Concessions: An extensive tradition

By Devyn Shea (TheLorian)

Over sixty major candidates have conceded in presidential elections, or at the very least, accepted the results. Here is a look into concessions in presidential election history.

In recent history three presidents have lost reelection. Gerald Ford (1976), Jimmy Carter (1980) and George H.W. Bush (1992). All of them conceded and wished for a peaceful transition of power, Carter even wished for “the best one in history” regarding a transition of power, according to C-SPAN. During the 1976 Presidential Election, Ford had lost the popular vote and the election came down to two or three states, yet when all the votes were counted, he accepted his fate.

In the 1800s there were two cases of candidates losing close elections. In 1824, Andrew Jackson won the popular vote and the most electoral votes but did not get the necessary number of electoral votes needed to be president. Second place finisher John Quincy Adams cut a backroom deal with another candidate, Henry Clay, for Clay’s electoral votes. Adams went on to win the presidency and Jackson conceded. In 1876, many votes were invalidated in Florida, benefiting the Republican candidate Rutherford B. Hayes. Hayes won the election by one electoral vote, and many thought that there would be riots in the streets. This was not the case, however. Stephen J. Tilden, the democratic candidate, conceded the election to Hayes and because of the closeness of the election, Hayes compromised and put a democrat in his cabinet. This avoided the possibility of chaos in the streets.

In 2000, the outcome of the election was taken all the way to the Supreme Court. The court effectively stopped the recount in Florida (the state that would decide the winner) and because of this, George Bush had won the election. Vice President Al Gore conceded the election a day later. In 2004, the election came down to Ohio. John Kerry, the democratic candidate, had won one swing state by less than a percent and Bush won two states by less than a percent. The final state that would decide the election was Ohio, where Bush had won by over two percent. Kerry conceded the race. In both 2008 and 2012, Republicans John McCain and Mitt Romney conceded their races. In 2016, Hillary Clinton conceded, although she did get a recount to go through in Wisconsin, it only gave her an additional 713 votes and Trump an additional 844 votes. She had lost the state by roughly 22,000 votes.

This year, the President of the United States Donald J. Trump has not conceded. He has called the election “rigged,” according to a tweet cited by the Associated Press, because of voter fraud. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank, has a database for all the recent proven cases of voter fraud going back to at least 2004. Since 2004, there have been 1,298 cases of voter fraud. That’s an average of 162.25 cases of voter fraud for every election (including midterms). It is most likely we will find cases of voter fraud this year. If the trend is correct, there will be no more than 200 during this election.

The Trump campaign has filed lawsuits against Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. In Michigan, the Trump campaign requested to stop the counting of ballots in Detroit; this was denied by a state judge according to the Wall Street Journal. In Pennsylvania, the secretary of state stated that she will not have the state conduct a recount. In Arizona, a Trump campaign lawyer dropped charges towards the state. In Georgia, the state is conducting a recount, while Wisconsin could be following suit in the future. Even if Trump won those states, he couldn’t win the election, because they wouldn’t get him to 270 electoral votes. Also, even if those states found more votes, there most likely wouldn’t be enough votes to win the states. In Georgia, Biden has a lead of roughly 14,000 and a lead of 20,000 in Wisconsin (similar to Trump’s lead over Clinton in 2016).

The Trump campaign’s accusations of voter fraud should be taken with a grain of salt. Although, yes, there will likely be cases of voter fraud this year, saying voter fraud determined the outcome of the election is a false accusation and a dangerous one at that. The President lost and it’s time to move on.

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