Trump's position on election "unprecedented in modern politics"
Academic fears stance could harm US abroad
He’s claimed the US presidential election is “rigged” and refused to confirm if he will accept the result if he’s beaten – but has anyone else dared to tread the same path as Donald Trump?
The Republican candidate caused an uproar Wednesday in the final presidential debate by failing to allay fears that he will contest the election result if he loses out to Hillary Clinton on November 8.
On Thursday, speaking to supporters at a rally in Delaware, Ohio, he said he would: “like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters and to all of the people of the United States that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election, if I win.”
Xenia Wickett, head of the US and the Americas Program at the London-based Chatham House policy institute, believes his comments are an “unprecedented move” in modern political history.
“Nobody has really raised this in our lifetime, but it’s very much in line with what has been happening in US politics over the past two decades with the lack of trust in the American government,” she told CNN.
“There has not been a leader of the two main parties who has questioned the legitimacy of the election quite this powerfully.”
Trump said that he “will look at it at the time,” when asked during Wednesday’s presidential debate whether he would concede if he loses. He added: “I will keep you in suspense.”
It was that comment which made Wickett sit up, noting that it smacked of “insecurity rather than someone being secure in their position.”
“Trump has been far more forthright in speeches he has given but in the past few days you’ve had his VP, campaign manager, and whole party saying they will accept the result because it’s a legitimate election.”
Authority abroad ‘more difficult’
One man who knows about fall outs from elections is Dr. Alex Vines, director for Regional Studies and International Security at Chatham House.
Vines has extensive experience in monitoring elections, particularly in African countries, and said Trump’s stance on refusing to concede could backfire politically for the US.
“A key plank of US policy is democracy, values and governance – both Republicans and Democrats are consistent on that,” he said.
“So it makes the authority of asking for credible elections abroad more difficult if you’re suggesting your own systems are imperfect.”
Vines says many nations in Africa have witnessed a high number of protests against election results amid claims of “rigging”.