by genuinely impartial scanners is even greater when ballots are initially scanned one machine and recounted on another.” He went on to describe, “for various reasons,” why machines can’t correct these problems, but that a hand count of the ballots could.<br /><br /><strong>3. Ronald L. Rivest</strong>. Rivest has been at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 1974 and teaches computer programming, algorithms, cryptography, theoretical computer science, network and computer security, and elections and voting technology. He invented many of the encryption keys and protocols that are now used in internet browsing and commerce.<br /><br />“We have learned the hard way that almost any computer system can be broken into by a sufficiently determined, skillful and persistent adversary. There is nothing special about voting systems that magically provides protection against attack,” he said, saying that an attacker has many opportunities to place malware into the software codes that run these systems. “This malware may be set to be triggered when a particular event occurs—perhaps something based on the date, the jurisdiction, or the pattern of choices made in an early-cast ‘trigger vote.' The malware may be okay [as] dormant during so-called ‘logic and accuracy’ testing, only to be activated during the actual election.”<br /><br />“While such an attack may naively seem unlikely or implausible, it is not the sort of attack that is beyond the resources of a powerful nation-state, and may be likely or plausible today depending on political circumstances,” he continued. “The ‘Stuxnet’ attack on Iranian nuclear facilities demonstrated that even converters that are not connected to the internet may be successfully attacked.”<br /><br /><strong>4. Philip B. Stark</strong>. Stark is a UC Berkeley professor and dean and director of several mathematics and statistical computing programs and research institutes. He serves on the editorial board of the <em>Journal of Election Technology and Systems</em> and has consulted with numerous federal agencies and congressional committees. He was a member of a California commission in 2007 that ended up phasing out paperless voting systems in the state.<br /> <br />“As of this writing, the margin between the president-elect and the second-place candidate in Wisconsin is 22,525 votes in more than 2,939,490 ballots cast. Hence, errors in the interpretation or tabulation of less than 0.38 percent of the ballots could have caused a tie to appear to be a win,” he wrote. “To determine if the reported winner actually won requires verifying the results as accurately as possible, which in turn requires manually examining the underlying paper record—not merely rescanning and retabulating the ballots.”<br /><br />“When the margins are small, as they are in the 2016 presidential election in many jurisdictions including Wisconsin, the amount of error required to alter the outcome can easily be less than the error that an optical scan system makes in inferring and tabulating voter intent from the ballots or other paper record,” Stark said, underscoring why a hand count is necessary.<br /><br /><strong>5. Poori L. Vora</strong>. Vora is a George Washington University professor of computer science who has spent the past dozen years focusing on computer security, privacy and secure electronic voting machines.<br /><br />“Software-based voting systems are very complex and may consist of hundreds of thousands of lines of code. It is not possible to find all bugs in voting system software; nor is it possible to completely characterize its behavior in all possible scenarios,” Vora said. “For the same reasons, it is not possible to determine with certainty the absence of malicious software hiding within what might appear to be many thousands of lines of legitimate software code. Additionally, it is not possible to confirm with certainty that the code running on the machines is the code that was examined.”<br /><br />Vora said the cashier-like paper printouts on touchscreen voting machines that were printed after each voter cast their ballot needed to be examined and compared to the overall vote totals compiled elsewhere in the system. Rescanning the ballots would not necessarily produce a more accurate count, Vora said, but manually examining the paper record trail would.<br /><br /><strong>6. Dan S. Wallach</strong>. Wallach is a computer science professor at Rice University who has studied electronic voting systems for more than a dozen years, since Congress passed the Help America Vote Act in 2002, which brought the latest generation of machines to all 50 states.<br /><br />“My main message is that our election systems face credible cyber-threats generally, and in this election year those threats are magnified in light of the persuasive evidence of state-sponsored attacks against our elections,” he wrote. “Recounts and audits, particularly in tight races, are appropriate measures to take against these threats.”<br /><br />“Foreign nation-state actors, likely Russia, broke into DNC computers and relapsed documents for expressly partisan purposes,” Wallach continued, adding that they were caught trying to rig the results of a national election in Ukraine in 2014. “We must ask ourselves the same sort of questions that arise in any security analysis. Does the adversary have the means, motive and opportunity to have their desired effect, and do we have the necessary defenses and/or contingency plans to mitigate these threats?”<br /><br />Wallach said the best way to go forward was a manual recount of all the paper records.<br /><br />“By conducting manual tallies, a recount will produce a tally that more accurately represents the intent of Wisconsin voters than an electronic tally,” he concluded. “A manual truly is particularly necessary here given the concerning evidence of Russia-sponsored hacking and the vulnerabilities of our election machinery. Luckily, Wisconsin is a state that has paper records of each vote, which can be used to verify elections. I believe the only appropriate recount in this circumstance is one that manually tallies those paper records."</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1068055'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1068055" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 29 Nov 2016 16:53:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1068055 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 2016 Wisconsin recount Greens Face Rocky Start to Recount in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania as Obstacles to Examining Ballots Emerge http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/election-2016/greens-face-rocky-start-recount-wisconsin-and-pennsylvania-obstacles-examining-ballots <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1067984'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1067984" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">State more than triples Wisconsin cost to $3.5 million.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/p_jill_stein_student_march_neu_-_about.