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Donald Trump, according to everybody, challenged either a pillar or a cornerstone of American Democracy at Thursday's debate when he said he'd have to think over whether he'd agree that he lost if he loses. One way or the other, the architectural metaphors are grim. Asked by moderator Chris Wallace to commit that "you will absolutely accept the result of the election," Trump didn't see why he should make any such commitment: "I will look at it at the time. I'm not looking at anything now, I'll look at it at the time. What I've seen, what I’ve seen, is so bad."

Then he was off and running with claims that "millions of people" are registered to vote who shouldn't be, and also the media is unfair, and Hillary never should have been allowed to run anyway, because email crimes.

Wallace appealed to the whole "peaceful transition of power" thing, and pressed Trump for a straight answer: "[Are] you saying you're not prepared now to commit to that principle?" Trump wasn't prepared, no way: "What I'm saying is that I will tell you at the time. I will keep you in suspense, okay?"

Hillary Clinton immediately replied that Trump's answer was "horrifying," but she was also clearly more ready for Trump to not answer the question than Trump was:

You know, every time Donald thinks things aren't going in his direction, he claims whatever it is, is rigged against him. The FBI conducted a yearlong investigation into my e-mails. They concluded there was no case. He said the FBI was rigged. He lost the Iowa caucus, he lost the Wisconsin primary, he said the Republican primary was rigged against him. Then, Trump University gets sued for fraud and racketeering. He claims the court system and the federal judge is rigged against him. 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 against him.

[Trump, interrupting: Should have gotten it.]

Not surprisingly, the reaction has been something less than positive. Editorials condemning Trump for his attack on the pillars of democracy, appeals to the peaceful transitions of power, reminders that we're not some third rate banana republic, no matter how insistent Trump may be that we're living in Democracy Hell, and many, many reminders that Al Gore stepped forward after the Supreme Court stopped the recount of votes in Florida in 2000 and congratulated George W. Bush on winning the presidency, saying that the Supreme Court had spoken, and that was that:

Let there be no doubt, while I strongly disagree with the court's decision, I accept it. I accept the finality of this outcome which will be ratified next Monday in the Electoral College. And tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession. I also accept my responsibility, which I will discharge unconditionally, to honor the new President-elect and do everything possible to help him bring Americans together in fulfillment of the great vision that our Declaration of Independence defines and that our Constitution affirms and defends.

Gracious, even though a lot of Gore supporters wanted him to keep fighting even after the Supreme Court decision.

Weirdly, some Republicans have been claiming that Trump's position is no different from Gore's: Gore contested the vote count in Florida, didn't he? Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said as much in the spin room after the debate:

You remember Al Gore in 2000? Nobody says ahead of time that they're going to contest the election, but Al Gore did.

Thing is, Gore didn't spend the month prior to the election whining that the media was out to get him (and to a degree, it was, amplifying even his factual if inelegant statements into self-aggrandizing "exaggerations." Dude really was a key player in making the Internet happen, after all). And he certainly didn't announce three weeks ahead of time that he wouldn't necessarily accept the outcome -- he only contested the results in Florida when it was clear the vote count was too close to call. And if you want to get all factual about it, Florida law mandated a recount when the results were so close, too. And most importantly, Gore never claimed the Florida election was rigged: all of the recount lawsuits were about where and how the disputed ballots should be re-tallied. So there.

Finally, for all the talk about the pillars, cornerstones, joists, walk-in closets, and messy garages of Democracy being imperiled by Trump's possible refusal to concede, it's also worth noting that if he loses the election, he's lost the election regardless of whether he admits it or not. Especially if he loses in the kind of landslide that now looks likely (although Hillary should also have a concession speech prepared, because we do not want to tempt the Wrath of the Whatever from High Atop the Thing). The states will certify the votes, the electors in each state will meet on the Monday following the second Wednesday of December and cast their votes (almost certainly in accordance with the popular vote in their states), and the President of the Senate will read the results to Congress. At no point in this process does Donald Trump have to admit he lost.

Yes, sure, he can launch lawsuits in every state where the vote is close. Which will be very expensive, and which he will almost certainly lose, because the elections are not actually rigged, and the most Trump could possibly achieve would be to drag out the process longer. Even if he gets one or more of those cases to go to the Supreme Court, we can't see him winning there, either, although with only 8 members, we suppose that could make things interesting. Then Trump can whine that the SCOTUS is rigged too, and can go on Twitter to call for a revolution like he did in 2012:

And it still won't make a goddamned bit of difference if he loses the election bigly enough. There's not going to be any revolution. Conceding the results of the election is merely a courtesy, and this is a man who has already demonstrated he doesn't give two and a half shits for courtesy anyway. And then he can be consigned to the septic tank of democracy.

