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Was Trump asked to concede the election?

October 20, 2016

Remember the hanging chad?

Back in 2000, Al Gore and George W. Bush were locked in a tight race in Florida. Bush was declared the winner of the presidential election by a razor-thin margin of 537 Florida votes.

This was the famous “hanging chad” election, where the voting machines didn’t always punch out the little squares cleanly, leaving some to say that those ballots should be invalidated. Not all of them were and it was kind of a big deal at the time.

Mr. Gore objected, and contested the results 20 days after the results were certified by the state of Florida.

Edited 10/20/16:  The Gore/Lieberman ticket actually won the popular vote by some 500K votes. The 537 votes in question gave Bush the requisite electoral college votes needed to win.

Fast forward to 2016.

Given the climate of this election, you just knew there would be something that set the media off.

This time it was Donald Trump’s refusal to say whether he would pledge in advance of the election to accept the results of the election, no matter what.

Really?  Really?

There were a lot of things to talk about after the debate, but this one is just plain stupid.

The way the question was presented almost demanded that Trump concede the election 20 days out.

First, it required him to say that he thinks there’s a chance he will lose.

What candidate in his (or her) right mind would do that?

Suppose that the election came down to a relative handful of votes, the way the above-mentioned Gore-Bush contest did in Florida in 2000.  It’s not clear even today that Al Gore ever mentally accepted the Supreme Court’s decision not to order a third recount.

Second, there are already some allegations of early voting irregularities in Indiana.

Against a backdrop of releases from Wikileaks that seem to indicate more than just ordinary strategizing on the part of the Clinton campaign and obvious media bias, why in the name of all that is holy would Trump take a pledge now to concede no matter the circumstances?

And third, what good are pledges made during elections anyway?

Remember “Read my lips, no new taxes?”  Or the pledge by every Republican candidate to support Mr. Trump if he became the nominee?

Perhaps more disturbing was that the immediate reaction to Trump’s reply that seemed to imply he was going to mount some sort of armed insurrection if he lost.

In fact, even the moderator chimed in to ask if Mr. Trump was ” willing to upset” a couple of centuries of “peaceful transfers of power.”

Even replaying that part at least a half dozen times doesn’t give any evidence that Trump even remotely implied that he was going to start some sort of a shooting war over the issue.

You do not have to be a Trump fan to find that line of thought odd, to say the least.

Up to that point, while Mr. Trump had a very good, even an excellent debate performance,  there wasn’t much to indicate that he did much more than keep his base happy.

But to imply or state that he should just stand down three weeks or so before the election and pledge to concede or accept the results that haven’t even happened yet?

The motivation behind the question and the odd reaction to the answer truly should be a consideration even for the still undecided.


From → op-ed

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