Will You Accept the Election Results? Republicans Dodge the Question.

Less than six months out from the presidential contest, leading Republicans, including several of Donald J. Trump’s potential running mates, have refused to commit to accepting the results of the election, signaling that the party may again challenge the outcome if its candidate loses.

In a series of recent interviews, Republican officials and candidates have dodged the question, responded with nonanswers or offered clear falsehoods rather than commit to a notion that was once so uncontroversial that it was rarely discussed before an election.

The evasive answers show how the former president’s refusal to concede his defeat after the 2020 election has ruptured a tenet of American democracy — that candidates are bound by the outcome. Mr. Trump’s fellow Republicans are now emulating his hedging well in advance of any voting.

For his part, Mr. Trump has said he will abide by a fair election but has also suggested that he already considers the election unfair. Mr. Trump frequently refers to the federal and state charges he is facing as “election interference.” He has refused to rule out the possibility of another riot from his supporters if he loses again.

“If we don’t win, you know, it depends,” Mr. Trump said last month when asked by Time magazine about the prospect of political violence. “It always depends on the fairness of an election.”

When asked about Mr. Trump’s comments, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, one of the contenders to become Mr. Trump’s running mate, repeatedly evaded the question during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Here is how he and other Republicans have handled questions about challenging the outcome of the next election:

Senator Tim Scott

Mr. Scott voted in the Senate to certify the 2020 election and said during a Republican presidential primary debate in August that former Vice President Mike Pence was correct to certify the results on Jan. 6, 2021. “Absolutely, he did the right thing,” Mr. Scott said.

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