Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

One Scary Moment It All Boiled Down to ... Democracy

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

One Scary Moment It All Boiled Down to ... Democracy

Article excerpt

OK, Donald Trump won't promise to accept the results of the election. That's truly . good grief.

"I will tell you at the time. . I'll keep you in suspense," he told Wednesday's debate moderator, Chris Wallace. The word "rigged" came up. Yow.

Hillary Clinton noted that Mr. Trump tends to presume that whenever he loses anything, the system was rigged: "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."

"I should have gotten it," Mr. Trump retorted.

This is obviously what we should have known was coming when the host of "The Celebrity Apprentice" wound up as a presidential nominee. But jeepers, people, this is serious. Mr. Trump was refusing to acknowledge it was even possible for him to lose a fair fight. At one point, he announced the election was rigged because Hillary Clinton was in it ("... based on what she did with emails.") He backed off a little bit Thursday, saying he'd accept a "clear" result.

Still, the rigged-election moment overshadowed everything else in the debate, during which Mr. Trump made strange faces while Ms. Clinton was talking but did manage to avoid going completely off the rails. Does that make him a success? We again face the problem of the very low bar. So, no.

He did manage, particularly in the early part of the debate, to ignore Ms. Clinton's effort to get his goat. When she claimed he "choked" at his meeting with the president of Mexico, he kept pretty calm. Although Mr. Trump did observe, weirdly, that when it came to immigration, under President Barack Obama "millions of people have been moved out of this country. . She doesn't want to say that, but that's what's happened . big league." Is moving people out not the whole Trump plan?

They also had a whopping argument about - guess who? Vladimir Putin! "Putin from everything I see has no respect for this person," Mr. Trump said, referring to Ms. Clinton. The fight went on for a while, until she cannily managed to divert the discussion to the possibility of placing Mr. Trump's "finger on the nuclear button."

OK, two critical takeaways. Mr. Trump won't promise to concede if he loses, and if he wins, he gets control of the nukes. These are the only things you need to think about for the next two and a half weeks.

We have been down this debate road before, and we knew before the evening started that when Mr. …

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