All of the media reaction to Wednesday night’s third and final presidential debate focused on one surreal and disturbing moment. Within minutes of the close, the Associated Press moved a story with this extraordinary lede:
Threatening to upend a fundamental pillar of American democracy, Donald Trump refused to say in debate that he will accept the results of next month’s election if he loses to Hillary Clinton. The Democratic nominee declared Trump’s resistance “horrifying.”
The homepage newspaper headlines this morning amplify on that theme. The New York Times: “Trump Won’t Say if He Will Accept Election Results.” The Washington Post: “Trump refuses to say whether he’ll accept election results.” The Wall Street Journal: “Trump Won’t Commit to Accepting Vote if He Loses.”
I want to offer a couple of points about Trump’s deeply transgressive act.