Day 6

Why Americans would rather move on than seriously challenge a Presidential vote

The United States is once again embroiled in a Presidential recount. But despite the rhetoric, the country has a history of pulling up short when it comes to challenging the results of Presidential elections. Yale history professor Beverly Gage explains why.
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein waits to speak at a news conference in New York City. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Donald Trump's unexpected victory in the presidential race has raised questions about the electoral college, and the possibility of voter fraud in this year's election.

The results prompted Green Party candidate, Jill Stein to call for vote recounts in three states; Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

A volunteer counts presidential candidates' names during a recount in Waterford Township, Michigan. ( Rachel Woold/ Getty Images)

This isn't the first time the legitimacy of a U.S. presidency has been called into question.

But, history has shown that rather than seriously challenge the results of these elections, Americans are more willing to accept them and move on.

In 2000, then Vice President Al Gore reluctantly handed the presidency to George W. Bush, after a drawn-out recount in Florida. 

Despite the initial furor over the tightest race in U.S. election history, the American public soon settled in with the decision.

President-elect Bush meets with Vice President Al Gore in Dec. 2000 (J. Scott Applewhite/ The Associated Press)

So why might this have been the case?

According to Yale history professor Beverly Gage, it boils down to a concern for the greater good of the nation. 

"In the end, most Americans decided that it was better to have functioning institutions, to move forward with the elections," Gage told Day 6 host Brent Bambury.