Trump Says He Is Not Prepared to Accept the Legitimacy of November’s Election

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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

In recent days, the Republican nominee has informed his supporters that Hillary Clinton — working in co-ordination with a cabal of international bankers, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim and women pretending to be victims of sexual assault — is trying to “rig” November’s election, as part of a plot to end U.S. sovereignty and force Americans to accept open borders.

Political leaders from both sides of the aisle have argued that this may be a dangerous message for a major-party nominee to disseminate. Donald Trump’s campaign surrogates have insisted that the candidate will accept the verdict of the voters next month, and was merely voicing a critique of liberal-media bias in hyperbolic language.

But, at the final presidential debate, Trump refused to take that off-ramp.

Defending his claim that the election was “rigged,” Trump said of Clinton, “She’s guilty of a very, very serious crime … She should not be allowed to run. And just in that respect I say it’s rigged.”

Asked whether he would “absolutely accept the result of this election,” Trump replied, “What I’m saying is that I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense. Okay?”

“That’s horrifying,” Clinton replied.

Which seems like a fair adjective. Though, gobsmacking would also do.

After all, Trump didn’t say, “I don’t want to make an absolute commitment until Election Day, just in case it’s a close race and there are reported improprieties.” Rather, he said, “I’ll keep you in suspense.”

Which, is, essentially, to say, “I feel like the dramatic arc of this election would be better served if we don’t foreclose the possibility that I’ll foment insurrection on November 9.”

Trump started this election as a reality star and he will end it as one. Only, now, he’s a reality star that has the power to delegitimize the American government in the eyes of millions of U.S. citizens.

“Every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is, is rigged against him,” Clinton said at one point in the exchange. “There was even a time when he didn’t get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row and he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged.”

“Should have gotten it,” the celebrity said.