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>The Green Party's presidential recount faced its first on-the-ground challenges in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania Monday, as the first obstacles arose to the comprehensive recount it seeks and the party filed its first lawsuits to expand the process.</p><p>In Wisconsin, where the Greens' recount petition was accepted Friday, the Wisconsin Elections Commission set a timetable for the process starting Thursday, but rejected Jill Stein’s request that all paper ballots be counted by hand, as opposed to using high-speed electronic scanners. The WEC said each of its state’s 72 county election offices could decide what they would do. That led the Greens to file a lawsuit later in the day seeking statewide hand counts, supported by statements from a half-dozen of the foremost computer security experts in academia who have studied voting system vulnerabilities.</p><p>Later in the day, the WEC announced the recount filing fee would be <a href="http://elections.wi.gov/node/4448">$3.5 million</a>, which is more than three times the $1.1 million estimate expected by the Greens as of last weekend. To date, Jill Stein's presidential campaign has <a href="https://jillstein.nationbuilder.com/recount">raised</a> $6.3 million.<br /><br />Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, the Greens, election integrity activists, Democratic Party members, MoveOn.org and others were scurrying to file citizen recount petitions at county election offices. The Green Party faces an almost insurmountable obstacle. It needs three voters from each of the state’s 9,163 precincts to sign and submit petitions, a monumental task, at the same time as a five-day filing window for the recount is closing county-by-county across the state. In an estimated dozen counties, that filing period is already over. On Monday, it submitted recount petitions to 200 precincts.<br /><br />The reality that the Greens were likely to get a patchwork recount in Pennsylvania prompted its lawyers to file a <a href="http://www.pacourts.us/assets/files/setting-5258/file-5730.pdf?cb=87d892">petition</a> with the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania saying the presidential vote count was “illegal” and urging the court to “hold this Petition in abeyance pending the outcome and findings of the recounts.” In other words, they want to preserve the right to go back into court to push the Secretary of the Commonwealth to order a full statewide presidential recount.<br /><br />“The goal here is to find out what the heck is going on—and I have a feeling we won’t,” said Mary Beth Kuznik, a longtime election integrity activist, state Democratic Committee member and member of the state Democratics Party’s executive board, speaking of verifying the vote. “If we don’t, we need to pursue getting a voting system that can be audited and verified.”</p><p><strong>Fine Print of Voting</strong></p><p>The challenges that surfaced Monday are the first of many that are expected to come under the spotlight as the Greens press their case for an open and expansive recount in the three states that gave Donald Trump an Electoral College majority. The party, its legal team, the election integrity activists and computer scientists supporting this effort are aware they are pushing the edge of the legal envelope to expose how three states typifying American elections cast and count votes. (They will file in Michigan on Wednesday.)  <br /><br />The states have different voting systems, including elements where recounts are not possible. That’s because some counties (in Pennsylvania) have entirely paperless machinery and their computers will print out the same results as on November 8. But there have been a series of red flags that could be investigated in Wisconsin and Michigan if county election officials went beyond standard recount procedures and let computer experts examine their system components for counting mistakes, security breaches or hacking. That schism, between the recount procedures used by these states and what the Greens want to examine, is likely to become the subject of numerous lawsuits. So far, Republicans have not stepped into the fray by filing any legal documents or challenges.</p><p>In Wisconsin, the vote count anomalies cited by the Greens include seeing differing margins of victory for Trump based on the voting technology used, inexplicably high voter turnout in many rural counties (85 percent or more), and record high absentee ballots filed. Their recount petition filed last week questioned whether hacking by Russia could have been responsible for inflating Trump votes and included an <a href="http://elections.wi.gov/sites/default/files/news/wisconsin_recount_petition_of_jill_stein_00268242_12391.pdf">affidavit</a> by University of Michigan computer security expert Alex Halderman discussing that scenario. They filed much the same <a href="http://www.pacourts.us/assets/files/setting-5258/file-5730.pdf?cb=87d892">documentation</a> in Pennsylvania in their Monday petition to retain the prospect of a state-ordered recount. In that state, they pointed out that many rural counties use central tabulators that computer security academics use in their classrooms to show students how easily voting can be hacked. In Michigan, they also are suspicious of record absentee ballot counts.</p><p>The Wisconsin lawsuit filed Monday seeking hand counts of the paper ballots and the cashier-like tapes printed by touch-screen voting machines was supported by affidavits from a half-dozen scholars specializing in voting system security. Harry Hursti said paper ballot scanners, their computer memory cards, the various software elements, and the central control and counting systems all can malfunction or be hacked. The University of Iowa's Douglas Jones said optical scanning machinery cannot read every paper ballot and federal voting machine standards don't address malware. Ron Rivest of MIT said only a few altered voters per machine would be sufficient to change the state's presidential vote outcome and rescanning ballots "doesn't help" identify this prospect. The University of California's Philip Stark said skilled hackers could alter the vote and then erase any trace of their actions. George Washington University's Poorvi Vora said hand counts of all the paper ballots and vote count printouts were only the first step in determining whether the vote count had been altered. And Dan Wallach of Rice University said America's nation-state adversaries, like Russia, were more than capable of getting inside America's vulnerable voting systems and altering the counts.