If there is a Civil War II, the first verbal shot may have been fired tonight.
At the third and final presidential debate in Las Vegas Wednesday night, GOP Nominee Donald Trump refused — twice — under direct questioning by moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News — to say he would accept the decision of the American voting public on November 8.
“I will look at it at the time,” said Trump, launching into a soliloquy about how the media has it in for him and how the overall election is rigged against his campaign.
“That’s horrifying,” Clinton shot back, offering several examples of Trump blaming his personal setbacks and disappointments on others’ cheating or rigging of the events, including The Apprentice getting passed over for an Emmy.
“Should have gotten it,” Trump blurted back.
It remains to be seen how GOP leaders like Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and RNC Chairman Reince Preibus will respond to this most basic challenge to the most sacred tenent of American Democracy.
In one of the final presidential debate’s most bitter and extraordinary exchanges, the Republican nominee reiterated allegations that the race is being “rigged,” especially by the “dishonest” media.
“Millions of people that are registered to vote that shouldn’t be registered to vote,” insisted Trump, adding that Clinton “should never have been allowed to run for the presidency” because of her decision to maintain a private email server at her home while secretary of state.
Debate moderator Chris Wallace pointed out that the peaceful transition of power is a proud U.S. tradition, and that the loser concedes for the good of the country.
“Are you saying you’re not prepared now to commit to that principle?” Wallace asked.
“I’ll keep you in suspense, okay?” Trump replied.
This is just the sort of dog whistle that will attract the folks Trump called “Second Amendment people” with their “Second Amendment solutions.” No matter how large the expected Clinton victory will be two weeks from Tuesday. there will be a hardcore cadre of Trump supporters will will be more than happy to take up arms against the government that denied a small majority their desired electoral result.