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Finley says Trump's refusal to commit to accepting election results disqualifies him for presidency.

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Donald Trump lost it Wednesday night. Not just the presidential debate in Las Vegas. But also his mind. And any claim to be qualified to be president of the United States.

You can’t say what he said an hour and 15 minutes into the final face-off of this campaign. When he responded to moderator Chris Wallace’s question of whether he’d accept the results of the election on Nov. 8 by saying he’d have to wait and see, the campaign was over for Trump.

No one with such cavalier disregard for the Constitution and American political tradition can claim any right to sit in the White House.

He proved what his critics have been saying about him: He’s dangerous.

This nation stands on the core principle that the ballot box is the final arbiter of our elections. The voters decide, and it’s over. Everyone withdraws peacefully to fight again on the campaign trail in four more years.

That agreement is what has enabled a peaceful transition of power after every election since the Civil War.

What Trump has been suggesting over the past few weeks, that the process is rigged against him and the election might be illegitimate as a result, was fully voiced Wednesday night. And it risks splitting this nation clean apart. It is a path not just to increased political hostility but also to actual violence.

Trump’s response borders on anarchy.

Nothing else that was said during the face-off mattered. His ambivalence on this fundamental pillar of American democracy disqualified him for the presidency.

His campaign is over. Or should be.

Those hard-core Trump supporters who claim to love him because of his fealty to the Constitution cannot ignore or defend this outright affront to the values of the nation’s Founders.

Even in the bitter election of 2000, which ultimately had to be settled by the Supreme Court, a disappointed Al Gore and his supporters accepted the ultimate result and did not disrupt the ability of the new administration to govern.

Who cares who he appoints to the Supreme Court if he would destroy the nation’s foundation?

The disrespect Trump has shown to women pales in comparison to his disrespect for our legacy of orderly and civil elections.

Perhaps nothing more offensive has ever been said during a presidential campaign.

Those who believe in what America stands for cannot possibly cast a vote for this man, regardless of their political viewpoints.

What he said was unacceptable. And so is Donald Trump.

More from the debate:

Donald Trump may not accept election results

Fact check: What the candidates got wrong 

7 greatest hits of the Trump-Clinton debate

Mich. GOP leader defends Trump’s election stance

Nolan Finley’s book “A Little Red Hen: A Collection of Columns from Detroit’s Conservative Voice” is available from Amazon, iBooks, and Barnes & Noble Nook.

nfinley@detroitnews.com

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