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The six steps to a concession speech

By Hannah Yi
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Donald Trump has upended many of our expectations of a presidential candidate. One of those might be the concession speech.

In the past few weeks, he’s hinted at not conceding if he were to lose. That would be a historic reversal of an election night tradition that goes as far back as 1960, when Richard Nixon delivered the first televised concession speech. (Before that, speeches were broadcast on radio or the defeated spoke after election night because results took longer to tally.)

There has been one modern exception. During the 2000 election contest between George W. Bush and Al Gore, Gore came in shy of 600 votes in Florida. That prompted a mandatory recount in Florida and a Supreme Court decision, but Gore did eventually step in front of cameras and admit defeat.

Typically then, the losing candidate accepts the results, privately contacts the winner, and then concedes the loss publicly. It’s an important step in upholding democracy, because it legitimatizes the outcome.

We deconstructed past presidential concession speeches and, as you can see in the video above, we found they usually involve six elements. It’s handy to keep those in mind as Tuesday draws nearer, and the losing candidate will have his or her last moment in the spotlight as a presidential contender. That is, unless Trump loses but refuses to concede.

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