US election: how former presidential candidates accepted defeat

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While presidential elections can be divisive and fiercely fought, a concession speech by the defeated candidate is a way of trying to calm divisions.

As the world waits for the 2020 leadership contest results, here’s how the previous presidential contests ended.

When conceding defeat to Donald Trump in 2016Hillary Clinton called on supporters to accept the election result and ensure a smooth and peaceful handover.

The former first lady said the election race revealed that “our nation is more deeply divided than we thought”.

She said she hoped Mr. Trump would be “a successful president for all Americans.”

Hillary Clinton Credit: Dominic Lipinski / PA

During a speech in New York, the Democratic candidate told his supporters: “We have to accept this result and then look to the future.

“Donald Trump will be our president. We owe him the openness and the chance to lead. “

In a clip that has resurfaced on Twitter in recent days, Republican candidate John McCain said it was his honor to congratulate Barack Obama on his victory in 2008.

Addressing his supporters outside his electoral headquarters in Phoneix, Ariz., Mr. McCain signaled the crowd to stop booing for his Democratic challenger.

“In a competition as long and difficult as this campaign has been, her success alone commands my respect for her ability and persistence,” said Mr. McCain.

John McCain Credit: Johnny Green / PA

“But the fact that he succeeded in doing so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans, who once mistakenly believed they had little or little influence in electing a president American, this is something I deeply admire and congratulate him on. achieve.

“This is a historic election and I recognize the special importance it has for African Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight. “

next a tight and controversial presidential race in 2000, Democratic candidate Al Gore privately called on George W. Bush to give in.

The Democrat offered his congratulations to the “president-elect” – only to reconsider his concession soon after.

Following a legal battle over votes in the pivotal state of Florida – which he lost and thus ended his campaign – Mr. Gore again called Bush Jnr to offer his concession and address to the nation.

Republican George W Bush and Democrat Al Gore. Credit: AP

“And I promised him I wouldn’t call him back this time,” he joked.

Mr Gore said he had offered to meet with the president-elect to “start healing the divisions in the campaign, adding:” Neither he nor I anticipated this long and difficult road.

“Certainly none of us wanted this to happen. Yet it has come, and now it is over, resolved, as it must be resolved, by the honored institutions of our democracy. “

George HW Bush told his supporters that “the people had spoken” when he conceded defeat to Bill Clinton after the 1992 presidential election.

Taking the stage at a hotel in Houston, Texas, to cheers of “Thank You George,” the 41st President said he called Mr. Clinton to congratulate him.

George HW Bush Credit: Pennsylvania

“This is how we see it and the country should see it – that the people have spoken and that we respect the majesty of the democratic system,” Bush Snr told his supporters.

“I just called Governor Clinton in Little Rock and offered him my congratulations. He led a vigorous campaign. I wish him good luck in the White House, ”he said.

“And I want the country to know that our entire administration will work closely with its team to ensure a smooth transition of power.


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