Wisconsin’s Recount Will Only Serve to Confirm Donald Trump’s Humiliating Defeat


One-term president Donald J. Trump (Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images)

Donald Trump is staking his hopes for overturning the results of the 202o presidential election in Wisconsin on a crudely transparent strategy that seeks to disenfranchise minority voters and students. But it won’t work. Trump is going to be embarrassed in dramatic fashion when the results of the recount he has demanded confirm a humiliating defeat for the soon to be former president.

Trump’s recount gambit deliberately, and dishonestly, refuses to recognize Wisconsin for what it is: a state closely divided between Democrats and Republicans. It’s a political battleground where presidential elections are often decided by less than 1 percent of the vote, and where election official know how to produce accurate vote counts.

In 2000, Democrat Al Gore beat Republican George W. Bush in Wisconsin by 5,708 votes—a 0.22 percent margin of victory. In 2004, Democrat John Kerry beat Bush by 11,384 votes—a 0.38 percent margin of victory. In 2016, Republican Donald Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton by 22,748 votes—a 0.77 percent margin of victory.

Biden’s lead is not particularly small by Wisconsin standards. In 2020, according to the canvass of November 3 ballots cast in the state, Democrat Joe Biden has beaten Trump by 20,608 votes—a 0.63 percent margin of victory.

The Democrat’s winning margin is well above the 0.25 percent threshold that Wisconsin set several years ago—at the behest of former Republican Governor Scott Walker and his legislative allies—to identify the range in which a recount might have an outside chance of succeeding. The state doesn’t cover the cost for a review of results outside that range. So Trump and his lawyers have now demanded and paid for a recount, which began Friday morning. They’re peddling the delusional claim that enough “irregularities” will be identified to flip the state into his column. It’s part of a multi-state initiative by the defeated president and his slow-witted enablers to foster the fantasy that—despite having lost the popular balloting by a margin that will easily exceed 6 million votes, and despite having lost five states that he carried in 2016—he is somehow being robbed of a second term.

From the start of the 2020 campaign, Trump staked his reelection bid on a trio of states—Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania—that he narrowly won in 2016, as well as states such as Minnesota, Georgia, and Arizona, where he looked vulnerable this year. He lost them all, in a humiliating result that he refuses to accept. Instead of conceding Biden’s victory, the president keeps griping about “fraud,” and now he’s trying to find evidence of it in Wisconsin with a much-hyped recount.  

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