At Third Debate, Trump Won’t Commit to Accepting Election Results If He Loses
Donald Trump does not respect the democratic process.
A defiant Donald Trump used the high-profile setting of the final presidential debate here Wednesday night to amplify one of the most explosive charges of his candidacy: that if he loses the election, he might consider the results illegitimate because the process is rigged.
Questioned directly as to whether he would accept the outcome should Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton prevail on Nov. 8, Trump demurred. “I will keep you in suspense,” the Republican nominee said.
When given a chance to clarify his remarks by host Chris Wallace, Trump simply repeated his refusal to say for certain that he would accept the results of the election.
Clinton called Trump’s answer “horrifying,” saying he was “talking down our democracy.”
(h/t Washington Post)
With his leading of the racist birther movement and his refusal during the third debate, this is the third consecutive presidential election that Donald Trump tried to de-legitimize.
In order to understand just how anti-democracy and anti-American Trump’s stance is, we need some historical context.
The United States of America is credited as the very first time in the recorded history of the world a peaceful, election-based transfer of political power of the premier from one political party to another. The entire world watched as America’s election of 1800 became a bitter and ugly fight between incumbent President John Adams and challenger and fellow founding father Thomas Jefferson. People in Europe, who lived under monarchies and theocracies for centuries, assumed this would be the point where America’s experiment with democracy would fail. But when President Adams lost and peacefully conceded total and complete power to Jefferson, it placed the rest of the world is disbelief, and led as an example for every election that followed.
(Side note, I’m a fan of Roman history and there were many instances where individuals were made dictator, usually to help stop an invading group, and then peacefully stepped down when their term as dictator was up. It was Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus who first began this tradition, who many statesmen modeled themselves after including George Washington who insisted his paintings and sculptures were to be inspired from those of Cincinnatus.)
Many of Trump’s surrogates have pointed to the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore as a recent example of one candidate not conceding to another.
Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, “Al Gore had already conceded the election to George W. Bush in 2000, Chris, we remember the night well. And then he called to retract his concession, and it went on for six weeks, it went all the way to the United States Supreme Court.”
But what Conway and the other supports are deceitfully neglecting to mention is in 2000, we had a perilously close popular vote in the state of Florida which triggered an automatic machine recount of ballots in the state. Only after that recount showed the race even closer than it was previously—just 327 votes separated the two candidates out of 6 million votes total across the state—did Gore opt to pursue a hand recount in four counties, a right granted to him by Florida law.
The day after the Supreme Court ordered the state of Florida to stop its recount of ballots on December 12, 2000, Al Gore conceded the race and called George W. Bush to congratulate him on his victory.
This is absolutely and unequivocally nothing like Trump refusing to accept the results of the election should he lose.