Near the end of the third and final presidential debate, moderator Chris Wallace asked Donald Trump for clarification on one issue: concession. He asked if, after complaining about a “rigged election,” Trump would be able to accept the results of the election no matter which way things go.
Although his vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence said that they “would absolutely” accept the outcome of the November 8th election, Trump held Wallace off. He said that he would make that decision when he saw the results, promising “to keep everyone in suspense.”
That was when Hillary Clinton spoke up:
“Well, Chris, let me respond to that. Because that’s horrifying.
You know, every time Donald thinks that things are not going in his direction, he claims that whatever it is is rigged against him.
That is the way Donald thinks. And it’s funny, but it’s also really troubling. That is not the way our democracy works. We’ve been around for 240 years, we’ve had free and fair elections, we’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them, and that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a debate stage in a general election.
He is denigrating and talking down our democracy, and I, for one, am appalled.”
But Clinton’s speech, impassioned and moving though it may have been, left out a few key details.
Details like the fact that she herself claimed that the game was rigged against her when the “Bernie or Bust” contingent threatened to refuse to support her at the Democratic National Convention:
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 26, 2016
Or when she claimed that a tax plan she didn’t agree with was rigged, despite the fact that a non-partisan tax calculator found that Trump’s plan provides tax cuts for all Americans, while hers raises rates on incomes as low as $30,000 annually:
Donald Trump's economic plan is rigged so rich people like him get tax cuts at the expense of everybody else. https://t.co/D0oOe5TVHC
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 23, 2016
And she definitely forgot about how she reacted when Al Gore lost the 2000 election, even after a number of ballot recounts.
Newsweek reported that she was still mad about it in October of 2002:
“At a private fund-raiser in Los Angeles for Democratic Sen. Jean Carnahan of Missouri, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton told the crowd that President Bush merely had been ‘selected’ president, not elected.”
In 2009, as reported by The Daily Caller, Clinton implied at a town hall in Nigeria (while she was serving as Secretary of State) that Florida Governor Jeb Bush had helped his brother George W. Bush ‘steal’ the election from Gore:
“In 2000, our presidential election came down to one state where the brother of the man running for President was the governor of the state. So we have our problems too.”
And just last week, as Gore campaigned for her in Florida (the offending state, no less), Clinton nodded along as both Gore and the crowd insisted that he won the 2000 election.
The fact remains that on November 8th, either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will face disappointment and concede the race. How they will handle that when the day comes cannot necessarily be predicted from the debate stage.