So as of yesterday, afternoon, anyway, Ken Cuccinelli had not made the obligatory phone call to concede to Terry McAuliffe and wish him well on his stewardship of the Commonwealth, etc., etc.

Kevin Drum has a good question:

Let’s see a show of hands on this. How many people think we should do away with the whole tradition of a congratulatory phone call from the loser of a political campaign? Is it an insincere gesture that’s nonetheless useful as a public way of bearing witness to the peaceful transfer of legitimate power in a democracy and keeping up a facade of civility? Or is it just a pointless and humiliating ritual that’s long since worn out its welcome?

I suppose when you’ve implicitly been calling your opponent a godless baby-killing crook for months on end–not Satan, perhaps, but definitely one of his Infernal Minions–it’s a little ludicrous to wish him well when the perfidious bribed-and-propaganda-drenched electorate narrowly elevates him to office. But hey, even in actual wars when people are shooting at each other every day with intent to kill, there are truces. So I see nothing particularly wrong with some concession gesture that indicates Cooch will not be imminently calling on his supporters to march on Richmond and pull T-Mac off the dais at his Inauguration and beat him senseless.

What I find more objectionable is the regular phenomenon in party primary battles wherein one candidate calls the other a traitor and a whore and then nine seconds after the votes are counted, the loser is up there smilingly endorsing yesterday’s traitor/whore and in the event of final victory joining the traitor/whore’s administration. That’s not a truce; that’s a surrender that exposes everything said earlier as a cynical pack of lies.

Some degree of civility is necessary for a functioning democracy (which ours is, I suppose, albeit marginally), but it doesn’t require the kind of hypocrisy and toadying involved when a reviled foe instantly becomes “the boss.”

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.