Reminder: The loser of the election doesn't have to "accept" the results

Last night’s debate was fairly policy heavy for most of the first two blocks, with much less of the poo flinging we were treated to previously. We should offer a quick tip of the hat to moderator Chris Wallace for that. In fact, there were only a couple of groan inducing moments for Donald Trump which really stood out to me as items which the commentariat would jump on. One was the “bad hombres” comment which was ripped straight out of the lexicon of anyone who’s watched too many spaghetti westerns. The other, of course, was when Trump was asked if he would “accept” the outcome of the election in the event that he lost.

It should come as no surprise to find that the Left immediately went into widespread cranial explosions.

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. Clinton called Trump’s answer “horrifying,” saying he was “talking down our democracy.”

Horror of horrors. Now we have someone “taking down our democracy” and doing it on a national stage in front of tens of millions of viewers. You may as well all sign up for the Mars One project now and go die on a distant, barren world because the Great American Experiment has finally failed.

Or possibly not.

While I will grant you that confidence in our electoral system is vital and the country is shaken considerably if they feel they are being cheated, there’s a difference between a swelling tide of negative opinion and an actual Constitutional crisis. The fact is, as I’ve written here before, that there are more than a few reasons to both question the impartiality of the media which steers our elections and be alarmed over the fact that dead people are reliably voting every year. But none of that means that we can’t still have a national election with valid (if heavily media influenced) results and that the results of that voting process will continue the normal process of succession.

Why should I be so sanguine about this? Because a quick review of the United States Constitution and federal election laws will reveal that having the loser of the election formally concede defeat is not a step in the process. It’s a tradition to be sure, and election officials will generally work diligently to address any grievances brought up by the public, but in the end the process of counting votes will be followed and a result will be achieved. If some state totals are too close there will be recounts. In other cases candidates can even ask for a recount outside the margin of error (thought they may have to pay the cost for that work) and delays may be encountered. But in the end, assuming Donald Trump comes up short on November 8th, the Electoral College vote will take place in accordance with the expressed will of the voters and the election will be certified. (That’s absent some sort of unprecedented outbreak of faithless electors, but that remains an issue for another day.)

Both Al Gore and John Kerry eventually conceded the elections of 2000 and 2004, even though many liberals claimed that both elections had been stolen in Florida and Ohio respectively. But what if they hadn’t? They aren’t required to concede for the process to be completed. It’s not one of the steps. Even in the unlikely event that Trump failed to concede (which I seriously doubt because it was probably a stunt to gin up support among his base) nothing will change. This is a media manufactured “crisis” which isn’t going to bring down the Republic, citizens.


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