The story of American democracy over two centuries and more has been graceful concession speeches by the losers of Presidential elections. Despite vehement and emotional feelings on both sides of an election, being a “good sport” and conceding in a proper manner is an American tradition!
The only time there was, in effect, no concession speeches was when South Carolina, and eventually ten other Southern states, eventually refused to accept that Abraham Lincoln had won the Presidency in 1860, and began the civil insurrection known to history as the American Civil War!
Other than that one time, losers of Presidential elections have always been gracious and patriotic in their acceptance of the victory of their rivals, until 2020 when Donald Trump refused to concede and provoked the US Capitol Insurrection of January 6, 2021!
Some elections have been very close, as in 1876, when Rutherford B. Hayes defeated Samuel Tilden, in an election which dragged on to final determination until just before Inauguration Day in 1877, with Tilden accepting his loss.
The same situation occurred in 1884, when the Republican Party lost the Presidency for the first time in a generation to Democrat Grover Cleveland by very small margins, but James G. Blaine accepted defeat graciously.
In 1916, we had the second closest Electoral Vote margin after 1876, until later in the year 2000, with loser Charles Evans Hughes being gracious in defeat to President Woodrow Wilson.
The upset election victory of President Harry Truman over New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey in 1948 was accepted in a proper way by Dewey. And later, Truman had Dewey visit the White House!
Richard Nixon in 1960 had advisers suggest he challenge John F. Kennedy over the close Illinois vote, but Nixon, outgoing Vice President, refused to drag out the matter, and accepted defeat in a gracious manner.
President Gerald Ford was heartbroken in 1976, when he lost to Jimmy Carter, but was very gracious in concession, read by his wife Betty Ford, because the President had developed laryngitis. And the Fords and the Carters became fast friends in later years, a closer friendship than anyone since John Adams and Thomas Jefferson!
Michael Dukakis was way ahead of George H. W. Bush at one point of the 1988 Presidential campaign, but was very appropriate in his concession speech.
President George H.W. Bush was devastated by his loss to Bill Clinton in 1992, as was Bob Dole in 1996, but both were proper in their concessions.
Al Gore fought the good fight in 2000, contesting the result for 36 days, but then conceding, when the Supreme Court intervened, and as outgoing Vice President, rejected any further battle over the Electoral College vote count on January 6, 2001.
Senator John McCain was totally decent and proper in his gracious concession speech, congratulating the nation in 2008, on the election of the first African American President, Barack Obama.
Mitt Romney had the same decency when he lost to Obama in 2012, and Hillary Clinton conceded the morning after the 2016 election to Donald Trump, although totally stunned by the loss.
So there was no excuse, and still there is none today, for any candidate for the Presidency who loses the election to refuse to concede, and instead to cause chaos, disarray, and literal violence, as that provoked by Donald Trump against Joe Biden’s victory in 2020.
So the time has come for Donald Trump to pay the price for the bloodshed and violence he provoked, and to be convicted and sentenced to federal prison.
And his decision to continue to provoke violence and what he calls “retribution” should lead to his incarceration BEFORE trial, as an example to the American people what happens, when anyone, even a former President, chooses to promote undermining of American democracy and the rule of law!