With Election Day inching closer, national attention is reaching its peak on two presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The last debate finished on Oct. 19 with a heavy, rapidly shifting discussion over several issues and past grievances. Chris Wallace, hosting the open discussion debate, offered the question of a peaceful concede to Trump. In essence, would he accept the results on Election Day?
The answer should have been a simple one. Trump dragged it out, hinting at media corruption and unlawfully registered voters before Wallace prompted again for a response. When that answer came, it horrified droves of Americans nationwide.
“What I’m saying is that I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense.” Though hardly an answer, it speaks enough to the question to make voters stop and consider. Criticism has flooded in from many sources, including leaders and participants of the Republican Party. Some supporters claim that Trump is a shoe-in for the win, so there is nothing to worry about.
Sean Spicer, the Republican National Committee’s communications director, views the situation like this. “He’s going to win this election soundly. And this won’t be an issue,” Spicer said to ABC News shortly after the debate. This fails to address the real problem of his answer, even if it would be rendered irrelevant in that case.
The mere words “I’ll keep you in suspense” feel enough like a throwback to Trump’s old television hosting days to question how far he’s really matured as a budding politician. His campaign has often touted that one of his charms is that he is not a traditional politician. By the second presidential debate, Trump himself said he has been acting as one, though he could not believe it.
Some Americans still find it hard to believe when faced with dilemmas like this. Someone who earnestly cares for the welfare of the country may question election results, if legitimately concerned for the truth behind the final numbers. However, they should not discuss it with such a tone of mystery. Conceding to the winner of a truly fair, democratic presidential election is not an act with room for open interpretation — and much less, room to rebel.
If a presidential candidate finds clear-cut evidence that an election was unfair, then they are more than welcome to challenge the results. They should be encouraged to, if that situation arises. The ability to question the beginning of a new leader is a caveat of democracy that we should never write out. Wallace summed it up beautifully mid-questioning of Trump. “…One of the prides of this country is the peaceful transition of power and that no matter how hard-fought a campaign is, that at the end of the campaign, that the loser concedes to the winner.”
Nobody can argue this campaign hasn’t been hard-fought. After months of tiring debate, policy discussion and scandal raising, it is nearly time for one candidate to peacefully concede. Two questions, rather than the usual one, remain now. Which candidate? Will it be peaceful?