Besides, this is Donald Trump: Expect him to tweet in the next day or so that he'll accept the outcome of the election, and then to insist he never said otherwise.

[Politico debate transcript / Associated Press on Twitter / American Rhetoric / Heavy / LAT]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Once upon a time... about ten years ago, a group of entirely ridiculous men burst onto the scene wearing stupid hats and telling men that wearing stupid hats and telling men that walking up to women in bars and insulting ("negging") them would get them laid. This did not last long, as women also had televisions and computers and were completely aware of these tricks as well, so when some ass came up to us in a bar and said "Hey, nice nails, are they real?" we would laugh and laugh and loudly announce "Oh my god, this guy just tried to neg me! Can you believe that shit? HEY EVERYONE, THIS GUY JUST TRIED TO NEG ME!" and then refer to him as "Mystery" the whole night.

Most of the men who tried that shit only did so a few times before realizing that it wasn't going to work, and thus moved on to other things. Perhaps things that did not involve furry hats and coming off as a huge creep. We may never know, because I would assume that those who tried it are now extremely embarrassed and would never, ever admit to this to us.

Still, there were a few men willing to eat that shit up, as well as some grifters willing to take advantage of that. Said grifters tended to be extremely misogynistic and seemed more like they were teaching men how to be as despised by women as they were than teaching them how to actually be liked by women.

Some of them, like Roosh V, a creepy weirdo who actually does live in his mom's basement, actively encouraged men to rape women who were intoxicated to the point of being obviously unable to consent.

However, even that branch of the PUA tree is wilting away. Many "self-help" style PUA forums like Nextasf and RSDnation are shutting down or have already shut down. In March, Chateau Heartiste, a batshit crazy PUA turned White Nationalist/Alt-Right blog was shut down by Wordpress. This week, rape advocate Roosh V (whom you may recall once called yours truly a "Wonkette typist/clown face, would not bang") announced that he was renouncing his PUA ways and devoting himself to Jesus. He explained to the forum he manages that he would no longer be allowing anyone to discuss premarital "fornication."

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'Baby Geniuses' star Jon Voight took to Twitter early this morning to proclaim his undying love for Donald Trump, probably because there is no one left in his life who will listen to him talk about this, or anything else, in person. In this video rant, Voight encouraged members of the Republican Party, whom he apparently thinks are the only real citizens of the United States, to stand by Donald Trump and "acknowledge the truth" that he is the best President since Abraham Lincoln.


Part ONE:

People of the Republican Party, I know you will agree with me when I say our president has our utmost respect and our love. This job is not easy. For he's battling the left and their absurd words of destruction. I've said this once and I'll say this again. That our nation has been built on the solid ground from our forefathers, and there is a moral code of duty that has been passed on from President Lincoln. I'm here today to acknowledge the truth, and I'm here today to tell you my fellow Americans that our country…

Oh no, not our absurd words of destruction!

Part DEUX:

is stronger, safer, and with more jobs because our President has made his every move correct. Don't be fooled by the political left, because we are the people of this nation that is witnessing triumph. So let us stand with our president. Let us stand up for this truth, that President Trump is the greatest president since President Lincoln.

Does Jon Voight not know there have been... other presidents? Can he name them? Because really, it does not sound like it. Does he also not know that a very big chunk of the Republican Party actually does not care very much for Abraham Lincoln? Namely those defenders of Confederate statues that Trump called "very fine people?" Also, did he intentionally diss their beloved Ronald Reagan?

Who can know? Who can even tell what he is trying to say or why he is trying to say it. He doesn't appear to have tweeted much since 2016, so I'm guessing whoever's job it was to keep him from tanking his career quit. Either that... or after filming the seventh season of Ray Donovan, he found out it's going to be canceled or his character is getting killed off or something and he is now free to be a jackass? I don't know, I haven't watched the show, although my parents are very into it and mad that I haven't watched it. Literally all I know about it is that it has something to do with Boston, because they keep mentioning that to me like it's a selling point.

It seems useless at this point to note that the people who scream their faces off about how bad it is for Hollywood celebs to support liberal causes, and how they should keep their politics to themselves, etc. etc. make a way bigger deal than normal people do whenever a Big Time Hollywood Celebrity like Jon Voight or, uh, Scott Baio, supports their cause. Mostly because they're the only ones who have elected a reality TV star and the star of Bedtime for Bonzo (who by the way, also once practically ruined a perfectly good Bette Davis movie with his bad acting. Which is not to say that Dark Victory is not fantastic and probably the best thing to watch if you want to sob your face off, but he was very bad in it.) to run the country.

But we might as well do that anyway, because it actually never stops being funny.

[Jon Voight Twitter]

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