</p><p><strong>Ignoring The Critics</strong></p><p>The entrance of these scholars into the recount is unprecedented. Typically, they work with state governments, federal agencies and other researchers to improve computing systems and stay away from recount litigation. It's uncertain how their involvement will be seen, because the recount has generally faced growing criticism—from the chair of Wisconsin’s Election Commission and Democrat <a href="http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/11/28/elections-staff-layout-recount-timeline/94539210/">Mark Thomsen</a> saying it won't change the presidential outcome to progressive publications like the<em> New Yorker</em>, which has <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/news/amy-davidson/another-call-for-a-recount">called</a> the recount a “road to nowhere.” In response, John Bonifaz, an attorney who helped organize the recount, has said that Americans have a right to know vote counts are accurate, especially in an election as volatile and important as the 2016 race for president.<br /><br />“It is a false narrative that this is a partisan effort,” he told <a href="http://www.newsweek.com/presidential-recount-clinton-chances-success-wisconsin-525617">Newsweek</a>. “The nonpartisan election integrity community has been engaged for many, many years dealing with issues around the integrity of the process of how we count votes and the question of who gets to vote. These are all questions having to do with democracy on a small d level, not a partisan level.”  <br /><br />What’s likely to unfold between now and December 19, when the Electoral College meets, is the public will see snapshots of how America’s voter machinery works or doesn’t, and clear lines indicating where the public’s ability to verify the process starts and stops. On Saturday, Hillary Clinton’s campaign counsel Marc Elias announced that the campaign would participate as an observer, though it would likely not change the election’s outcome. The Clinton campaign’s involvement prompted Trump to issue a tweet storm, in which, among other things, he <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump">declared</a>, “I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”</p><p>Trump's tweets prompted another line of blowback and criticism from authorities who said Clinton had won 2 million votes more than Trump, and from state election officials who said millions of people did not illegally vote. “We are getting attacked for participating in a recount that we didn't ask for by the man who won election but thinks there was massive fraud,” Elias <a href="https://twitter.com/marceelias/status/803071609330397184">tweeted</a> in response.<br /><br />There is a false equivalency at play here. Trump's accusation of illegal voting is shrewd political theater, because it is a conspiracy theory that muddies the waters with the Green's most hard-to-prove lines of inquiry, namely the possible involvement of Russia after its hacking of Democratic Party emails this year. The Greens' push for recounts, and the grassroots support that funded this effort (raising $6 million in days), reflects a legitimate desire to verify the votes in an election where the result still confounds them.</p><p>When a half-dozen of the nation's top computer security experts file count documents saying the voting systems in Wisconsin and other states are vulnerable, that's not a conspiracy theory. That's a call to patiently verify the votes, to the greatest extent possible, despite the technology's limitations and barriers to full disclosure. </p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1067984'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1067984" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Mon, 28 Nov 2016 16:43:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1067984 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 2016 presidential recounts wisconsin pennsylvania Green Recount Effort Poised to Explore Whether Russia Hacked the Vote for Trump http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/election-2016/green-recount-effort-poised-explore-whether-russia-hacked-vote-trump <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1067880'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1067880" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The stakes and lines of inquiry became clearer as the Clinton campaign joined the effort.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-11-26_at_5.44.17_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Investigating Russia’s role in interfering and with possibly hacking the 2016 presidential election vote is at the center of the Green Party-led recount effort.<br /><br />The recount entered a new phase Saturday, when both the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Donald Trump transition team issued dueling statements about the need to verify votes in the three states that gave Trump an Electoral College majority. But beyond their appearances, with Clinton’s campaign saying it would participate in the effort, was a remarkable development: the prospect that the recount will try to investigate the biggest unanswered question hanging over the election beside who won: did Russia take steps to hack the vote?<br /><br />Trump called the recount a “ridiculous” effort by the Greens that was fleecing donors of the nearly $6 million raised by midday Saturday. But the <a href="https://medium.com/@marceelias[email protected]717ea39#.sk6157o6y">statement</a> by the Clinton campaign’s top lawyer, Marc Elias, noted in its opening paragraphs that the election, the Democratic Party, and their campaign was repeatedly targeted by the Russians.<br /><br />“This election cycle was unique in the degree of foreign interference witnessed throughout the campaign: the U.S. government concluded that Russian state actors were behind the hacks of the Democratic National Committee and the personal email accounts of Hillary for America campaign officials, and just yesterday, the Washington Post reported that the Russian government was behind much of the 'fake news' propaganda that circulated online in the closing weeks of the election,” Elias wrote on Medium.com, then elaborating about their private investigative efforts to assess the impact of Russian interference in the campaign.<br /><br />Going even further, the first recount <a href="http://elections.wi.gov/sites/default/files/news/wisconsin_recount_petition_of_jill_stein_00268242_12391.pdf">petition</a> filed by the Greens, in Wisconsin, primarily focused on Russian hacking, not on the more easily understood line of inquiry of different voting technologies reporting different margins of victory for Trump despite their locations. The Green's petition opens by stating they believe “an irregularity” has occurred affecting the entire state. It goes on to say that in August, “foreign operators breached voter registration databases in at least two states and stole hundreds of thousands of voter records” at the same time the email systems of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign were hacked and put online. It lists warnings by federal homeland security officials to states to take steps to protect these databases, and then lays out its theories. First, Wisconsin’s voting systems are aging and known to be susceptible to hackers, “including they can be breached without detection and even after certain security measures are put in place.” And that may account for “a significant increase in the number of absentee voters compared to the last general election. This significant increase could be attributed to a breach of the state’s electronic voter database.”