What Happens If Joe Biden Wins And Donald Trump Refuses To Concede?

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a round table discussion with African American supporters in the Cabinet Room of the White House on June 10, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Doug Mills / Getty Images

A new report claimed that Donald Trump would refuse to concede the election even if he failed to nab 270 electoral votes. So what happens if the incumbent president actually refuses to take that famous step?

Long before Election Day, some speculated that Trump might not concede the election, even if he loses the vote decisively. But as CNN explained, it doesn’t matter. Offering a concession to an opponent isn’t the law, it’s merely a custom in the United States that has been around since 1896 when William Jennings Bryan sent his opponent William McKinley a concession telegram.

According to one CNN reporter, Trump has told those in his inner circle that he has no plans of conceding to Biden, regardless of the electoral outcome.

But when it comes to the legal impact that would have on the election, the effect is essentially nonexistent because it has no weight from a legal perspective. Instead, a concession is often seen as a way to attempt to unify the citizenry and is considered by some to be good form.

Even if a candidate were to concede to their opponent, they can take back their concession with no legal implications.

That happened in 2000 when Al Gore called George W. Bush to admit defeat, but then called back a short while later to take back his statement.

However, a lack of concession could leave the country feeling unsettled as it might indicate that the losing candidate still had an intention to fight the results. In that case, the situation might not be closed in some people’s minds until the vice president, in this case, Mike Pence, fulfills his role of certifying the count in January, just prior to the inauguration.

“Without a concession, usually hidden parts of the election process – such as the inner workings of the Electoral College – could be ripped open and used to decide the election in an unprecedented way. It would mean a race could be headed for a result decided by the courts or by obscure parts of the law,” USA Today noted.

However, the newly elected president will take office on January 20 at noon, as dictated by the constitution, regardless of whether the loser offers their concession.

President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama walk out prior to Obama's departure during the 2017 presidential inauguration at the U.S. Capitol January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC.
  Jack Gruber / Getty Images

As The Inquisitr previously reported, it’s possible that Trump might not follow the long-standing tradition, which has been followed by every president in modern times, no matter how contentious and hard-fought the election was.