A startling break with American democratic tradition

Oct 20, 2016

So you made it through another debate, and you’re wondering if anything stood out that might keep us talking up until and through Nov. 8.

Of course! And that shouldn't surprise you. This is the 2016 presidential election.

Trump won’t commit to accepting election results if he loses. Judging by the general conversation among journalists and seeing how much coverage this part of the debate is getting this morning, it’s a big deal.

How big? Beth Reinhard and Michelle Hackman at The Wall Street Journal say some undecided voters turn on Donald Trump over ‘rigged’ claims. “In the third and final presidential debate, Republican Donald Trump's refusal to say he would accept the results of the election was the last straw for at least some voters who had been struggling with their decision.” Tim Hanrahan tweeted: Some undecideds turn on Trump: "I just saw a constitutional crisis on television," one voter tells WSJ.

As Philip Rucker and Karen Tumulty at The Washington Post put it, “a defiant Donald Trump used the high-profile setting of the final presidential debate here Wednesday night to amplify one of the most explosive charges of his candidacy: that if he loses the election, he might consider the outcome illegitimate because the process is rigged.”

From the story: Questioned directly as to whether he would accept the outcome should Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton prevail on Nov. 8, Trump demurred. “I will keep you in suspense,” the Republican nominee said. Clinton called Trump’s answer “horrifying,” saying he was “talking down our democracy.”

Manuel Roig-Franzia tweeted "A startling break with American democratic tradition" - @jdelreal & @Fahrenthold nail it.

What’s that about tradition? On the flip side, there’s this: 1993 Letter from George H.W. Bush to Bill Clinton Resurfaces, Goes Viral. In the piece by Rachel Dicker at U.S News & World Report, we learn about/are reminded of a 1993 letter from George H.W. Bush to Bill Clinton getting renewed attention for the dignity and respect with which an outgoing president addressed his successor even after a hard-fought race. Journalist after journalist after journalist retweeted this tweet from Russell Blair of the Hartford Courant: “When Bush lost to Clinton in '92, this is how he handled it.” Hillary Clinton posted the note on her Instagram and wrote in the comments: “It moved me to tears, just like it did all those years ago. It’s the letter that President Bush left in the Oval Office for my husband, back in January of 1993. They had just fought a fierce campaign. Bill won, President Bush lost. In a democracy, that’s how it goes.”

Meanwhile, while you were watching the debate, Trump just launched Trump TV. That from Charlie Warzel over at BuzzFeed, who reports that minutes before the third and final presidential debate, Donald Trump went live on Facebook in what may have been the inaugural broadcast of a forthcoming Trump News Network. A little after 8:30, Trump's official Facebook page posted the link to the live video, offering up an alternative to the mainstream broadcast. BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith managed to sum up this story in two words: “Um guys.” Smith also pointed out a pretty interesting fact: “160,000+ people are watching the debate on Trump TV.” That's quite an impressive number for a Facebook Live, no?

Jonathan Mahler at The New York Times writes that anti-semitic posts, many from Trump supporters, are surging on Twitter. Hillary Dixler tweeted “it's unacceptable that this is happening.” How bad is it? According to the story, 2.6 million anti-Semitic messages were posted on Twitter between August 2015 and July 2016.

So who won the debate? According to a CNN / ORC poll, Hillary Clinton 52% to 39%.

In election-related news from South America, the U.S. pushed Ecuador to act against Assange, say officials. According to Ken Dilanian, William M. Arkin and Robert Windrem at NBC News, quiet pressure from the U.S. government played a role in Ecuador's decision to block Wikileaks founder Julian Assange from using the internet at Ecuador's London embassy. "It was a bit of an eviction notice," said a senior intelligence official. All of those tweets from the other day assuming someone forgot to pay the internet bill appear to be wrong.

And in other stories worthy of your time today:

• AUUUUUUGHHHHHH! Snoopy has been fired by MetLife. As Leslie Scism of The Wall Street Journal explains, the 148-year-old company first used the Peanuts' cartoon character in advertising 31 years ago as it tried to connect with U.S. consumers. John Flowers puts it in perspective: “Snoopy just got canned. So now in addition to ISIS we need to worry about attacks by the Red Baron. Thanks, MetLife.”

How Islamic State weaponized the chat app to direct attacks on the West by Stacy Meichtry and Sam Schechner at The Wall Street Journal. “Police alarmed by emergence of militants that they say are using chat apps and social media to recruit militants in Europe from abroad.”

Why we lost the Brexit vote: Behind the scenes of the flawed campaign to keep the UK in the EU by Stephan Faris at Politico Europe.

Reuters reports that Philippine President Duterte has announced 'separation' from United States. This story is still developing.

About the author

Social media and engagement/audience manager. Journalist. Mentor. Past life: Senior Social Media Manager @chicagotribune.  and 80s guy. Photographer.

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