Restoring the Guardrails of Democracy: Team Libertarian
As has been noted, several incentives, some of them distinctly contemporary, can encourage non-concession. Especially in a high-visibility race, refusal to concede can rally supporters’ morale and help turn a transient contest for electoral office into a permanent “campaign”; hold onto news media attention that might otherwise dissipate; reinforce an image as one “who fights”; and, not incidentally, pull in what can be quite a rewarding flow of small-dollar donations. All this is on top of the natural human psychological reasons not to concede. To be sure, there is always a contrary incentive to appear reasonable in the eyes of an imagined impartial observer. But if nearly everyone paying attention to politics has turned into a partisan, that may not count for much.
Many of these problems are beyond the reach of policy as such. But states often do structure financial incentives so as to influence the choice, as with rules providing that candidates must put up the cost of recounts when the reported margin of victory exceeds a stated margin.