The million-dollar question to which even “Jeopardy!” and the late Alex Trebek (may he Rest In Peace) wouldn’t have an answer in a blue block: “Will Donald Trump concede?”
When it’s all said and done, the “Jeopardy!” answer may be: This President made history by becoming the first in modern history to refuse a peaceful transfer of power.
The question: “Who is Donald Trump?”
However, it’s much too early to jump to that conclusion. Trump — while a long shot — could have a change of heart and ultimately concede to Joe Biden, who appears he will become the 46th American President.
Even Hillary Clinton, who back in August urged Biden not to concede if he happened to lose, made a phone call to Trump — at Barack Obama’s urging — and conceded. She called it one of the more awkward moments of her life.
What started the concession tradition?
According to National Geographic, conceding and peacefully transferring power began in 1896. William Jennings Bryan sent a telegram to William McKinley, the 25th President, congratulating McKinley and stating, “We have submitted the issue to the American people and their will is law.”
Bryan simply deemed it the courteous thing to do, and was surprised it became a national talking point.
From that point forward, the candidate who fell short of the required 270 electoral votes has conceded to the President who’d take an oath to begin either his first or second term in the White House.
This year, Trump clearly doesn’t feel like he lost fair and square. But even fellow Republican George W. Bush already congratulated Biden.
“Though we have political differences, I know Joe Biden to be a good man, who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country,” Bush said. He loved the “patriotic message” conveyed by Biden in his Saturday-night speech.
Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney congratulated Biden as well.
Charles Evans Hughes didn’t congratulate Woodrow Wilson, according to National Geographic, until two weeks after the race. Thomas Dewey never personally contacted FDR in 1944, instead conceding on the radio.
The Trump campaign has fired up some legal battles, but perhaps it would be best to extinguish them.
Trump doesn’t have to be the most gracious loser — and he won’t be — but he has served his four years. And he will always be President Donald Trump. He should leave it at that, and concede.