In My View
Trump will probably never concede his election loss
President Donald Trump has his own ways of doing things and often in controversial manners. Breaking with his predecessors belonging to both Republican and Democratic parties, he ran his presidency for the last four years in a noticeably different style.
Even he won his first presidential election defeating Hillary Clinton and lost his re-election against Joe Biden-both in very different ways. While campaigning against Hillary Clinton during his first bid in 2016, he publicly sought assistance from Russia-an adversary of America-which no other presidential candidate ever did in the past.
And after losing his re-election to his Democratic challenger Joe Biden by significantly large margins of both Electoral College and popular votes, he launched an unprecedented legal battle which no other losing candidate in the history of American presidential election ever did before. His legal team filed a record number of some 30 lawsuits in six American states alleging voter fraud, a charge some courts have already rejected for lack of proof.
On top of that, he has held off conceding election for more than three weeks now which also no other presidential candidate ever did before in recent history except for Democratic Party's Al Gore in 2000 as a dispute over vote recount in Florida was under litigation. However, after US Supreme Court's verdict in favour of Republican presidential candidate George W Bush, Al Gore conceded and asked his supporters to accept the election results.
However, unlike Al Gore Trump insists that there were voter fraud and other irregularities in election, especially in the mail-in ballots and that's why he will continue legal challenges and not accept election results. Even though Donald Trump's General Services Administration (GSA) formally accepted Joe Biden as the winner in the 2020 US presidential election on November 23, the president made it abundantly clear that he would never concede.
Shortly after the GSA accepted Joe Biden's victory in the election giving the incoming administration approval for formally proceeding with transition, Trump tweeted: "What does GSA being allowed to preliminarily work with the Dems have to do with continuing to pursue our various cases on what will go down as the most corrupt election in American political history? We are moving full speed ahead. Will never concede to fake ballots and Dominion."
With this tweet, President Donald Trump made a few things quite clear. First, in his view the 2020 US presidential election was the most corrupt in the history of America. Secondly, his legal team is not giving up; rather it is continuing its battle against the election in the court of law with full force. And finally, he insists that there were problems with the ballots and the voting machines and because of all these reasons he will never concede election.
But interestingly Trump's own Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that the "2020 US election was the most secure in American history." In a statement, Chris Krebs, former chief of the Cyber security and Infrastructure Security Agency said: "The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history. There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes or was anyway compromised." Krebs totally contradicted Trump. So, Trump swiftly fired him.
On the basis of Trump's continuing actions and statements, there is a real possibility that he may never concede or accept the results of the 2020 US presidential election and congratulate his Democratic challenger and former American Vice-President Joe Biden on his victory. In such a scenario, Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States will go down in history as the first American president without conceding a presidential election.
President Donald Trump may take that route and not accept the results of the 2020 US presidential election to settle a score with Democrats who, according to him, tried to "snatch away his victory" in the 2016 election by launching investigation into the Russian interference with that election. Donald Trump repeatedly described the Russian investigation as a "hoax" and never admitted that the Russian government had any role in the 2016 presidential election.
So, there is a real likelihood that Donald Trump may be heading in that direction to become the first American president not to concede at all and accept the election result even though it is decisively in favour of his rival Joe Biden. But for Biden, his victory in the election is confirmed. Even though his transition is just beginning in a formal way after a three-week delay, he is sure to be sworn-in as the 46th president of the United States on Jan. 20 next year.
There is no constitutional or legal requirement for concession in American elections. However, even though there is no such requirement for a losing presidential candidate to concede, concession has been a tradition in American presidential election since 1896.Therefore, withholding concession will certainly be a departure from a long-followed tradition of American politics, but it will have no practical impact on the election results-one way or the other.
But even though there is no constitutional or legal requirement for concessions in American elections and even though electoral concessions have no such impact on election results, they do uphold a long-standing American tradition and play an important role in uniting the nation especially after a divisive election. By making the concession speech and congratulating the winner, the losing candidate legitimizes his opponent's victory and asks directly or indirectly his supporters to accept the election results.
America has been a badly divided nation since the taking over of Donald Trump as the 45th president even though Hillary Clinton made a remarkably courteous concession speech and congratulated Trump on his victory after a bitterly fought election in 2016. The rift remained for the last four years as President Trump never made any effort to unite the nation. He rather further divided it through his divisive rhetoric and one after another controversial step.
President-elect Joe Biden said in his victory speech that even though he contested the election on the Democratic Party ticket, he would be president for all Americans, who voted for him and also for those who didn't vote for him. A long time politician and the former vice-president said that his immediate task would be to work for uniting and healing a divided country. With that goal, he indicated that he would include even a Republican, who didn't vote for him, in his cabinet.
But if Donald Trump never concedes or accepts the results of what he described as the "most corrupt election in American political history," it may be difficult for Joe Biden to bring the country together. America is almost equally divided. Even if Trump's some supporters respond to Biden's call for unity, many will continue to stick with Trump.
The writer is a Toronto-based journalist who also writes for the Toronto Sun and Canada's Postmedia Network