As a practical matter, conceding removes the initial pressure for a speedy official count of the vote to be conducted, said Richard L. Hasen, a professor and election law expert at the University of California. Legally, the results tabulated and reported on election night are considered “preliminary” in most states; it can take states a few days or sometimes weeks to determine the official count of polling-place and absentee ballots.Now please note Conway's statement, as reported by Politico:
Donald Trump won’t concede to Hillary Clinton unless the “results are actually known, certified and verified,” his campaign manager said Thursday....If that's literally the case, that would seem to mean that he's going to wait until 270 electoral votes' worth of states have officially certified their results. If so, we may not get a concession until after Thanksgiving.
“He’s saying that until the results are actually known, certified and verified, he’s not going to concede an election. He just doesn’t know what will happen,” Conway said Thursday during an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.
If Trump really wants to blow everything up, that would give him plenty of time to cry fraud, cite Roger Stone's phony exit polls, and demand recounts, an option the Times reminds us he'll have:
The laws regarding recounts vary state by state. In some, when a vote falls within a certain margin, an automatic recount is set off. In Florida and Pennsylvania, that threshold is one-half of 1 percent; in Ohio, it is one-fourth of 1 percent for a statewide election. A candidate may also request a recount when the margin is larger, but in most states, the campaign requesting it must shoulder the cost of the recount.The saving grace is that Trump will probably be too cheap to actually pay for recounts. I can easily imagine him demanding recounts in several states, grandly proclaiming that he'll foot the bill for them -- and then never ponying up.
Can he cry fraud to get the states to stop vote certification? Not without evidence:
If the losing campaign believes that the vote in one or more states was inaccurately counted, or that voter fraud may have occurred, with ineligible votes being cast or eligible votes being rejected -- and in large enough numbers to swing the outcome -- then it could move for a special judicial proceeding under state law, known as an election contest.If Trump never concedes, he'll probably just fuss and fume. What his voters will do is an open (and scary) question. I don't think he'll succeed at gumming up the works. But I worry about what the cultists will do.
But it would need to muster persuasive evidence to halt any vote-certification process, and quickly, according to Benjamin L. Ginsberg, an election lawyer who represented George W. Bush against Al Gore in their 2000 standoff.
The Times article hints at something else that might happen, though it probably won't involve Trump:
Mr. Trump’s best chance ... could be to try to convince Democratic electors that they should vote for a third candidate, like Senator Bernie Sanders, preventing Mrs. Clinton from getting to 270 electoral votes and throwing the election to the House of Representatives.I don't see Truymp doing that -- but I'll bet your Facebook feed is going to be filled with Bernie-or-Busters arguing that all of Clinton's electors should just vote for Sanders instead. I don't expect more from an effort than a lot of online posts and a hashtag or two, but there'll be something along these lines, I guarantee it.