There was an election in Florida (why do these stories always come out of Florida?) last week. The winner, a Democrat named Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, won that election with 79% of the votes cast.
Back in the day, they used to call that a landslide victory.
It’s not surprising though. The district, Florida’s 20th, has a 5-1 Democrat to Repugnicant voter registration. Joe Biden won the district in 2020 with 77% of the vote, so Ms. McCormick actually outdid him. The Repugnicant candidate was perceived as a Boston carpetbagger. Third party candidates picked up enough of the vote so that he actually got less than 20% of the vote which means he couldn’t even get some of the registered Republicans to vote for him. In the past his status as a perceived carpetbagger would have been the attributing factor in his shellacking, but not in 2022 America.
Well you know where this is headed. The Repugnicant refuses to concede the election.
Now they called the race, I did not win, so they say, but that does not mean that they lost either, it does not mean that we lost
Forgetting for a moment his inability to speak the English language clearly, this has become the Repugnicant playbook with all elections. Never concede, send in lawyers, try to get the vote overturned. Use, I would say abuse, the system in any way you can. In a fractured political environment where most elections are decided by narrow margins, you just might get the right judge or the right secretary of state or the right governor to hand your candidate a victory the voters didn’t award to them.
Under those conditions the noted dumb play callers the Dallas Cowboys could petition Roger Goodell to just hand them the Lombardi Trophy as Super Bowl Champions every year.
What I really want to talk about is the importance of conceding; formally, graciously, and with a sense of tradition and humility that is entirely necessary for the idea of the peaceful transition of power to become a reality.
John McCain once said
I didn’t like the outcome of the 2008 election. But I had a duty to concede. A concession isn’t just an act of graciousness. It is an act of respect for the will of the American people, an act that is every American leader’s first responsibility.
Respect. Wow, there is a word you don’t hear in connection to politics much these days. Respect the process. Respect the institutions. Respect the history. Hell, respect your opponent and what he or she had to do in order to come out on top. Take your lumps, leave with your head held high, and make sure your election district, your state, or your country can come together to work on the great problems we face in this world.
One political party seems to do that pretty well. The other, not so much. The problem is we can’t even agree on which party is which in that scenario. Well I’ll tell you which one is in the wrong, it’s the Repugnicants. It’s always the Repugnicants. It’s always them because the only way they can win elections is to rig the game ahead of time. They gerrymander districts. They impose ridiculous voting restrictions (I want to be the first guy to go to jail for giving someone a bottle of water while they stand in line to vote in Georgia). In counties they control they make it easy for white voters to cast their ballots by having plenty of voting precincts in the areas where whites live and hardly any in areas where blacks live. In states where early voting is allowed (most of them) they have restricted when or how those early ballots can be dropped off.
Don’t concede, keep reading by clicking the link
And when they don’t win an election these days they scream and shout and throw a tantrum or an insurrection to try and get their way. Funny thing is, it never seems to help. No election has been overturned because of faults in either the collection or counting of ballots. EVER.
The adult thing to do would be of course to stand up once the election is called and give a five or ten minute speech in which you graciously congratulate the winner, thank your supporters for all their help, mug for the cameras when you self deprecatingly suggest some fault of yours that lead to your defeat, hug your spouse, and walk away. That’s the way it was done for nearly two hundred years of democracy in America.
But the adults are not in charge of the Repugnicant party. Those who don’t believe in democracy are in charge and they don’t care if you lost 51%-49% or if you lost 80% to 20%, losing an election just means going to the next step in power grabbing. It’s as if they think elections are video games where if you get killed the first time you just get a new life and try some other way to slay the Gorgon.
Elections aren’t video games. If you lose it’s because the voters didn’t like your ideas or yes frankly, in these media invasive days, if voters don’t like your looks or your tone of voice or your tone of skin. But for whatever reason you lost, you LOST. And the patriotic thing to do is to concede that defeat and offer your hand to the person who beat you.
Repugnicants have also been spouting off that “if Trump had been declared the winner you liberals (Antifa, BLM, etc.) would have been storming the Capital”. In the spirit of reconciliation let me just point out that Trump DID win an election and we liberals didn’t storm the Capital. It happened in 2016 or have you already forgotten that’s how he came to power in the first place? Yes, we advocated for Republican electors to go faithless and vote for Clinton, but we did so from editorial pages and social media platforms not by dressing up in war paint and desecrating the very symbol of our freedom. And in case you didn’t know it, Hillary Clinton conceded graciously even when the wound was still fresh and the body not yet cold.
Now it’s easy to say Donald Trump is the reason conceding has gone out of fashion on the right side of the political spectrum and trust me I do think he is one of the reasons. But the media also has some blame in this game. Yeah, that so called Liberal Media which is actually run by very conservative businessmen who are looking only for how many more eyeballs, how many more clicks, how much ad revenue can be gained if an election “never ends”. Political advertising is a honeypot for the media, a guaranteed money spigot where the dollars keep on a rolling in so long as there is a combative political atmosphere at play. And the more combative, the better.
The wife (Cruella) calls it “fear porn”.
Look, no one likes to lose. It’s one of the worst feelings in the world. If I may indulge in a bit of pop psychology I think one of the reasons conservatives don’t like their candidates to concede is that their own sense of self worth is tied up in conservative causes and candidates. If those lose, in effect those who supported them are losers. I’m sure there are plenty of liberals who have that same feeling but you know what, maybe being a liberal means getting over a loss and moving on.
There are plenty of op-eds calling for a return to civilized debate in politics or at least civil behavior on the part of the opposite sides in an election or on an issue. I hardily agree with that notion. The first way that we can get back to that is by insisting, yes I said insisting, that losing candidates give a concession speech. Get up there and say like Al Gore did, it’s time for me to go. And then, like Gore and Clinton and Bush Sr. and Romney and McCain, you slide off the stage with your head held high and your pride intact.
You know, like the good old days the Repugnicants are always try to tell us were so much better than today. On this one point they happen to be right.
Always good to look for dignity from a Nobel Prize winner