Last night’s final presidential debate brought the entire presidential election into full relief. The Republican candidate declared that he was not prepared to declare that he would accept the decision on Election Day of the American people, regardless of who won. (Within less than 24 hours Trump amended his remark by saying that he would promise to accept the results–if he won.) It then became apparent that many members of the party which nominated him as their presidential candidate still remained unwilling to disassociate themselves from him and his singular rejection of a cardinal principle of American democracy.
To be clear the moderator himself was so appalled by Trump’s comment—as also was evident from the ooh’s heard from the audience—that he gave Trump a second chance to catch himself and change or modify his answer; but Trump only expounded and expanded on his first answer. Spin it any way you wish and compare it to any past Trumpisms, this position was the most egregious and obvious challenge yet by Trump to democracy. It actually re-enforced the notion expressed previously that with this set of beliefs, the only thing that Trump and his supporters are missing from his campaign are SS storm troopers prepared to burn down the Congress.
There is another reality check that must be brought into focus as well. If there is to continue to be a Republican Party—as defined by the principles which have been part of the party’s forefathers –then it is time for all the party leaders to publically and unequivocally break with Trump. They cannot wait until they test the political winds or assume they can address the party’s future after the election. They must do so now and/or those who do have such conviction ought to stand up to Trump, step forward, and prepare to form a new Party.
Election 2016 is no longer strictly about Clinton versus Trump in a contest for the Presidency. This is a test for the soul of the Republic, the future of the nation, and the viability of one of the two major parties in the country.