Friday, October 21, 2016


Will Donald Trump concede if he's the clear loser on November 8? Judging from this article in The New York Times and a statement made yesterday by Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, we could be waiting a long time for a concession. The Times tells us:
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....

“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 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.

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.

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.
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.

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.


Nefer said...

"Donald Trump won’t concede to Hillary Clinton unless the “results are actually known, certified and verified"
I get the impression that Trump somehow thinks he is in a powerful position by refusing to concede. That maybe he can make Hillary beg him while he toys with her. That refusing to concede actually halts the certification process and that everyone has to wait on his decision to concede or not.

Imagine his surprise when everyone ignores his whiny cries of election rigging based purely on the premise that a white man should have won and didn't.

Every sane person will move on and celebrate or at least accept the election results and the following inauguration while ignoring the spoiled brat who is obviously just a sore loser. He will be yesterday's news, the no longer shiny object.

That said, I do think his idiot followers can cause real problems as far as danger to anyone they see as helping to "rig" the election.

Never Ben Better said...

If he's ever going to go full mental meltdown, it will be when the spotlights turn off and he loses the media's attention. Ignore him? How dare they! My money's on that to send him over the edge into a horrific breakdown.

Victor said...

He'll hold onto the camera lights and microphones as long as he can, so I don't expect him to concede for quite a while.

And Inagree with NBB.
He'll have an epic breakdown!
Couldn't happen to a bigger narcissistic, sociopathic prick!

Feud Turgidson said...

Election contests are highly technical, and require an enormous amount of resolve, detailed familiarity with STATE laws, a rare & special expertise (It's instructive that the same crew of attorneys we saw in the Franken-Coleman contest in 2008-9 were already showing up in other challenges from other previous years, and have shown in those since.), dedication, resolve, focus, money & a ridiculous amount of work over long hours in often difficult circumstances. And the kind of specialized legal talent that it requires is particularly expensive and just as particular about the assurance of their FEES.

That last isn't a problem if the party engaging the workers has a national organization behind it, especially one that's willing to commit to raising funds and even underwrite the work. Note that hundreds of attorneys billed many thousands of hours on the defense of Bill Clinton during the investigations & impeachment process in the 1990s AND. WERE. NOT. PAID. at the time, but were willing to do the necessary work on the belief they'd eventually be paid. I simply don't see the kind of talent and resources Trump would require to sustain serious vote challenges coming forward, in part because the real depth of talent in the area, like with most legal beagling, is on the D side, but also & very possibly primarily because of funding concerns. Trump's notorious for stiffing contractors, and the RNC, I believe, simply will not commit to what's essentially a massive wide open chequebook cost-plus enterprise.

rclz said...

I read an article the other day about one of the people picked as an delegate in the state of Washington who says he is thinking about not casting his vote for Hillary no matter if she wins or not. The law should read that he casts the vote based on the will of the people not his personal opinion. If he wasn't going to do the right thing he should resign.

*Rant about Bernie Bros deleted*

Steve M. said...

Well, there's one "faithless elector" practically every presidential cycle. There's a roundup of the stories here. Not as bad as a mass defection would be.

Aimai said...

I figure Trump will refuse to concede until he (thinks) he has been given a face saving gesture--I'm not sure wht that would be given Trump's overweening vanity and his deep sense of personal injury. The other billionaires, like Adelson, have no hold on him--or no hold they are willing to use. Adelson, apparently, has stopped giving him money. That shows that Adelson has decided that Trump's loss isn't worth backing. But by the same token I doubt he thinks that its worth his while to pay Trump to go away and not try to spoil HRC's inauguration.

I don't think it matters. This is going to be the first transfer of power in a long time between actual co-workers intent on the same thing: Obama's legacy and Clinton's success. There is nothign Trump can do to stop a smoothe transfer of power between the two administrations, and therefore not too much they can control about the press. Both Clinton and Obama came in with bad press from the outgoing/incoming republican administrations and their tattle tales. That's not going to happen this time.

I'm also pretty sure Clinton is going to reserve as much money and celebrity star power to get her team glowing press where it matters--out in the hinterland, with the voters. I expect we will see her keep running "I love hillary/I know hillary" ads for a while--I would if I were her. And I'd run internet ads on "what we plan to do" jamming the republicans up against her agenda.

I'm hoping that Hillary has a better outside strategy than Obama had. That is going to be the chief difference between the two administrations and their approach to the presidency and the permanent war with congress. Obama dropped OFA and didn't use his then enormous clout to pressure blue dog dems and the republicans. He continued negotiating with them much longer than I think he should have--although I'm very proud of him and in awe of what he has accomplished--. I just don't see HRC making that mistake this time around, though. I think she plans to work with them but also to fight with them if necessary.

The Politician said...

Just imagine what he'd do if several of his electors cast votes for McMuffin, er, McMullin. The conspiracy theory world would implode.

rclz said...

ah but then Trump can blame the "Establishment" if he loses states to McMullin. I looked it up and McMullin is on the ballot in Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnasota, New Mexico, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia.

I could be wrong but I feel like anyone who is going to vote for McMullin in the none red of the red states was probably never going to vote for Hillary in the first place and those people hurt Trump the most.

Procopius said...

Like so many things about this hideous campaign, I am baffled by the outcry over Trump's ambiguity. What does it matter? Who cares if the short-fingered vulgarian accepts social norms or not? Why is the Republic going to fall if he refuses to make a concession speech. Are his supporters REALLY going to riot in the streets of cities all over the Western Hemisphere for weeks if he says he doesn't recognize President Hillary? It's like the DNC email leaks. Who cares if the Russians did it. I don't believe they did and the "intelligence community" are not only a bunch of professional liars, who are known to have lied to Congress in sworn testimony many times, but even so took pains to couch their "opinion" in such weasel words that they actually did not say what the MSM are crying that they said. The whole past two years have been one episode after another of "you didn't build that" and faux outrage from the DEMOCRATS!