The Virtues of Being Graceless

Rich Lowry at the Trump-unfriendly National Review titled a syndicated column on November 20  “Ugly Exit.” Lowry, who has made a habit of dumping on The Donald, complains that Trump’s unwillingness to graciously concede to Joe Biden reveals his “deep-seated inability to admit defeat.”  His gracelessness is also somehow harming “elected Republicans who feel the need to play along.” So far, according to Lowry, Trump has been exploiting the “suspicions about the process” that bedevil his party after a heated race. “But it’s wrong for Trump to fuel the doubts with a constant flow of bad information and conspiracy theories.” It seems that Lowry sees no evidence of significant fraud anywhere in this election but is willing to give Trump “the chance to ferret out fraud and to have his day in court.”

Unlike Lowry, I am struck by the numerous irregularities in this race, from the appallingly low number of rejected ballots in the battleground states, to the affidavits submitted by those who witnessed dishonest ballot counting, to the exclusion of Republican poll observers in heavily Democratic wards. I am also open to arguments about Dominion software changing millions of pro-Trump votes, although I want to see more evidence before fully accepting the bold charges coming from Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell. But arguendo let me concede Rich Lowry’s point, that there is nothing out there that would lead me to believe that Joe Biden did not win the presidency. Should Donald Trump readily concede the race and extend congratulations to the victor? That would end those suits that Lowry and other mainstream journalists consider unnecessarily divisive and allow the new administration to begin an untroubled transition to power.

I can’t imagine any advantage that would accrue to the Right from doing this. Would Lowry’s non-ugly exit cause the Left to treat the other side more sympathetically or regret what the outgoing Obama-Biden administration did to Trump during his transition, namely getting the FBI to spy on the incoming president and his staff and then manufacturing a fake dossier about his collusion with the Russian government?  Lowry, Chris Wallace, Bret Baier, and others of their persuasion believe the Republicans must set an example of niceness while the other side is free to behave like thugs. One reason the Republicans lost the presidential race was that they allowed the Democrats in state after state to engage in questionable tactics, like using Democratic judges in my state of Pennsylvania to sign off on late ballots and a lot else that should never have been allowed, even though the state legislature did not approve the changes. I still can’t get my head around the fact that Brian Kemp and his secretary of state Brad Raffensperger in Georgia did everything they could to please the race-hustling Democrat Stacey Abrams (who never conceded her defeat to Kemp in the gubernatorial race in 2018). Lest they be accused of (what else?) racism, these Republican officials allowed late ballots and even ballots without matching signatures to be counted in the presidential race. Unfortunately, these procedures will remain in place for the senatorial runoff races on January 4. 

It may be far more productive for Trump to show defiance than exude graciousness. Do the accommodators really believe that if they oblige the Democrats, the high-tech companies that are now joined to the new administration at the hip won’t continue to cancel conservatives? Will the courtesy being recommended cause Democrats in high place to throw away their hit lists against Trump’s supporters? Does anyone doubt that a Biden (really Harris) administration won’t direct the IRS to punish conservatives and devout Christians, just as the Obama-Biden administration did?

What reason does Trump have to concede -- ever? Hillary Clinton went on screaming that the presidential election had been stolen from her for four years after losing. As late as May 2019 Biden agreed with a fan in New Hampshire that Trump’s election was “illegitimate.” Why should Trump behave more indulgently toward his opponents? Such unreciprocated generosity is not likely to make the Left like their bête noire any better. And there’s also the problem not only of a disputed election but also of the unremitting, vicious war waged by the Democrats and their media allies to unseat Trump. These include a ludicrous impeachment proceeding, an endless collusion hoax, and expressions of sympathy for rioters and looters during the summer, whom the Democrats were hoping would create more chaos for the Republican administration. Briefings can go on between the outgoing and incoming administrations, without concession speeches. The former does not depend on the latter.

 I do not agree with Marc A. Thiessen of Fox news that Trump has “the best chance to reclaim it [the presidency] in four years” if he concedes but also promises to return. Why would the organized Left not treat Trump in 2024 just as it is doing right now, namely as a punching bag? Clearly Biden already has headaches dealing with the powerful left wing of his party. Why shouldn’t Trump and his loyalists increase this disorder by firing away from the right? Let’s not reward these enemies by permitting them to gloat serenely over their spoils!