<br /><br />That summation and line of inquiry has been <a href="http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/fair-election-serious-hard-explain-questions-arise-about-trump-vote-totals-3-key">reported</a> by AlterNet before. However, the Green’s petition went further to explain what they are going to be looking for as the recount ensues. The first piece of supporting evidence is an affidavit by J. Alex Halderman, a University of Michigan professor of computer science and engineering, and director of the Center for Computer Security and Society based in Ann Arbor. He was part of the team set up by California’s ex-Secretary of State, Debra Bowen, that reviewed the vulnerability of its electronic voting systems and led to the state banning the same machines used in Wisconsin.<br /><br />Russia tried to breach voter registration databases in 20 states last summer, Halderman said, citing the Department of Homeland Security as his source. “Russia has sophisticated cyber-offensive capabilities, and it has shown a willingness to use them to hack elections elsewhere. For instance, according to published reports, during the 2014 presidential election in Ukraine, attackers linked to Russia sabotaged Ukraine’s vote-counting infrastructure, and Ukranian officials succeeded only at the last minute in defusing the vote-stealing malware that could have caused the wrong winner to be announced,” he wrote, referencing and submitting a June 2014 <em>Christian Science Monitor</em> <a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Passcode/2014/0617/Ukraine-election-narrowly-avoided-wanton-destruction-from-hackers-video">article</a> that described the hacks and averted tampering.<br /><br />Not mentioned in the Green’s filing was Paul Manafort, who came aboard Trump’s campaign last spring and shepherded it through the Republican National Convention until he was forced to resign because of a multi-million-dollar cash payment from consulting in Ukraine, and he was working for the pro-Russian side of the June 2014 Ukranian election, the <em>Washington Post</em> <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/08/19/paul-manaforts-complicated-ties-to-ukraine-explained/">reported</a> last August. “Even with [pro-Russian Viktor] Yanukovych out of the country, the <em>[New York] Times</em> <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/15/us/politics/paul-manafort-ukraine-donald-trump.html?_r=0">reports</a> Manafort kept working in Ukraine with the president's former chief of staff to help keep the pro-Russian party in the political game. It worked. The party ended up being a significant influence in parliament.”<br /><br />Halderman’s affidavit continued, saying the same vote tampering that occurred in Ukraine could have occurred in some of 2016’s presidential swing states:</p><blockquote><p>"If a foreign government were to attempt to hack American voting machines to influence the outcome of a presidential election, one might expect the hackers to proceed as follows. First, the attackers might probe election offices well in advance to find ways to break into the computers. Next, closer to the election, when it was clear from polling data which state would have close electoral margin, the attackers might spread malware into voting machines into some of the states, manipulating the machines to shift a few percent of the vote to favor the desired candidate. This malware would likely be designed to remain inactive during pre-election tests, perform its function during the election, and then erase itself after the polls closed. One would expect a skilled attacker’s work to leave no visible signs, other than a surprising electoral outcome in which results in several close states differed from pre-election polling.”</p></blockquote><p>America’s voting machinery is especially vulnerable to that scenario, Halderman said, noting that he personally has installed malware in electronic voting machines to achieve that exact result. Whether voting machines are connected to the internet “is irrelevant,” he said, which is directly applicable to Wisconsin, whose safeguards include keeping its voting machines offline, state election officials have previously <a href="http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/fair-election-serious-hard-explain-questions-arise-about-trump-vote-totals-3-key">told</a> AlterNet<em>.</em> All it takes is one memory card to be inserted into the system at any point, he said, for such malware to be spread.<br /><br />“This explanation is plausible, in light of other known cyber attacks intended to affect the outcome of the election; the profound vulnerability of American voting machines to cyberattack; and the fact that a skilled attacker would leave no outwardly visible evidence of an attack other than an unexpected result,” Halderman reiterated. “The only way to determine whether a cyber attack affected the outcome of the 2016 presidential election is to examine the available physical evidence—that is, to count the paper ballots and paper audit trail records, and review the voting equipment… Using the electronic equipment to conduct the recount, even after first evaluating the machine through a test deck, is insufficient. Attackers intending to commit a successful cyber attack could, and likely would, create a method to undermine any pre-tests… Voting equipment that might yield forensic evidence of an attack includes the voting machines, removable media, and election management system computers. Paper ballot, paper audit trails, and voting equipment will only be examined in this manner if there is a recount.”<br /><br />This scenario of examining the entire voting system is not what the state of Wisconsin is envisioning when conducting the recount, according to a <a href="http://elections.wi.gov/sites/default/files/news/nr_presidential_recount_petition_received_11_25_20_20040.pdf">statement</a> by the state election administrator, Michael Hass, on Friday, saying that the Green Party has filed for its recount.</p><p>“In a recount, all ballots (including those that were originally hand-counted) are examined to determine voter intent before being retabulated. In addition, the county boards of canvassers will examine other documents, including poll lists, written absentee applications, rejected absentee ballots, and provisional ballots before counting the votes.”<br /><br />Haas said the Wisconsin Election Commission’s role in the recount is “to provide legal guidance to the counties during the recount, and to certify the results.” This is a new state board composed of partisan appointees by Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who disbanded the state’s former Government Accountability Board, which was comprised of retired state judges and was among the most highly respected election oversight panel in the country.