Democrats and journalists — and some establishment Republicans — are demanding that President Donald Trump concede the 2020 presidential election before all the votes are counted, and before recounts and court challenges have taken place.
The standard that Democrats demanded until recently, however, was that every vote be counted first.
In 2004, then-Sen. John Edwards (D-NC), who was the running mate for Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), appeared on Election Night to promise supporters in Boston, Massachusetts, that the campaign would not concede until it had fought for every vote to be counted:
It’s been a long night. But we’ve waited four years for this victory. We can wait one more night.
Tonight, John [Kerry] and I are so proud of all of you who are here with us, and all of you across the country who have stood with us in this campaign. John Kerry and I made a promise to the American people: that in this election, every vote would count, and every vote would be counted.
Tonight, we are keeping our word and we will fight for every vote. You deserve no less. Thank you!
The context for Edwards’s pledge was the idea that Florida’s result in 2000 had been declared before every vote had been counted. (In the end, had every vote in the state been recounted, Bush likely would have won, depending on the standard.)
Nevertheless, “count every vote” became a rallying cry for Democrats — until the 2008 primary, when Democrats discounted some votes in states that had moved their primary elections earlier. In the end, party leaders cut a deal to award delegates in a way that meant Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) received delegates in Michigan, where he had not actually competed for votes.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.