A concession speech is a speech which is made by a politician after it becomes evident that he or she has lost an election. The content of a concession speech can sometimes be very interesting or revealing, especially in the case of concession speeches made during a region-by-region primary, in which case the politician typically concedes a single election without giving up on the nomination. Transcripts and video of concession speeches are generally available on major news networks.
The concession speech is considered a professional courtesy, with a losing politician graciously acknowledging the loss and congratulating the winner and his or her campaign. In addition, politicians often use concession speeches as an opportunity to thank their supporters for their hard work. Concession speeches typically occur late in the night on election day, as politicians want to wait for election results to be confirmed before they concede the election.
In a few notable cases, election results have taken some time to process, resulting in a period of uncertainty for the politicians involved in these races. In some instances, a politician who suspects that he or she may lose may choose to concede before all the results are ratified in an attempt to bring the period of limbo to an end, although the ballots will continue to be processed by the agency which handles election results. In rare cases, a politician concedes and later wins the election, thanks to the involved ballot counting process.
If a politician intends to run again at some point, a concession speech will typically indicate that he or she remains committed to the cause and that while victory may have evaded the politician on this occasion, it is possible in the future. In these instances, supporters will be encouraged to continue supporting the politician and her or her campaigns, with reminders that financial donations, canvassing, and other advocacy work are still very important. In the case of a politician who will not run again, supporters are thanked for their work, and the politician may endorse a successor.
In primary elections, concession speeches are often topics of intense analysis and discussion. They can also indicate shifts in campaign strategy, as candidates try to figure out why they lost particular regional primaries and attempt to avoid such losses in the future. When politicians drop out of the race, supporters tend to eagerly await the endorsement of another candidate from the party during a concession speech, and the lack of such an endorsement is generally viewed as impolite.