During the final presidential debate, Donald Trump refused to commit to accepting the results of the election if he loses. This has led to speculation about what Trump supporters will do if he loses.
Of course, I would accept a clear election result, but I would also reserve my right to contest or file a legal challenge in the case of a questionable result. And always, I will follow and abide by all of the rules and traditions of all of the many candidates who have come before me. — Donald Trump
Given that Mr. Trump is likely to win at least 45% of the votes cast on Election Day, there will be a lot of unhappy people on November 9 if he loses. Would Trump’s supporters act any differently than Clinton supporters if she lost?
A recent Reuter’s poll revealed that 50% of Republicans say they would not accept Hillary Clinton as their president and 70% feel that if she wins it would only be by “illegal voting or vote rigging.” The same poll showed that 30% of Democrats also say they would not accept Donald Trump as their president. However, more Democrats stated that they would engage in public protests if their candidate were to lose and, according to the poll, say they are three times as likely to leave the country if their candidate loses than are Republicans.
Two unpopular candidates
It’s reasonable to assume that in such a volatile election between two unpopular candidates that there will be a level of divisiveness after the election that will be hard to heal. But, there is no reason to assume that unhappiness with the outcome of the election will send people to the streets or threaten the sanctity of the American electoral system.
Last week, Trump’s supporters were being warned that their candidate was facing defeat. The Washington Post headlined a story, “Fearful and angry; Trump supporters brace for the worst: A crushing defeat.” Other media outlets were playing the same story as Trump’s standing in the polls appeared to be on a downward path.
But beneath the cheering, a new emotion is taking hold among some Trump supporters as they grapple with reports predicting that he will lose the election: a dark fear about what will happen if their candidate is denied the White House. — The New York Times
Following last Friday’s shocking news that the FBI was reopening its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, Trump saw a jump in the polls that emboldened the confidence of his supporters. At the same time, it was Clinton’s supporters turn to be outraged at the actions of the “establishment,” as FBI director, James Comey was being accused of “influencing the election.”
Country will remain divided
No matter who wins on November 8, the country will remain divided. A Trump presidency will be unwelcome in Washington by Congress and the political bureaucracy. At the same time, the combination of the FBI’s investigation and the steady released of emails from WikiLeaks guarantees a future of ongoing investigations and hearings if Clinton is elected.