It would also be a great day for me grow a full head of luxurious hair and teleport to Jupiter, but that’s not about to happen either.
On this date in 2000, Al Gore conceded to George W. Bush after weeks of contesting the election results in various lawsuits. Finally, the U.S. Supreme Court shut down a contentious re-count in Florida with the controversial decision in Bush v. Gore, and Gore managed to make a conciliatory and graceful concession speech as he realized his other realistic options had vanished.
In a televised speech from his ceremonial office next to the White House, Gore said that while he was deeply disappointed and sharply disagreed with the split SCOTUS verdict that ended his campaign, ”partisan rancor must now be put aside.”
“I accept the finality of the outcome, which will be ratified next Monday in the Electoral College” he said. “And tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.” It had to be a bitter pill for Gore, who had won the popular vote by more than 500,000 votes but narrowly lost Florida to give the Electoral College to Republican George W. Bush, 271 to 266. The concession was Gore’s finest moment as a political figure, though he then spent the next four years diminishing it by telling Democratic audiences and partisans that he, and they, been the victim of election theft.
With his initial refusal to accept the election results, Gore created the ugly precedent we are now stuck with, despite efforts by Richard Nixon, of all people, to cement the tradition that the losing candidate in a Presidential race act selflessly to avoid lasting rancor, public discord, and diminished trust in our institutions. In 1960, despite good reason to suspect chicanery in at least two states, Tricky Dick refused to demand recounts or investigations and conceded quickly. This was the model that Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi, among others, piously lectured candidate Trump about following—until Hillary lost. Then Clinton, her bitter-ender supporters and “the resistance” commenced their assault on his “illegitimate” Presidency right up until this year’s election. They must not be allowed to deny their culpability in what is happening now. Still, conceding is Trump’s responsibility.
Technically, Trump has already held out a little longer than Gore has, since the 2000 election occurred four days later than the 2020 election. However, Gore always had a realistic chance of overturning the result, since flipping only one state, Florida, would give him the Electoral College victory, and a statistically insignificant number of votes were involved. In Trump’s case, the results in at least three states involving many thousands of votes would have to be reversed, and that is impossible at this point.
It’s not only impossible, it would be dangerous. Unlike Gore, who won the popular vote, President Trump received millions of fewer votes than Joe Biden. If he had won a victory in the Electoral College anyway, as he did in 2016, progressives and Democrats would have freaked out, which is why major cities were prepared for riots as November 3 dawned—Democratic riots. Republican don’t start riots. (Go figure.) However, a reversal of the election now, after Biden has been declared the winner by 99% of the media and has been merrily making appointments and promises, would guarantee chaos and violence that would make the George Floyd riots look like the Tournament of Roses Parade.
By digging his heels in now, after the Supreme Court dismissed with prejudice the Hail Mary Texas lawsuit, all President Trump can accomplish is to further divide the nation (the objective of Democrats for four plus years, but that’s no excuse for him) and appear to fulfill his foes’ worst assessments of his character. The President has plenty to be resentful and angry about, and there is much to question about how the election was handled. If he were, say, ten-years-old, it would be asking too much to expect him to give up a futile fight and to do what is in the best interests of the country.
But he is not ten, and he is President of the United States.