On Wednesday, Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein launched an online fundraising page to fund her request of a recount in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Before midnight, she had raised her $2m dollar target to file for a recount in Wisconsin and continues to raise money for a recount in Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Jill Stein knows she is not going to win any of these states - they were close Clinton/Trump tossups that Trump has won. But it will serve her a platform to talk about the election in a way that the media has ignored her thus far, having won more votes for the Green Party since 2000. It will also put her point that the Electoral College is an out-dated system of electing the President, and seek to suggest that the popular vote winner should be elected President. Stein will also demonstrate an ability to raise millions of dollars in a very short amount of time, potentially signalling another run in 2020 or at least demonstrating the Green Party's influence in American politics.
Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania are all "Rust Belt" states that indicated big numbers for Clinton, but were ultimately called for Trump with a lead of less than 1%. Combined, they are worth 46 electoral votes - enough to decide the Presidency in this tight election. If even just Michigan and Pennsylvania come in for Clinton, Trump will only receive 270 Electoral College votes, putting him in danger of losing the Presidency to any 'faithless electors'.
But what are the chances of this happening? The short answer is: Low.
Although Clinton is leading the popular vote by over two million votes, these are coming from strong Democratic areas. To flip Wisconsin, Clinton would need to overturn a 27,000 vote lead. Pennsylvania is 60,000 votes and Michigan is just over 10,000. It is an incredibly difficult task, and one that is unlikely to succeed because of the sheer quantity of voted needed. Even if Clinton were to win Michigan, which is the most likely, she would still fall short of winning the 270 Electoral College votes.
However, this is an important event in the presidential election, one that may not help Hillary Clinton become President, but could ultimately destroy Donald Trump's foreign policy objectives.
It is important because forensic scientists and lawyers have been urging the Clinton camp to appeal for a recount based on strange occurrences in counties with electronic voting machines in several key swing states. Wisconsin, for example, saw a seven per cent fall in Clinton support in counties that used electronic counting machines compared to those that did not. This could have accounted for up to 30,000 votes, which could overturn Clinton's 27,000 vote loss. Some have gone as far to say that they believe the Russian Government have hacked the system, who have admitted to have had ties with the Trump campaign during the election campaign.
Trump has repeatedly spoken in favour of Vladimir Putin and the Russian Government at large. He says he can do business with them, and has hinted at realigning US-Russian relations over his Presidency. However, the American public would be incredibly angered by this decision if the Russians were proved, or even linked, to electoral fraud in key swing states in the American election. Trump is likely to have to follow a colder approach to the Russian Government, derailing some of his foreign policy objectives.
However, this would force the Trump Administration into an isolationist Foreign Policy. Having already began to alienate the Chinese and the European Union, Trump could see a decline in American influence across the globe. Similarly, with his withdrawal from TPP, he will anger many of the Asian countries that have become empowered through the bilateral trade deal. Asia will see a rise in China, with blocs becoming the new superpowers. Trump could ultimately be the catalyst which sees the fall in America's world standing through his own strategy of alienating potential friends to forge new alliances, ones that Stein may force him to disregard.
However, this would continue to be a problem even if Clinton were to win the election from Trump, or if the House decided to elect Gary Johnson as the President. Trump's isolationist attitude would have already cemented enough damage for America that any President would have to spend years to rectify.
Ultimately, the recount is unlikely to give much to the Clinton camp - they are too far behind to think that this recount will give them a victory. Even if it did, it would become difficult for Clinton to lead with growing questions over election rigging. Nevertheless, the allegation of Russian electoral involvement on this scale could upset many non-Trump voters, as well as many voters that voted Trump in protest of Clinton. His policies, which risk America's foreign diplomacy in favour of domestic policies, could be crushed by how unprepared he is to become President. Thus Jill Stein, with her recount, could begin to not only see a massive shift in Trump's foreign policy objectives, but also the failure of his presidency before it even begins.