<br /><br />In other words, these preliminary and contradictory statements from the Clinton campaign, Green Party and Wisconsin election administrator show why the upcoming presidential recount is going to be controversial and headed into court at many steps along the way. It also shows that the Greens are taking the lead in advancing the one storyline the Clinton campaign did not get the media to heed—the extent to which Russia may have tampered with America’s voting machinery and tilted the result to a candidate who embraced Vladimir Putin.<br /><br />“Because we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, we had not planned to exercise this option ourselves, but now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides,” Clinton counsel Marc Elias said on Saturday. “The campaign is grateful to all those who have expended time and effort to investigate various claims of abnormalities and irregularities. While that effort has not, in our view, resulted in evidence of manipulation of results, now that a recount is underway, we believe we have an obligation to the more than 64 million Americans who cast ballots for Hillary Clinton to participate in ongoing proceedings to ensure that an accurate vote count will be reported.”</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1067880'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1067880" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Sat, 26 Nov 2016 17:32:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1067880 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 2016 presidential recount Russian hacking green party clinton campaign Clinton Campaign to Participate in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan Recounts, Top Lawyer Says http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/election-2016/clinton-campaign-participate-wisconsin-pennsylvania-michigan-recounts-top-lawyer-says <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1067862'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1067862" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Her campaign has been privately investigating vote counts.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/hillary_close_up.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>The Clinton campaign will participate in the presidential recounts initiated by the Green Party, its top election lawyer Marc Elias said Saturday, even though the campaign does not expect it to change the results giving Donald Trump an Electoral College majority.<br /><br />Elias, writing on <a href="https://medium.com/@marceelias[email protected]717ea39#.onx0gfpxp">medium.com</a>, gave the campaign’s most detailed post-election accounting of its private inquiries into the possibility that the vote counts were not accurate or had possibly been hacked. They said they had quietly explored all of the avenues they could, including a meeting with the team that filed for the Greens, which led to a leaked <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/11/activists-urge-hillary-clinton-to-challenge-election-results.html">story</a> that computer experts were pressuring the Clinton campaign to file for a recount.<br /><br />Elias’ statement said it was the campaign’s duty to see the process through to its end, including being present as recounts unfold in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. On Friday, the Green Party filed for a recount in Wisconsin. There are plans to file for a recount in Pennsylvania starting Monday, which is a county-by-county process, and in Michigan on Wednesday. Elias said they would “participate” in the recount without specifying exactly what that may entail.<br /><br />“Because we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, we had not planned to exercise this option ourselves, but now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides,” Elias <a href="https://medium.com/@marceelias[email protected]717ea39#.onx0gfpxp">wrote</a>. “If Jill Stein follows through as she has promised and pursues recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan, we will take the same approach in those states as well. We do so fully aware that the number of votes separating Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the closest of these states — Michigan — well exceeds the largest margin ever overcome in a recount. But regardless of the potential to change the outcome in any of the states, we feel it is important, on principle, to ensure our campaign is legally represented in any court proceedings and represented on the ground in order to monitor the recount process itself.”<br /><br />The announcement has the potential to take the recount to a new level where it is taken more seriously by the mainstream media as an effort to confirm that Donald Trump was elected by a verified vote count and to identify the segments of swing states that supported his candidacy. The Clinton campaign’s involvement also signals that the Republicans may likely become involved in the legal fights surrounding the recounts in each state. Each state has varying voting systems, ballot types, procedures and recount protocols and you can expect that there will be parallel litigation over the fine print of examining ballots and paperless machinery.<br /><br />Elias said the Clinton campaign had been inundated with calls from supporters encouraging the campaign to get involved in the recount, “urging us to do something, anything, to investigate claims that the election results were hacked and altered in a way to disadvantage Secretary Clinton. The concerns have arisen, in particular, with respect to Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — three states that together proved decisive in this presidential election and where the combined margin of victory for Donald Trump was merely 107,000 votes.”<br /><br />The campaign took these messages seriously, especially after it viewed itself as under unprecedented attack by the Russian government. He wrote, “this election cycle was unique in the degree of foreign interference witnessed throughout the campaign: the U.S. government concluded that Russian state actors were behind the hacks of the Democratic National Committee and the personal email accounts of Hillary for America campaign officials, and just yesterday, the <em>Washington Post</em> reported that the Russian government was behind much of the 'fake news' propaganda that circulated online in the closing weeks of the election.”</p><p>Elias listed the following five steps the campaign has taken since Election Day to ensure the vote counts were accurate:</p><ul><li>“We have had lawyers and data scientists and analysts combing over the results to spot anomalies that would suggest a hacked result. These have included analysts both from within the campaign and outside, with backgrounds in politics, technology and academia.”</li><li>“We have had numerous meetings and calls with various outside experts to hear their concerns and to discuss and review their data and findings. As a part of this, we have also shared our data and findings with them. Most of those discussions have remained private, while at least one has unfortunately been the subject of leaks.”</li><li>“We have attempted to systematically catalogue and investigate every theory that has been presented to us within our ability to do so.”