News & Politics

Clinton Concedes: We Owe Trump 'An Open Mind and the Chance to Lead'

YouTube screenshot of Hillary Clinton's concession speech.

In a heavily emotional concession speech, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged the American people to accept the result of the presidential election and to give Donald Trump a shot at governing. Her speech could be seen as an urgent plea that her supporters do not riot and protest the election, emphasizing other ways to keep fighting for their values.

“We must accept this result and then look to the future,” Clinton declared. “Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”

The Democrat nominee urged her supporters to accept the peaceful transition of power, which America holds just as dear as the values her campaign fought for.

Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power. We don’t just respect that. We cherish it. It also enshrines the rule of law; the principle we are equal in rights and dignity, freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these values, too, and we must defend them.

Clinton told supporters to participate in government “not just every four years, but all the time,” a call for Democrats to follow the normal rules of government and try to hold Trump accountable.

So let’s do all we can to keep advancing the causes and values we all hold dear: making our economy work for everyone — not just those at the top — protecting our country, and protecting our planet.

The American dream is big enough for everyone: for people of all races and religions, for men and women, for immigrants, for LGBT people, and people with disabilities. For everyone.

One could argue this is meant to sent Trump a message: if he acts on policies which Democrats consider a threat to Mexicans, Muslims, women, immigrants, LGBT people, and those with disabilities, they will strike back.

Then again, this is Clinton acknowledging the various groups in the Democratic coalition, urging them to keep fighting for what they believe and to accept the results of the election.

The Democrat nominee also emphasized the historic nature of her campaign as the first woman nominee from a major party.

“Now, I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but some day someone will, and hopefully sooner than we might think right now,” Clinton declared. “And to all of the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”

There was a powerful irony in the Democrats’ song selection, including Demi Lovato’s “Confident.” The song asks, “What’s wrong with being confident?” Well, I think no one knows the answer to that question more than Hillary Clinton right now. Hubris hurts.

Next Page: Scripture references in Clinton’s and Kaine’s speeches, and why we doubted Clinton would concede.In both of their speeches, Clinton and her vice presidential pick Virginia Senator Tim Kaine made explicit scripture references, perhaps nodding to the fact that Christian voters swung heavily for Trump. Protestants and other Christians favored the Republican (58 percent to Clinton’s 39 percent) as did Catholics (52 percent to 45 percent). A whopping 81 percent of white evangelical Protestants backed Trump.

“You know, scripture tells us let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we shall reap,” Clinton declared, quoting Galatians 6:9. This is a particularly apt verse for a concession speech. As Clinton declared, “My friends, let us have faith in each other, let us not grow weary and lose heart for there are more seasons to come and there is more work to do.”

Kaine cited Jesus’ parable in Matthew 20, where a vineyard owner paid workers the same wage no matter how early they started working. The Virginia senator mentioned people who came late to the Clinton campaign, and thanked them just as much as those who worked on it early. This is a more vague connection to scripture, but it also arguably worked.

Kaine did say something more questionable, however. “Nobody had to wonder about Hillary Clinton, whether she would accept” the outcome of the election, he said. After campaign chairman John Podesta spoke last night, however, there were indeed doubts as to whether or not Clinton would contest the election.

She ultimately emerged as a better woman, much to the nation’s benefit, but she did leave Americans waiting into the night and even into the morning. Her concession speech, originally scheduled for 9:30 a.m., was rescheduled to 10:30 a.m., then 11:00 a.m. She only started speaking around 11:30 a.m.

Granted, this must have been a huge shock to her, and she was fighting back tears during the speech. Clinton likely expected to win, but she did indeed have a concession speech written and prepared last night.

Nevertheless, Clinton deserves credit for conceding as she did, and her speech urged her supporters to accept the election as well. As for giving Trump the chance to lead, we’ll see if other Democrats take her advice.

Watch the video on the next page.

Kaine starts speaking around 36:40, and Clinton takes the stage just after the 45 minute mark.