Mitt Romney’s Loss and the Art of the Concession

Although the election was called by major news outlets shortly after 11 p.m. last night, most of us tired voters on the East Coast hung on for the extra hour and a half to see how Mitt Romney would handle his concession (especially after the candidate claimed earlier in the evening he had only prepared a victory speech). Romney’s short, 5-minute address has been hailed as classy and gracious by some and criticized as too proud by others, but regardless of differing opinions of the speech, many will agree it was not one for the history books.

In the Washington Post, political historian and author Scott Farris, an expert on the “Almost Presidents,” offers a detailed look at the many elements of the concession speech—for example, speeches usually begin by acknowledging that the American people have spoken—and where he thinks Romney fell short. Among the highlights from history’s election night losers, he cites Al Gore (2000) and George McGovern (1972) for conceding gracefully. Farris acknowledges the emotional challenge of delivering such an address, but he points out that Romney’s brief remarks left out key ideas like national healing and unity.

Farris’s analysis is more helpful in context, so we’ve posted the video of Romney’s full concession speech below. What did you think of Romney’s farewell?

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