Hillary Clinton has lobbed yet another Molotov cocktail at the Trump campaign by telling presidential candidate Joe Biden that he “should not concede under any circumstances.” Why is it that when Democrats feel that trickle of fear skipping down the spine in an upcoming election, they tout the conspiracy theory that opponents are trying to steal the vote? Gloating over what turned out to be incorrect polling numbers had then-candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016 asking her opposition whether he would concede if he lost the election. Donald Trump refused to commit to yes or no, spiking discussions in media circles about what to do if he failed to admit defeat.
It didn’t take long to find out the disappointing answer.
In the wee hours of Nov. 9, 2016, presidential candidate Clinton was nowhere to be found. She was supposed to be at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, under carefully planned glass ceiling optics, celebrating as America’s first woman president. But that didn’t happen: Mrs. Clinton refused to come out of her hidey-hole until many hours later, and supporters of the candidate were left hanging about, sobbing, and hungrily waiting for words of wisdom and unity after a bitter race. Crickets.
Most losing candidates concede immediately, when there is a clear victor, to ensure the peaceful transition of power in America. That didn’t happen, either. Clinton moped and moaned, retreated, reappeared, moped and moaned some more, and since her eventual reluctant concession, has been sucking up media time for four years.
It seems a distant sweet memory when four years ago she claimed Trump was “threatening democracy” if he didn’t answer the concession question. Aren’t politics enjoyable these days? Not conceding an election has occurred in American politics before, and no one called it a threat to the Republic.
The Fondest Memories of Chad
When Y2K didn’t knock out all electronic communications for 2000 and send the earth into global Armageddon, the year managed to take a good whack at voting machines in Florida — a state with an impressive 29 electoral votes. The epic battle between Democrat Vice President Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush came down to Florida’s electoral votes. With an automatic recount triggered by a razor-thin vote margin, for 36 days Americans waited and argued while Florida election officials attempted to figure out the state’s punch-card ballots — replete with hanging, dimpled, and pregnant chads. Gore conceded, then backtracked, then sued.
It was contentious, yet when the election was finally certified on Dec. 12, a disappointed Gore conceded. It’s a tradition.
The Republic Does Okay When Elections Are in Doubt
The 1884 and 1916 elections are examples of losers not conceding immediately, and yet here we are today, rehashing the “what ifs” of purveyors of paranoia, er, Democrats. In 1884, Republican candidate James Blaine insisted on an official canvass of votes before conceding to Democrat Grover Cleveland. No one panicked. No one rioted. No one stopped traffic. No one was cuffed and dragged away in shackles.
And still, when decorum ruled America’s statesmen, the 1916 presidential contest between incumbent President Woodrow Wilson and Republican challenger Charles Evans Hughes also was not called on Election Day. Hughes preferred to have i’s dotted-t’s crossed and waited for an official declaration. But he was adamant about the ease of transition, once stating:
“In the absence of proof of fraud, no such cry should be raised to becloud the title of the next President of the United States.”
Mrs. Clinton may want to bone up on losing candidates in American presidential races.
But Back to Biden
If the former vice president is soundly, undeniably, and even humiliatingly defeated, he must accept the results and phone in the concession speech — as soon as is timely. Declaring the threat of fraud to panic voters is ill-conceived and will likely backfire for the perpetrators of rumor and innuendo. Unless there is proof of election fraud, suppression of the vote, or denying of citizens’ rights, whoever wins is the president: end of story. American elections are sometimes messy, but the system is in place to ensure the right guy or gal wins fairly and squarely.
Also, Hillary, just go away.
Read more from Sarah Cowgill.