While many Americans are used to presidential election results and public concessions from the losing candidate occurring at roughly the same time, that doesn’t have to be the case.
While a concession signals to voters that none of that will occur: Supporters should accept the results, which will not be further challenged by the losing candidate.
A concession speech isn’t part of U.S. law or the Constitution – it’s a time-honored voluntary gesture.
Can Pres.Trump Refused to concede?
President Donald Trump – who has declined to commit on a peaceful transfer of power and is now facing a narrow path to reelection – can refused to concede if he lost the 2020 presidential election.
It would mean a race could be headed for a result decided by the courts or by obscure parts of the law.
Not in modern history, although a nearly instant public speech hasn’t always been the way candidates concede.And if you go back in history, you can find examples where norms of the time around concessions were violated, including by Thomas Jefferson.
The modern understanding of a public concession can be traced to 1896, when William Jennings Bryan sent opponent William McKinley a cordial telegram, NPR reports.
Since then, candidates have forged a tradition of publicly acknowledging defeat and celebrating democracy in radio addresses, a recorded newsreel or on live television.
Can a candidate take back a concession?
Yes – and it has happened before in a presidential race.
In the historically tight 2000 election, Vice President Al Gore conceded to George W. Bush, only to retract the concession when the race tightened.
“He called an hour ago to concede. He just called us back to retract that concession,″ Karen Hughes, communications director for Bush, said at the time, according to the Associated Press. “It’s unbelievable.”
That’s possible because concessions are an informal part of U.S. elections, according to Ryan Neville-Shepard, a University of Arkansas professor who specializes in political communication.
“Electoral concessions are not in any way binding; to the contrary, they arise out of, and are a nod to, a candidate’s faith in other electoral norms,” Neville-Shepard wrote in a Washington Post column in 2018.