Donald Trump's refusal in Wednesday night's debate to say whether he would accept the November election results if Hillary Clinton won brought widespread attacks across the political spectrum.
"It was not only a poor response, it was the wrong response," pollster John Zogby told Newsmax TV host J.D. Hayworth on the "Newsmax TV Post-Debate Special." "We have a democracy."
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Political strategist Dick Morris also told Hayworth that Trump's refusal "comes very close to challenging the Constitution" — suggesting the Republican nominee has essentially killed his chances for the White House.
"People will be very frightened about a presidential candidate that might or might not be willing to accept the results of an election," he said. "We are not a banana republic."
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In response to a question from moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News about accepting the election results, Trump said, "I will look at it at the time.
"I'm not looking at anything now. I will look at it at the time."
Trump then detailed his concerns about possible voter fraud, building on recent claims he believes that the Nov. 8 election is "rigged."
"What I've seen is so bad," Trump said at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. "First of all, the media is so dishonest and so corrupt.
"They have poisoned the minds of the voters.
"But, unfortunately for them, I think the voters are seeing through it," Trump said. "I think they're going to see through it.
"We'll find out on Nov. 8."
Clinton called Trump's response "horrifying."
"Every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is rigged against him," she added.
". . . This is a mind-set: This is how Donald thinks. And it's funny, but it's also really troubling."
However, Kellyanne Conway, Trump's campaign manager, told CNN after the debate Trump would "accept the results of the election, because he's going to win the election."
The Republican National Committee has disavowed Trump's statements about a tainted election.
At least one post-debate survey showed voters believe Trump should accept the election's outcome.
YouGov's poll of 1,503 registered voters found 68 percent said Trump should "pledge to accept the result of the election" — including 51 percent of the Republicans queried by the organization.
"You don't challenge the legitimacy of an election," Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer said after the debate. "When [Trump] did that, I think it was a terrible mistake."
Other conservatives took to Twitter to voice their outrage:
Several Democrats also chimed in:
But amid the rancor, former 2016 Republican candidate Rick Santorum posed a broader question:
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