WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Donald Trump surprised many democrats and republicans alike during the final presidential debate when he declined to say he would accept the results of the election should he lose.
"I will look at it at the time," the republican nominee said. "I'm not looking at anything now, I'll look at it at the time.
Georgetown Law Professor Paul Rothstein says if Clinton wins by a large margin, it doesn't matter whether or not Trump accepts the results. A candidate does not need to concede an election for it to be valid.
Still, Rothstein says, if it's close, Trump has two legal avenues to challenge.
Trump would not be able to challenge the entire national election as a whole; he would have to specifically chose a state to focus on. His first option would be to choose a battleground state that could tip the election due to its number of electoral votes. The race would have to be extremely close and thus Trump could challenge the results of that specific state. The other option would be for Trump to find wrongdoing in the election process. Again, it would have to be state specific.
"If the election were very close in that state, and there were something wrong with the way the election was conducted in that state, that could tip the election," Rothstein said.
Still, Rothstein believes a challenge to the process is Trump's best option.
"That is a path that I see he might take, but it requires things lining up very close in the whole election."
It's unlikely the stars will align for Trump to mount a challenge of this magnitude, but it did happen just 16 years ago during the Bush vs. Gore 2000 election. That challenge was eventually decided by the Supreme Court. Though Bush vs. Gore paved the way for a potential similar challenge for Trump, the Court specifically stated during the case that it was not setting precedent and the decision only applied to the specific case.