In ancient Athens, the statesman Cleisthenes introduced a political system known as demokratia, or rule of the people. Through the centuries its most successful adherent has been the United States, a republic from Day One.

Now Donald Trump may try to change all that.

Trump is officially flirting with fascism after refusing to commit to accepting the democratic outcome of the 2016 American presidential election.

The peaceful transference of power is the very underpinning of American democracy. The American Republic is dependent on the will of the people being honored every four years. It is why America is great – no other country can match its historical commitment to democracy.

Trump just committed political suicide by undermining the very basis of our democracy.

Donald Trump suggests the election will be rigged https://t.co/Qi9kqG3TcH pic.twitter.com/z5MYsGNYP6

— The Economist (@TheEconomist) October 20, 2016

Trump scored one of the most spectacular own goals in the history of politics when a solid debate performance was ruined by his comment that he would not necessarily accept the result of the 2016 election.

We are not talking about some Third World dictatorship, where the transference of power depends on the barrel of a gun. This is America, which is great precisely because of that peaceful transference of power.

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A lot of people laughed at Trump when he announced he was running, but no one is laughing now as he displays the fascist streak exemplified by the statement that he may not support election results. His stance is not that different from a rather well-known fascist who said:

“At the risk of appearing to talk nonsense I tell you that the National Socialist movement will go on for 1,000 years! ... Don't forget how people laughed at me 15 years ago when I declared that one day I would govern Germany. They laugh now, just as foolishly, when I declare that I shall remain in power!”

That was Adolf Hitler.

One can only imagine what Abraham Lincoln, who gave his life to preserve American democracy and fought a civil war to maintain it, would think of the candidate who now represents his party.

Trump just lost, but so did American democracy https://t.co/WZ5EoGNd4X pic.twitter.com/Nd8fDAYRg5

— HuffPost Politics (@HuffPostPol) October 20, 2016

Trump is in the same league as Adolf Hitler, who initiated a beer hall putsch in Munich in 1923 in a vain bid to take power outside of the ballot box knowing he could not win.

The very definition of fascism is a “way of organizing a society in which a government ruled by a dictator controls the lives of the people and in which people are not allowed to disagree with the government.”

Now we know why Trump appears to have the hots for Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin, who are effectively dictators in their own countries.

Hillary Clinton says Donald Trump would be Putin's "puppet" https://t.co/t3tad8FJ3t pic.twitter.com/sf4D7xBdu8

— CNN (@CNN) October 20, 2016

Donald Trump’s heroes are not Washington or Jefferson but tin pot dictators in Russia and Syria which makes it no surprise that he will not accept the election result.

Republican senator Lindsey Graham quickly hit back. “If he loses it is not because the system is rigged but because he lost the election,” he wrote.

There have been two disputed elections in my time. In 1960 Richard Nixon may have had a case that fraud in Chicago cost him the election against Kennedy. Nixon was urged to contest the result, but to his eternal credit refused to fearing he would deeply damage democracy.

Donald Trump is now running against American democracy itself. https://t.co/YBwF7y66VL pic.twitter.com/fetUDwTo2h

— Slate (@Slate) October 20, 2016

Likewise, due to confusing ballot papers in Florida, Al Gore lost a squeaker to George W. Bush in 2000, even though he won the popular vote by 500,000 and the Supreme Court issued a bizarre ruling that their decision to award the election to Bush could never be replicated in any political contest again. Gore conceded despite all the questions swirling around the decision.

Trump is deluding himself if thinks he will be in a squeaker in this election, which makes the concept of voter fraud moot. Hillary will likely win by a few million votes.

He now may be lucky to finish over the 40 percent mark, lowest total since Barry Goldwater.

It is antics like last night that will ensure his disastrous defeat.

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Amazingly, just a few weeks back, he was neck and neck before hiring the Breitbart heavy gang whose advice to go low has been disastrous.

Hillary Clinton was never a shoo-in this race, based on the desire for an outsider among the electorate, but she has been blessed with a dreadful opponent. Trump has now taken another step into the muck and mire by refusing to commit to accepting the election results.

This guy is not only a fascist, he’s as dumb as rocks as well.

#debatenight | Trump's '#BadHombres' and '#NastyWoman' remarks stoke online outrage #debate https://t.co/e96iZw1zk2 pic.twitter.com/yyfbvRi5h6

— NDTV (@ndtv) October 20, 2016

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Donald Trump is now fighting democracy. YouTube