Target: Donald Trump, Republican Party nominee for President of the United States
Goal: Urge Donald Trump to commit to graciously accepting any outcome of the presidential election in November, and to telling his supporters to do the same.
In the third and final presidential debate, Donald Trump made some comments scarier than just about anything he’s said so far. When asked whether or not he would graciously accept any outcome of this election, in keeping with American sportsmanlike tradition, Trump refused to promise anything. The candidate instead offered vague and ominous answers, stating “I will look at it at the time,” and even “I will keep you in suspense.” If the answer is in fact no, and Trump has no intention to concede the race regardless of how the votes turn out, it could throw our democracy into uncharted territory.
Legal experts have weighed in, saying that it really is irrelevant whether or not the loser concedes—the vote of the electoral college is conclusive, and the race ends when the votes are tallied. However, some critics are concerned that this attitude could lead to violence on election night if Trump does not win. If Trump supporters follow his lead in believing the election is somehow rigged or unfair, it could also shake the confidence of the American people in our voting system.
Some supporters have attempted to compare Trump’s behavior to 2000, when Al Gore demanded a recount in his extremely close and controversial race against George Bush. The two instances hardly merit comparison, however. Gore, who won more national votes than Bush, requested a recount in Florida where the margin was slim enough to warrant one. And when the recount was halted by a supreme court decision, Gore graciously conceded the race.
What we are seeing now is a premeditated attempt to delegitimize an unfavorable election result for Trump. This is unprecedented, unsportsmanlike, and unwise. Tell the republican presidential candidate, the suspense is killing us—and not in a good way. The democratic process is no place for theatrics, or sore losers. Trump must agree to concede the presidency if the American people do not elect him in November.
Dear Mr. Trump,
I was very surprised and concerned by some of your comments in the final presidential debate—chief among them, your refusal to commit to a gracious concession, if the votes should not turn out in your favor this November. Although legally speaking, a refusal to concede does not change the outcome of the election, it is unprecedented in the history of our nation’s politics.
Some analysts are concerned that violence could erupt among your followers on election night if you are unwilling to accept a loss. Moreover, if you maintain that the election was somehow rigged or unfair simply because you don’t come out as the winner, it could shake people’s confidence in our democratic process.
It is important that you see Hilary Clinton as your political rival, and not your enemy. Much of your campaign has been focused on vilifying her, but if the American people elect her, you will have to accept her as your president—as she will do for you if you are elected. Please follow the lead of your running mate, your daughter, and your campaign manager, and commit to a gracious acceptance of any outcome of this election. We’ve heard you say you don’t care for losers. Sore losers, we hope you will understand, are even less appealing.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Rick Wilking