Donald Trump’s waffling about accepting the result of the election has been both one of the most tedious and most outraging themes of the last couple of months. And as Election Day calmly marches on, he’s still refusing to say whether he’ll acknowledge a defeat if he loses his bid for the White House.
“We’ll see what happens,” he said, when asked if he would concede as he cast his ballot.
In a radio interview, Trump seemed to hint that a fair election would only bring a positive result for him: “We can only see what happens—I hope it’s going to be very fair, I think we’re going to do very well,” he said, having gone on a mini-rant about an interview Obama gave in 2008.
Staying manfully on message, he reiterated the point on Fox News: “We’re going to see how things play out today, and hopefully they’ll play out well. And hopefully we won’t have to worry about it, meaning hopefully we’ll win.”
It was enough to make British bookie Paddy Power liken him to fans of soccer team Manchester United—famously bad losers.
What can we infer from this? Clearly, he wants the biggest possible audience for his speech tonight. We’ve seen some similarly cunning Trumpian tactics before—like when he “Rick-rolled” the US press corps over his acknowledgement that president Obama was born in the US, spending 270 words talking on live TV about a new Trump hotel and only 67 on so-called birtherism.
Beyond the obvious tactic of just not conceding to stay in the limelight for as long as possible (and ruling out conspiracy theories about more dastardly plans like an armed insurrection), should he lose, the master salesman may have a specific plan for his last moment of enormous publicity. Can we expect a new product launch—like the announcement of Trump TV, or perhaps the return of Trump wine or steak? Or are we destined to endure yet more never-ending cliff-hangers about what to wait for next until we all slowly claw our eyes out and let him do what he wants?