</li><li>“We have examined the laws and practices as they pertain to recounts, contests and audits.”</li><li>“Most importantly, we have monitored and staffed the post-election canvasses — where voting machine tapes are compared to poll-books, provisional ballots are resolved, and all of the math is double-checked from election night. During that process, we have seen Secretary Clinton’s vote total grow, so that, today, her national popular vote lead now exceeds more than 2 million votes.”</li></ul><p>Elias acknowledged that the recount and audit procedures vary from state to state and may not lead to satisfying results, because there are gaps preventing every vote to be recounted at the county level. Also because in some cases, the machinery of elections does not have a paper trail.<br /><br />“For instance, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania conduct post-election audits using a sampling of precincts. Michigan and many other states still do not,” he said. “This is unfortunate; it is our strong belief that, in addition to an election canvass, every state should do this basic audit to ensure accuracy and public confidence in the election.”<br /><br />He said the Clinton campaign remains dedicated to ensuring an accurate vote count.</p><p>“In the coming days, we will continue to perform our due diligence and actively follow all further activities that are to occur prior to the certification of any election results.”</p><p><strong>Trump Calls Recount "Ridiculous"</strong></p><p>Trump also made his first comments on the recount on Saturday, via a transition team press release. Trump, who spent months saying the election was "rigged" unless he won, now says that "the people have spoken and the election is over" and "we must accept this result and then look to the future."</p><p>"It is important to point out that with the help of millions of voters across the country, we won 306 electoral votes on Election Day - the most of any Republican since 1988 – and we carried nine of 13 battleground states, 30 of 50 states, and more than 2,600 counties nationwide - the most since President Ronald Reagan in 1984," his statement said. It omitted that Clinton had won 2 million more popular votes than him nationwide.</p><p>Trump also slammed Stein and the Green Party, saying the recount effort was a self-enrichment scheme.</p><p>"This recount is just a way for Jill Stein, who received less than one percent of the vote overall and wasn’t even on the ballot in many states, to fill her coffers with money, most of which she will never even spend on this ridiculous recount," he said. "All three states were won by large numbers of voters, especially Pennsylvania, which was won by more than 70,000 votes. This is a scam by the Green Party for an election that has already been conceded, and the results of this election should be respected instead of being challenged and abused, which is exactly what Jill Stein is doing."</p><p>The three states targeted for the recount had much closer results than Trump stated.</p><p>In Wisconsin, the latest <a href="http://elections.wi.gov/node/4436">figures</a> show Trump's lead has shrunk to 23,000 votes. In Michigan, it is <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/president">11,000</a> votes. In Pennsylvania, it is <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/president">68,000</a> votes.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1067862'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1067862" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Sat, 26 Nov 2016 10:13:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1067862 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 2016 presidential recount clinton campaign marc elias Green Party Recount Update: Lawyers, Activists, Organizers Get Going in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/green-party-recount-update-lawyers-activists-organizers-get-going-wisconsin-and-pennsylvania <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1067825'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1067825" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Jill Stein&#039;s campaign has raised $5 million as of midday Friday.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-11-25_at_10.44.12_am.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p><em>Editor's note: This report has been updated.</em></p><p>The Green Party filed for a 2016 presidential recount in Wisconsin on Friday, after the party's nominee Jill Stein raised more than $5 million from grassroots donations as of midday. The Greens are also planning to file in Pennsylvania and Michigan early next week.</p><p>Wisconsin election adminstrator Michael Haas <a href="http://elections.wi.gov/node/4436">said</a> the Greens met the state's deadline, adding that it will now calculate the precise fee estimated at $1.1 million. Rocky Roque De La Fuente, the Reform and American Delta Party nominee, also filed ror a recount.</p><p>“We have assembled an internal team to direct the recount, we have been in close consultation with our county clerk partners, and have arranged for legal representation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice,” Haas <a href="http://elections.wi.gov/node/4436">said</a>. “We plan to hold a teleconference meeting for county clerks next week and anticipate the recount will begin late in the week after the Stein campaign has paid the recount fee, which we are still calculating.”</p><p>John Bonifaz, a voting rights attorney who helped organize the 2016 recount and was lead counsel for the Green and Libertarian Parties’ 2004 presidential recount in Ohio, said the Green's Wisconsin recount petition justified why it was needed.</p><p>“We’ll point to the fact that there are certain [electronic voting] systems in the state of Wisconsin that are being used, which have been proven to be vulnerable to being tampered with or being hacked. And the state of California banned the use of those systems, but Wisconsin, with some restrictions, still uses them,” he said. “So that’s point one. Given the fact that those systems are still in use, it’s important too make sure that we verify the vote.”<br /><br />“The other systems, the paper ballot systems, we’ve determined, are, in fact, showing a discrepancy between the jurisdictions where the paper ballots have been used and the touch-screen machines have been used,” he continued, referring to different margin of victory depending on the voting technology. “That discrepancy has given rise further to the point of verifying the vote. There are different theories as to why that discrepancy exists. One can argue the demographics in the jurisdictions with the touch screen machines point to why there is that discrepancy. But until we actually verify the vote we won’t know the answers to this.”</p><p>The recount was far more intricate process than the state audits routinely conducted after every election, Haas said. His statement signaling the involvement of the state's Department of Justice suggested there are likely to be court fights over the process of how ballots are to be recounted, by machine or hand, and the timetable for doing so.