What Trump is doing now, is nothing like what Al Gore did in 2000.
Last night, during the final presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the GOP nominee said that he may not accept the result of the election. He said, “I’ll keep you in suspense.” Cute. Only, not cute at all: dangerous, anti-American and sad. The peaceful transition of power is something that our country prides itself on. A letter written by George H.W. Bush to incoming President Bill Clinton went viral recently, mainly due to the stark contrast it draws to our current race. It’s a gracious, thoughtful letter that wishes the new president well. The public chose someone else. But George H.W. Bush did not wine or make excuses, he conceded the race and honored the will of the American people.
And this is precisely what Al Gore did in 2000.
The race between Al Gore and George W. Bush was incredibly tight. The polls were essentially deadlocked, and as the numbers began to come in, it remained anyone’s game. As the night progressed, it became evident that it would all hinge on Florida. In the early hours of the next morning, many news outlets called the Sunshine State for Bush, and so, Gore called to concede. However, news came out that Bush only won by 1,300 votes, which is a margin that triggers an automatic recount. Because, as it turns out, he didn’t lose -at least not yet- Gore rescinded his concession and let the recounts commence. A month-long legal battle followed, which involved the democrats suing for recounts and the republicans suing to stop recounts. On December, 12th, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a Florida Supreme Court decision, 5-4, which stopped all recounts immediately.
Gore called Bush to concede the next day.
What Donald Trump is doing is not what Al Gore did. Now, if the race is as close as 2000, (which seems highly unlikely) if Trump is leading in the popular vote, then he should absolutely do everything in his power to ensure a recount occurs.
But that’s not what this is.
This isn’t a reaction, this is an excuse. What he’s doing is striking doubt into one of the primary tenets of our democracy in order to make himself look better. He’s undermining an entire process that is intentionally decentralized to make widespread corruption utterly impossible. He’s doing it because he’s a sore loser. And he hasn’t even lost yet! Just as he did in the primary, he’s setting it up so, if he losses, it can’t be attributed to him, or to anything he did or didn’t do, or to how he ran a calamitous campaign that couldn’t get out of its own way. This is the most Breitbarty Trump has been thus far, he’s empowering conspiracy theorists to racially profile, and he’s setting the stage for violence at the polls.
It must be really tough to be working in the Trump campaign or to be a surrogate at this point, but just stop with the Gore comparisons. Everyone on every side knows that’s not what this is.
Sidenote: This whole thing reminds me of when I was in 4th grade. In 4th grade being the fastest kid in the class is a big deal, and I was that big deal. About halfway through the year, a young chap named Johnny challenged me to race. Within the first 10 yards, I was far ahead and he pulled up with an ankle injury shortly thereafter. Everyone knew he was feigning pain in order to save himself the embarrassment of defeat. The next day he wanted to go again, but at a shorter distance. I agreed. He claimed twice that I went to early or false-started. On the third time, I went out ahead quickly and he again started limping while yelling, “doesn’t count, doesn’t count.” When we got back to the group an outspoken young gentleman named Sean said, “Johnny stop it. You’re just not as fast. It counts, you lost.”
by Jesse Mechanic
Jesse Mechanic is the editor in chief of The Overgrown.