Can the candidate keep going on, or will there be a lot of bad blood between the 2 candidates? Trump seems to be toying with this idea, but does he have the guts to do it? I don't think so, but this election has been a ripper, and something diff. always happens. Feedback, good and bad, welcome!

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    It would presumably depend on how exactly he refuses to concede. He could decline to give a phone call and go on TV (as candidates usually do) and just drag the process on a little bit. He could try to fight everything through the court Bush/Gore style (Gore did not concede before December 13 – in a completely different context to be sure – and it wasn't the end of the world). But he could also go on TV and forcefully denounce the legitimacy of the election or worse…
    – Relaxed
    Oct 19, 2016 at 19:25
  • There's bad blood between Trump and pretty much anyone he's ever worked with.
    – user1530
    Oct 20, 2016 at 3:27

1 Answer 1


Formally, it is not the candidates who decide who has won. The electoral process continues the same way whatever they say about the issue, with only the courts of each State being available to inquiry about allegations of fraud (if there is some kind of evidence about it). The scenario would not be much different from the 2000 elections at Florida.

The issue of not accepting defeat is that the elected representative of a lot of people will be claiming that the elected president is not the legitimate president, and people from all kind of situations may try to use that as a way to justify their actions, whatever they are... from tax fraud, to disobeying military orders, to outright terrorism1 because the government authority is claimed to be illegitimate.

Imagine what some idiots tried to pull out on the basis of the "birthers" claims or the "sovereign citizens" ideas and increase that by several orders of magnitude. The most extreme2 outcome is that argument permeating into the military and being the base for a coup d'état.

And of course, it sets a very dangerous precedent... from then on, any losing candidate may use the "fraud" card ("it is not my fault because I was a bad candidate, it is the 'black hand'") and the situation may repeat itself again and again.

Note that I am not claiming that these fraud charges could cause a big portion of the American public (or even Trump supporters) to do stupid/illegal things, most of them will just ignore Trump claims unless he can provide some actual evidence. The problem is that even if these allegations only motivate a 1% of Trump supporters, it would be still a number of people large enough that could cause serious trouble.

1 You know, you cannot honestly be constantly repeating things about "the blood of tyrants" and that you are going to jail political opponents and claim that the elections are rigged and then be surprised if some people interpret this as a signal to start killing the "tyrants" and their "henchmen".

2 Despite all, this possibility is very, very, very, very unlikely nowadays in the USA, but it has happenned in other countries.

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    Note: In view of Relaxed's comment, I would like to comment that the above semi-apocaliptic answer is for the case that Trump decides to appeal to the public due to alleged fraud. Not conceding defeat or refusing to compliment Clinton for her victory could be rude gestures, but do not amount to claim that the election was rigged (as we said in Spanish, if you shut up it means that you agree); seeking judicial review is everybody's right and may help clarify whatever doubt could raise due to the electoral process; none of these possibilities should cause much trouble (if at all).
    – SJuan76
    Oct 19, 2016 at 19:55
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    The danger of unlikely yet terrible events is that they only need to happen once.
    – user5155
    Oct 19, 2016 at 21:20
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    @mbomb007 I researched these claims, and found this interesting. As long as the raw (unedited) footage is not available (or a good explanation as why it has not been made available yet), I am not holding my breath (specially since one of the parties behind the video has a record of editing sting videos to alter the meaning of what was actually said). Anyway, welcome to the forum even if it is only to spam this link, let's hope you find something constructive to tell soon. :-D
    – SJuan76
    Oct 20, 2016 at 14:29
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    @mbomb007 Not necessarily; in the same link I provided it explains that two people had to resign due to a video manipulated by O'Keefe. As the saying goes, "Caesar's wife does not only have to be chaste, but she also must seem to be chaste". Caught in one of these accusations, it is easier to fire someone even on trumped up charges than to escalate the conflict (Streissand Effect). Still, if he is the responsable citizen that he claims to be, O'Keefe should bring the unedited video to the public and press charges in courts if the unedited videos shows what O'Keefe claims they show.
    – SJuan76
    Oct 20, 2016 at 16:49
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    @mbomb007 Well, being wary and alert is good thing (self-complacency is a big risk), but saying that there could be attempts at voting fraud does not imply that voting fraud is going to happen, or that it would be of a scale enough to change the results (note that I am not Ok with the later option). But it seems that there are not many attempts in either side to improve the situation, maybe you should be more exigent with your state level representatives...
    – SJuan76
    Oct 20, 2016 at 19:00

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