The Corner

Trump and the Legitimacy of the Election

Trump is now dragging his supporters through the exercise of defending what, for him, is clearly a defense mechanism not a principle. He is probably setting the predicate for challenging a big loss more than a narrow one. If he was truly concerned about foul play tipping a close result, he could have simply said, “Of course I have every intention of accepting the result, except in some truly extraordinary, unforeseeable circumstance, in which case I reserve all my legal rights — just like Al Gore did.” Or something like that. The thing about challenging election results through recounts and the like is that it always risks making the challenging candidate seem like a sore loser. So it’s always a fraught political choice even when the vote count is razor thin, and it is politically reckless in the extreme to give the other side reason to call you a sore loser even before you have lost.

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