</p><p>"A recount is different than an audit and is more rigorous," Haas' <a href="http://elections.wi.gov/node/4436">said</a>. "More than 100 reporting units across the state were randomly selected for a separate audit of their voting equipmnt as required by state law, and that process has already begun. Electronic voting equipment audits determine whether all properly-marked ballots are accurately tabulated by the equipment. In a recount, all ballots (including those that were originally hand counted) are examined to determine voter intent before being retabulated. In addition, the county boards of canvassers will examine other documents, including poll lists, written absentee applications, rejected absentee ballots, and provisional ballots before counting the votes."</p><p>The Greens were busy Friday preparing for the recount filing. The legal process is being handed over to a New York City election law firm. Organizers held a press event in Milwaukee and then went to the capital, Madison, to file with the Wisconsin Elections Commission. A WEC staffer reached early Friday said with nearly 3 million ballots, the recount would take several weeks. It must be completed by December 13 under federal law.</p><p><strong>Pennsylvania</strong></p><p>The process and organizing in Pennsylvania could not be more different. In Pennsylvania, citizens can submit petitions to each county board of elections to recount their precincts up to five days after the official canvas, or countywide count, is completed. There is a big grassroots effort underway to do that, despite <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/11/24/why-are-people-giving-jill-stein-millions-of-dollars-for-an-election-recount/">mainstream</a> <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/23/us/politics/vote-count-hillary-clinton-trump.html?hp&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;clickSource=story-heading&amp;module=b-lede-package-region®ion=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news">media</a> reports which incorrectly said the filing window has ended for the 2016 election. That deadline is for parties filing with the state, not for citizens filing with local election boards.<br /><br />“Based on the law as we read it, all counties must complete their canvass. Voters then have the right to file for five days afterward,” said Aquene Fairchild, who is working with a team of 120 volunteers to collect and coordinate petitions to be delivered to local boards of election. “We will start filing today, but many offices are closed until Monday.”<br /><br />The Pennsylvania team started calling county election boards on Wednesday, after the Greens announced their fundraising drive. So far, they have only identified four counties that completed their canvass more than five days ago, forgoing the possibility of a recount. One is Luzerne, in northeastern Pennsylvania, where 125,000 votes were cast and Trump had 58 percent of the vote compared to Clinton’s 39 percent. It was seen as a bellwether for the state.<br /><br />“We are filing with county boards of election for each precinct; it’s not a court process,” Fairchild said, adding that the Greens are seeking more volunteers (<a href="mailto:parcvolunteer@gmail.com">parcvolunteer@gmail.com</a>). On the ground, efforts are being organized though <a href="http://votepa.us/">VotePA.us</a>, an election integrity group that has long advocated for greater transparency in elections.<br /><br />Organizers are digging into the intricacies of the process in each state. In Pennsylvania, three-fourths of the counties use entirely paperless electronic voting, meaning there is no paper trail to verify—although they could review the machine’s test reports from Election Day, as well as potentially examine each county's central tabulators. In Wisconsin, in contrast, counties using electronic machines produce a cash register-like paper tape that records each vote, which can be compared to reported totals. These are examples of the details now under discussion.</p><p>“Wisconsin has the most decentralized election system in the United States,” Haas <a href="http://elections.wi.gov/node/4436">said</a>. “The system has strong local control coupled with state oversight, resting on the partnership between the Wisconsin Elections Commission, the 72 county clerks, and the 1,854 municipal clerks. State law clearly gives each county’s board of canvassers the primary authority to conduct the recount, and to decide which ballots should and should not be counted. Recounting votes is an open, transparent process in which each of the candidates may have representatives present to raise objections, and where the public may be present to observe.”</p><p>That level of complexity, coupled with filing fees in the three state exceeding $2.5 million, is why the Greens said they needed to raise approximately $6 million to file, litigate and observe the recount.<br /><br /><strong>Backlash Already?</strong></p><p>The mainstream media have not taken the recount as a serious effort to verify who won the three states that gave Trump an Electoral College victory. On one prominent election law blog, the moderator <a href="http://electionlawblog.org/">said</a> the Greens had “opportunistically” raised their fundraising goals, and were not required to use the recount funds for that purpose.<br /><br />That’s not correct, however. The party is operating under a 2006 Federal Elections Commission advisory opinion, <a href="http://saos.fec.gov/saos/searchao;jsessionid=D2D3BBC59CAE7644B0B5E29DB38215EB?SUBMIT=continue&amp;PAGE_NO=0">2006-24</a>, that says the recount funds have to be segregated and used for that purpose. That ruling says:</p><blockquote><p>“Money raised by the recount funds will not be used to pay for pre-election or Election Day expenses, such as administrative costs, get-out-the-vote activities or communication expenses. Instead, the recount funds will be used only to pay for 'expenses resulting from a recount, election contest, counting of provisional and absentee ballots and ballots cast in polling places,' as well as 'post-election litigation and administrative-proceeding expenses concerning the casting and counting of ballots during the Federal election, fees for the payment of staff assisting the recount or election contest efforts, and administrative and overhead expenses in connection with recounts and election contests' ('recount activities')."</p></blockquote><p>The Green Party has have been taking donations via Jill Stein’s campaign <a href="https://jillstein.nationbuilder.com/recount">webpage</a>, which crossed the $5 million threshold about 1pm EST on Friday, and the state of Ohio <a href="http://www.ohiogreens.org/">Green Party</a>. ReCountNow’s <a href="https://recountnow.nationbuilder.com/">webpage</a> is taking donations for volunteer activities, such as observing the count and precinct-based investigations.