Richmond Times-Dispatch

Graceful defeat no longer part of GOP playbook

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EDITOR, TIMES-DISPATCH:

The concession speech is one of the most unique aspects of the American election. William Jennings Bryan began this tradition in 1896 when he lost the presidenti­al election to William McKinley. Since then, the concession speech has been part of the American political landscape. It celebrates democracy, honors the integrity of the election and allows the country to unite under a new leader. Sadly, in this year of division, hostility and anger, this tradition seems to be on its way to the dustbin of history, much to the detriment of Americans.

As most readers would agree, President Donald Trump most likely never will concede this election. His poor-sport attitude, along with his ego, hinders his ability to congratula­te President-elect Joe Biden.

This letter, however, isn’t about Trump. I am more surprised that Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, the Republican candidate in the race for the U.S. House 7th District seat, refused to concede as well.

His social media page noted he would concede when the election ultimately was called; however, as of Wednesday, he has yet to concede like a gentleman. Unfortunat­ely, it looks like this idea of conceding now is a mere memory of a time when candidates had integrity and class. Conceding allows the candidate to thank supporters who spent hours campaignin­g, but more importantl­y, it shows that the losing candidate embodies integrity, class and a sense of moral responsibi­lity. These are qualities that we voters want to see in a candidate.

It is a shame that Freitas did not feel he needed to congratula­te his opponent or graciously concede. We need to remember that, in addition to raising our children with a sense of morals and kindness, we need to teach them that losing gracefully also is an important character trait to embody. for Americans. What it will accomplish is to cement for all time Trump’s place in history as the worst president in this country’s nearly two and a half centuries of existence.

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