OPINION: Why the Uproar Over Trump’s Refusal to Accept the Outcome of the Election in Advance Is Overblown

Nothing Revolutionary in Trump’s Election Results Answer; 1876 provides a precedent for a contested outcome and reveals the ignorance of the punditry

By Jeffrey H. Anderson,

The third and final presidential debate highlighted Hillary Clinton’s support for partial-birth abortion, “open borders” (her words), and “free” college for all students whose families make up to $125,000. Yet Donald Trump is the extremist, in the eyes of the elite media, because he wouldn’t pledge to support the outcome of the election in advance.

Such pledges, of course, are useless. In response to another Fox News debate question, Jeb Bush pledged in advance to support the Republican nominee, no matter who he or she was. Yet Bush is now opposing Trump.

Moreover, it is hardly unprecedented for a candidate not to accept the election’s outcome. Al Gore fought for weeks to try to wrestle the 2000 election away from George W. Bush, who was declared the winner on election night. Gore didn’t concede the race until the Supreme Court ruled against him, and he has never really accepted the outcome.

This very month, almost 16 years later, Gore was still implying that he won, with Hillary Clinton sitting behind him and nodding approvingly as he spoke: “Here’s my point: I don’t want you to be in a position years from now where you welcome Hillary Clinton and say, ‘Actually, you did win. It just wasn’t close enough to make sure that all the votes were counted or whatever.’”

So-called media elites are conveniently overlooking such matters. Even more significantly, however, they seem blissfully ignorant of the fact that the peaceful transition of power under the Constitution relies on the sitting president accepting the outcome of the election—and leaving office. Who cares if Donald Trump is declared the loser and thinks he won? He would be powerless to do much of anything about it, as was Gore. It’s not like Trump could call in the Air Force, or the Army. It is the current president, the Commander in Chief, who is in a position to jeopardize the peaceful transition of power, not the losing candidate. Shockingly, media elites don’t seem to understand this matter of basic civics.

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