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1067825'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1067825" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Fri, 25 Nov 2016 10:30:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1067825 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 2016 presidential recount Recount or Bust: It's the Only Way to Verify Who Won the 2016 Election http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/election-2016/recount-or-bust-its-only-way-verify-who-won-2016-election <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1067767'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1067767" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The public has questions that only a recount can answer.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wffbww.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/compiled_election_web.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>John Bonifaz is a longtime voting rights attorney and founder of the National Voting Rights Institute. In 2004, he was lead counsel for the Green and Libertarian parties that filed for a presidential recount in Ohio. He has been leading efforts to file for presidential recounts in the three states that tipped the Electoral College majority from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump. AlterNet’s Steven Rosenfeld interviewed him on Wednesday.<br /><br /><strong>Steven Rosenfeld: Let’s start with why do a recount, and who can do it?  </strong><br /><br />John Bonifaz: The reason why we need to have recounts done in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin is because this was a very, very close election and the way we verify the vote is to go through the recount process. We unfortunately do not have mandatory audits in any of those states and most states in the country, and therefore we rely on machine counts on election night to tell who won and who lost a particular election.<br /><br />Any functioning democracy should involve the verification of the vote. That, in this case, involves a recount process. The candidates who are on the ballot in Michigan and Wisconsin can call for the recount. In Pennsylvania, it’s voters who can. It doesn’t have to be the runner-up candidate. Third-party candidates can call for the recounts in Michigan and Wisconsin. And three voters per county in Pennsylvania can call for them. There were serious concerns leading up to the election about the vulnerability of our voting systems. There were anomalies that occurred on Election Day and all those give rise to the basis of why we make sure we verify the vote.</p><p><strong>Steven Rosenfeld: In Wisconsin, my understanding is you have to file a legal complaint of what went wrong. What will you point to?</strong></p><p>John Bonifaz: First, we’ll point to the fact that there are certain [electronic voting] systems in the state of Wisconsin that are being used, which have been proven to be vulnerable to being tampered with or being hacked. And the state of California banned the use of those systems, but Wisconsin, with some restrictions, still uses them. So that’s point one. Given the fact that those systems are still in use, it’s important to make sure that we verify the vote.<br /><br />The other systems, the paper ballot systems, we’ve determined are in fact showing a discrepancy between the jurisdictions where the paper ballots have been used and [where] the touchscreen machines have been used. That discrepancy has given rise further to the point of verifying the vote. There are different theories as to why that discrepancy exists. One can argue the demographics in the jurisdictions with the touchscreen machines point to why there is that discrepancy. But until we actually verify the vote we won’t know the answers to this.<br /><br /><strong>SR: And that’s where the preliminary research has shown there are a dozen counties where greater than 85 percent reported turnout—another red flag—right?</strong><br /><br />JB: Correct. We all heard the Nate Silver thing—it’s explainable by demographics and not by any problem with the machines. But this is anybody’s guess. His theory might be plausible. But the theory that the voting systems had some kind of vulnerability and were tampered with might also be plausible. The purpose of a recount is to assure the public and the voters that we have verified the process.<br /><br />We engage in the cross-checking and the double-checking of matters all the time in other areas of our society. There’s no reason why we wouldn’t want to verify the vote, particularly in this kind of an election.<br /><br /><strong>SR: Now what is the Green Party’s role? They can file because they have a candidate.</strong><br /><br />JB: They have a candidate that was on the ballot in those states, and that candidate has a right under that state’s law to demand a recount.   <br /><br /><strong>SR: What is their history in this kind of process?</strong><br /><br />JB: I served as lead counsel for the Green Party presidential candidate and the Libertarian presidential candidate in 2004 in a demand for a recount in Ohio in that presidential election, when Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic candidate for president, chose not to seek the recount. And the Green Party and the Libertarian Party stepped forward and demanded that recount and raised the funds from small-dollar donors all across the country. That was a healthy process to engage in.<br /><br />That is really the kind of healthy democratic process that we should engage in today. When every poll in the country showed that there would be a different result on Election Night than what was reported, particularly going into those three states, the public is deserving to know, with all the anomalies on top of that, that we verified the vote. And we’re not going to know until we’ve done the recounts.<br /><br /><strong>SR: The first deadline for filing is Friday in Wisconsin.</strong><br /><br />JB: Friday at 5pm Eastern, and the funds need to be raised in time enough for that filing to occur. So it’s really by midday Friday at the latest.<br /><br /><em>Editor’s note: The Green Party needs to raise $5-$6 million for the recount, split between state filing costs and legal fees. As of Friday morning, they have raised $4.9 million. Jill Stein’s presidential campaign has a <a href="https://jillstein.nationbuilder.com/recount">webpage</a> for donations up to $2,700, the individual contribution limit for federal presidential campaigns. The Green Party’s Ohio state party can take individual <a href="http://www.ohiogreens.org/">donations</a> up to $10,000, which will be used for the recount. ReCountNow also has a <a href="https://recountnow.nationbuilder.com/">webpage</a> for donations and volunteering for observing the count and precinct-based investigations.</em>   </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1067767'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1067767" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 23 Nov 2016 16:41:00 -0800 Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet 1067767 at http://www.wffbww.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 Green Party presidenrial recount John Bonifaz