Is Hillary Clinton urging Biden not to concede a good idea?
- Joe Biden’s favorability increased 5 percentage points following the DNC last week. The former vice president's favorability increased from 40 percent to 45 percent. This increased from 79 percent to 86 percent among Democrats. Black Americans at 69 percent, whites at 39 percent, and 52 percent among Hispanics.
- On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton stated, 'Joe Biden should not concede under any circumstances because I think this is going to drag out, and eventually I do believe he will win if we don't give an inch and if we are as focused and relentless as the other side is.”
- President Trump has been raving for months that massive fraud will occur in the election because of “widespread mail-in voting” during the pandemic.
- Half of U.S. voters are expected to cast their votes by mail this year, doubling that of 2016, but many officials do not have the capacity to count mail ballots as quickly as those cast in person.
Lily Rothman points out in a 2016 Time article that concession speeches from losing presidential candidates are 'a departure from most elections in American history,' and are actually a 'product of the 20th-century media environment.' Their function is mainly to appease the loser's supporters and encourage them to accept their favored candidate's loss. When you consider that around half of the people who say they plan to vote for Biden also say that they're mostly doing so only because he's not Trump, that idea seems like a fool's errand. Since much of his 'support' seems actually to come from grudging allies, a concession speech seems unlikely to sway any opinions.
As Clinton pointed out, the 'shift to mail-in voting due to the coronavirus pandemic means it could take longer to know the winner in November.' Some states allow the counting of ballots that arrive late, as long as they are postmarked by election day, so delaying a concession seems reasonable. Clinton also indicated concern about Trump trying to 'steal' the election, and she is not alone in that concern. Some still believe that Al Gore's concession in 2000 was a mistake, and there are even more questions and issues surrounding this year’s election.
It certainly seems reasonable to be cautious of conceding defeat, and particularly of doing so too early. Additionally, it may be worth noting that Trump has given more than enough cause to suggest that he won't concede if he loses. All the more reason for Biden not to act prematurely.
By urging Joe Biden not to concede if he does not initially win the election, Hillary Clinton is exhibiting blatant hypocrisy. Clinton herself was previously accused (and proven) to have collaborated with fellow 'high-class' Democrats to alter the 2016 Democratic Primaries. Democrats have pelted President Trump with several allegations insinuating that he aims to handicap the election in his favor. Trump was also met with significant criticism when he refused to confirm whether he would accept the upcoming election results.
House Democrat James Clyburn stated that he expects Trump not to leave office even if he loses the election. He explained that countries reach their final demise when they refuse to abide by the form of democracy in place, going as far as to compare Trump to former Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. By telling Biden not to concede, Clinton is essentially encouraging him to do what Trump is hinting at if he does not get the outcome he wishes for in November.
If Biden doesn't concede after losing the election, suspicions will only grow about the possible mail-in voting fraud that Trump has continuously accused Democrats of wanting to benefit from. Trump opened the Republican National Convention by declaring that the only way he would lose would be if the Democrats rigged the election. The only way for Joe Biden to muster through this election without garnering an overwhelming amount of criticism is if he accepts the results without stirring up any controversy. By not conceding, Biden will only reinforce some voters’ wariness of the Democratic party.