Why Donald Trump Can’t Commit to Accepting the Election Outcome

October 20, 2016, 4:56 PM UTC
Candidates Hillary Clinton And Donald Trump Hold Third Presidential Debate At The University Of Nevada
Donald Trump, 2016 Republican presidential nominee, speaks during the third U.S. presidential debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. Donald Trump is trying another wild-card play in the third and final presidential debate with Hillary Clinton in perhaps his last chance to reverse his campaign's spiral and halt his Democratic rival's rising electoral strength. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photo by Daniel Acker—Bloomberg via Getty Images

During Wednesday night’s debate, Donald Trump was asked whether he would accept the results of the election even if he came out the loser. He refused to do so, and instead saying that he will keep us “in suspense.”


His campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, appeared on CNBC‘s “Squawk Box” to double down on the candidate’s response. She explained that there’s no way to tell at this point in time whether or not he’ll be able to simply accept the outcome, because there could be extenuating circumstances, citing the 2000 election as an example.

“Of course if there is no widespread fraud and irregularities and evidence of malfeasance, you can count on him for a peaceful transfer of power,” Conway explained on the show. She added that, however, Trump cannot “lay out every single possible hypothetical” to unquestionably declare before the election that he will not contest the results.

She speculated that if Al Gore were asked the same question 16 years ago, he likely would have said that he would accept the outcome. “But things change, don’t they,” Conway said. The 2000 election came down to Florida, and Gore did end up contesting the results. George W. Bush eventually won the state by a margin of just 0.009%.

“Why would [Trump], before he knows the results and they’re verified and they’re certified, concede an election that didn’t happen yet,” Conway said. “That’s insane.”

Hillary Clinton is currently leading Trump nationally by 9 points, according to a poll conducted before the final debate. Conway expressed her belief that there are likely “undercover Trump voters” who could make a difference on Election Day.

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