In an interview aired on “Fox News Sunday,” Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the Republican vice presidential nominee, again asserted something that the man at the top of his party’s ticket, Donald Trump, has rendered less than clear.
Pence told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace that the Trump campaign will “accept a clear election outcome” but will pursue any legal remedies necessary short of that standard. What will amount to a clear election outcome or a questionable one was not specified.
From a transcript of the program:
WALLACE: I think you’d agree, one of the strengths of our democracy is when the election is over, no matter how ugly, the loser graciously concedes to the winner and we all rally around the new president, whoever that turns out to be. Donald Trump has said different things at different times. I want you to clear this up for us. Can you guarantee that if there’s a clear winner on election night and if – and I repeat if, I know you’re going to say, well, he’s going to win – but if Donald Trump should be the loser, can you guarantee that he will concede to Hillary Clinton and accept the result of the election and the judgment of the American people?
PENCE: Well, thanks for anticipating my answer. Donald Trump is going to win this election. He’ll be more than happy to accept the results. But, look –
WALLACE: Can you guarantee that he will put this behind us – sir, can you guarantee he’ll put this behind us and accept the result?
PENCE: Chris, the campaign – yes, the campaign has made it very clear, that, you know, a clear – a clear outcome obviously both sides will accept. But I think both campaigns have also been very clear that, you know, in the event of disputed results, they reserve all legal rights and remedies …
Trump has repeatedly told supporters that they should monitor polling cites in “certain places” and “inner cities” to prevent voter fraud and a distorted election result. And he has publicly declined to say that he will accept the election result, no matter the outcome. Trump has said these things so often that the Democratic National Committee filed suit in four states – Arizona, North Carolina, Nevada and Pennsylvania – against Trump and the Republican National Committee. The suits claim that Trump, the party and, in at least one case, Trump adviser and Republican operative Roger Stone are making preparations to engage in a “coordinated campaign of vigilante voter intimidation.”
In the past few days, federal courts in Ohio and Nevada ruled against the Democrats, saying that evidence of voter intimidation did not exist. A federal judge in Arizona reached a slightly different conclusion, saying the Democrats had not provided sufficient evidence of “intimidation, threat, coercion or force against voters for voting or attempting to vote” to justify an injunction barring polling site monitoring or other election security measures, the Arizona Republic reported. However, the judge also said that the Democrats showed sufficient proof that if these activities occurred, they would cause “irreparable injury” and violate the Voting Rights Act.
On Friday, a New Jersey federal judge grilled Republican Party officials about public comments made by their party colleagues on the risk of voter fraud, the Wall Street Journal reported. That court first issued an order in the 1980s forbidding the Republican National Committee from engaging in activities that might suppress the vote.” The order has remained in place because of Republican activities across the country in the 1990s and 2000s but is set to expire in the absence of continued voter-suppression activity. On Saturday, that judge also ruled against the Democrats.
However, voting rights advocates insist that a spate of voting site closures and moves, voting policy changes and decisions about voter registrations and voter-roll purges threaten to disproportionately affect the ability of voters of color to participate. Concerns about the potential influence of Trump’s rhetoric also remain.
When asked about the national divisions stoked by the 2016 campaign, Pence told “Fox News Sunday” that “when we see America great again, America is going to be united and we’re going to move our nation forward.”
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Janell Ross