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by Jim Duncan

The past forty-eight hours have produced rumors of progressives possibly calling for state specific vote recounts, as well as an orchestrated conservative effort to deprive Donald Trump of his necessary 270 electoral votes on December 19. So is there any chance of a third-act twist to the 2016 election and a new winner emerging? Probably not. But as always with this election, the potential to up the crazy and fracture the nation further is definitely real.

On Wednesday, Hillary Clinton’s popular vote win had grown to nearly 2 million, and a group of prominent computer scientists publicly urged the Democratic candidate to demand recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. The group reported that they “might” have found evidence of the electronic vote totals from those states being manipulated. It appears that their suggestion is primarily based on statistical analysis of Clinton’s vote performance on electronic versus paper ballots however, and not concrete evidence of electronic voter hacking or fraud at this time. The Clinton camp has thus far given no public statement regarding their intent.

Given the continual increase of Clinton’s popular vote margin however, and the ongoing progressive protests around the country, Green Party Candidate Jill Stein has apparently jumped on voter dissatisfaction and raised millions for a recount in only a few hours. What would happen if the actual candidate capable of benefiting, Hillary Clinton, began to also petition for recounts remains to be seen, although her time to do so is running out.

Additionally, a mostly conservative movement of electoral voters has now formed in attempt to deny Donald Trump the electoral vote win. Michael Baca, a leader of the “Hamilton Electors,” has gone on television to encourage other electors to implement their legally allowed ability to vote their conscience on December 19 and pick a different Republican than Donald Trump. Their plan requires only 37 electors out of Trump’s 306 assigned to switch their votes to anyone other than Trump, and the presidency will then be decided by the House of Representatives. The group claims that several electors have already pledged their support for the plan, but it remains to be seen how many actually cast their vote for someone other than Trump as well as if there is a viable conservative alternative to him.

All of these challenges to a Donald Trump presidency are legal and possible, but the question remains if they are wise. Ongoing recounts will serve to only further widen the cracks in our divided country. An Electoral College mutiny against Trump will certainly only embolden claims of a “rigged system,” and possibly even initiate a constitutional crisis with harrowing implications. Of course, if Mr. Trump were slightly more mature and diplomatic in his public efforts to heal the division he has largely created throughout his campaign, then there would not be these potentialities brewing in the first place. Regardless of who is right or wrong, there will continue to be interesting developments in this election at least through December 19, and it might not be completely over just yet.

James R Duncan’s novel, Blood Republic, is a fictional thriller about two-party corruption breaking the country into a second civil war of Republicans vs Democrats. It can be found at Amazon, and other major retailers. You can follow Jim on Twitter or Medium.