Tom’s Take: Donald Trump advocates for civil disobedience during final presidential debate

Click to play video: 'Presidential debate: Donald Trump refuses to say whether he will accept the result of the election'
Presidential debate: Donald Trump refuses to say whether he will accept the result of the election
Presidential debate: Donald Trump refuses to say whether he will accept the result of the election – Oct 19, 2016

All we need to know about Wednesday night’s U.S. presidential debate is this: Donald Trump won’t accept the result of the election if he loses.

That is all sorts of new levels of crazy. Perhaps if he also agreed to reject a victory for himself, we could get somewhere. Perhaps we should join in and decide not to accept the Jays’ loss to the Indians. But as it stands, Trump is advocating for civil disobedience. He’s game to overthrow 240 years of the sublime tradition of the peaceful transfer of power. That’s not a small thing. In fact it’s a dreadful thing and it should horrify everyone.

READ MORE: Donald Trump refuses to say he’ll accept election results

You have to feel sorry for the Democratic and the Republican parties. If either of them had a better candidate this would have been an easy win. After two terms of Democratic control of the White House, it would be only natural for the Republicans to have their turn. But then along comes Donald Trump.

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The Democrats faced with Trump should have had this election in the bag months ago. But Hillary Clinton, seen as untrustworthy by a majority of Americans, just can’t find the love and is having trouble closing the deal. To paraphrase former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld though, you fight with the candidates you have. The result is not pretty.

I know that because I watched the debate with a group of people who couldn’t stop yelling at the screen. Well mainly they were yelling at Trump, although they weren’t cheering for Clinton.

The reality is that this election is over. There’s not a single poll that suggests that Trump has any hope of winning the White House. Wednesday night won’t change that, it will only reinforce it.

So what was the point of the last debate? Call it the Hail Mary option.

Both Trump and Clinton were pitching to their respective supporters. Neither was reaching out to the other side, meaning that they believe the cement is beginning to set. All that matters now is getting their supporters to actually vote.

A big turnout favours Clinton, a small turnout would be the faint hope clause for Trump. If Democrats stay at home, the battlefield is left to Trump and his supporters, who, in theory, could win some key districts. But that’s just a theory and a recurring fantasy for the Trump team. Clinton, unliked and untrusted, needed to make sure that it just remains a fantasy. Last night, she was strong enough to do just that.

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Meanwhile, Canada watched in disbelief and no small degree of discomfort. Both candidates have signalled troubled times ahead for us. A President Clinton would re-open NAFTA and reject TPP, or at least that’s what she says now. It wouldn’t be out of character for Clinton to completely reverse course on strongly held principles. A President Trump would simply and gleefully blow things up. Neither would spare much of a thought for us.

But our problems in this are miniscule compared to what awaits America. The key date may not be November 8th, election day, but rather the next day. What happens then? Civil unrest after a defeated presidential candidate calls on his millions of supporters to take revenge on an illegitimate election?

Even if that can be avoided, one of the two great political parties will have come undone, and the power and the glory of Clintonworld will go unchallenged perhaps for years.

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While it would be satisfying to say that we manned the barricades against the Trump assault on peaceful democracy, the truth is that we are on the outside, without a vote and largely without a voice in the noise that is this election. We may as well just take the dog for a walk.

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