Is Trump a loser

As a winner, Trump has so far made a good figure, at least that is what his supporters apparently saw. Now the incumbent US president has lost the election. Even if he tries to shake the election result through legal means, it looks like he will not be able to get a second term in office. This draws attention to the question of how to step down with dignity in this situation.

Because the loser in the election also has duties in the USA: A defeat includes the so-called defeat concession speech. What is meant is the obligatory admission of the loser to have lost the election - conciliatory words that are addressed to the future president and the voters alike. The speech is an unwritten but not unimportant part of the script of American election campaigns, actually.

When and whether this will happen in 2020 - that is not certain. Trump's initial reaction to the announcement of Biden's victory was as expected. The man in the White House defies the election result and does not want to recognize the Democrats as his successor. Trump had already said on election day in a campaign office in Arlington, Virginia, that he is not yet considering a speech as a loser or a winner. And further: "You know, winning is easy, losing is never easy - not for me."

In addition, the Trump camp has filed lawsuits in several states. Trump announced that he would go to the highest American court, the Supreme Court. So far, none of this sounds necessarily like a dignified exit. But how will Trump behave when possible legal disputes are off the table and there is no getting around Biden's presidency?

In any case, there are many positive historical examples in which Trump could learn how to lose. Among other things, there is his former challenger, Hillary Clinton, who previously reviled Trump in the worst possible way. He called her "Fraudulent Hillary" ("Crooked Hillary") and did not prevent his supporters from chanting to demand their arrest ("Lock her up"). Even Clinton managed to admit defeat and ask the American people to give Donald Trump a chance as president.

And then there was veteran Republican John McCain, who lost to a young charismatic Senator from Illinois in 2008: "Senator Obama has achieved something great - for himself personally and for this country. I applaud him and express my deep condolences for it from the fact that his beloved grandmother was no longer allowed to live to see this day. Even if our faith tells us that she dwells in the presence of her Creator and is very proud of the great man she raised. " That was a speech that was up to the historic moment.

After the US election in 2000, the Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore showed how it should not be done. When Gore called his adversary George W. Bush, the future US president was stunned. "Just so that I understand you correctly," Bush asked the Democrats on the phone, "you are calling me to withdraw your admission of defeat?" Only half an hour earlier, Al Gore had congratulated his opponent on his election victory. Gore's retraction of his initially admitted defeat was a scandal. What caused him to do so were discrepancies in the Florida count. The Democrat tried in vain to get a recount. Weeks later it was clear: the new president was Bush.

The trenches from the election campaign are to be filled in

The concession speech is not legally anchored in the constitution or otherwise. Nevertheless, it has been a tradition since 1896; it is an integral part of the democratic rite of the presidential election. In 1896, the Democrat William Jennings Bryan telegramed his Republican adversary William McKinley two days after the election. Since then, the losers have always admitted defeat in some form and congratulated the winner, 32 times in the past 120 years.

The first concession speech Al Smith was on the radio in 1928 after losing to Herbert Hoover. Live on television, viewers first saw Adlai Stevenson in 1952 as he congratulated Dwight D. Eisenhower on winning the election. Over the years, building blocks were established that keep appearing in the speeches.

The first point is the admission of defeat - even if the word itself is avoided as much as possible by the losers. Words follow to reunite the people and evoke the common spirit of the American nation. This section is particularly important after the often tough and bitter election campaigns. It is important to fill in the trenches that deepened in the weeks leading up to election day. In an act of impartiality, the loser expresses support for his former adversary and calls on the nation to unity.

Then it becomes fundamental: the speaker emphasizes the strength of the democratic system and recognizes the voters as decisive actors. This is possibly the most fundamental part of the speech because it focuses on the value of the form of government itself and thus emphasizes the legitimacy of the election and its result. In the end, the speaker's attention turns back to the concrete issues and he calls on his supporters to continue fighting for his own goals and those of his party.

It's hard to imagine hearing all of this out of Trump's mouth. So far, he has not attracted attention for adhering to rules - especially not unwritten ones. However, connecting words would do the divided American society good.

Incidentally, on December 13, 2000, after an extensive legal battle, Al Gore's second and final followed concession. He had promised George W. Bush this time not to call him back and congratulated him on becoming the 43rd President of the USA, said the defeated Democrat on television: "And tonight I offer for our unity as a people and the strength of ours Democracy will accept my admission of defeat. " This is what losers can sound like.