Donald Trump said Thursday he would accept the outcome of the presidential election mdash if he wins. And he said he might contest the results if they don#8217t go his way, doubling down on his incendiary statement during Wednesday night#8217s debate that raised the prospect of breaking with bedrock traditions of American democracy.
#8220I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election mdash if I win,#8221 Trump said at a rally in Delaware, Ohio, reiterating his statement at Wednesday night#8217s debate that he will keep the nation #8220in suspense#8221 about whether he would gracefully concede the election in the event of the loss polls indicate is coming his way. Trump#8217s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton called his remarks Wednesday #8220horrifying,#8221 and Trump came in for widespread condemnation across the political spectrum.
#8220That was sort of an unprecedented question. If Al Gore or George Bush had agreed three weeks before the election and waived their right to a challenge or a recount, there would be no Supreme Court case,#8221 Trump argued Thursday. #8220In effect, Irsquom being asked to waive centuries of legal precedent designed to protect the voters.#8221
In reality, debate moderator Chris Wallace mentioned nothing about legal rights, asking instead about America#8217s tradition of #8220peaceful transition of power#8221 and #8220that the loser concedes to the winner and that the country comes together in part for the good of the country. Are you saying yoursquore not prepared now to commit to that principle?#8221
Trump has repeatedly decried the election as #8220rigged.#8221 There is no evidence to support his assertion.
TIME#8217s David Von Drehle also explains why the comparison to Al Gore doesn#8217t hold up. #8220This infinitesimal gap [in Florida] triggered an automatic recount. In other words, there was no #8216result on election day,