Mark Cuban Says Donald Trump Shouldn't Be Able To Get Away With Posing This Threat To Democracy

Speaking from the spin room in Las Vegas following the third and final presidential debate, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban warned that Donald Trump's unwillingness to accept election results could threaten American democracy. Cuban, a vocal Trump critic, attended the final presidential debate of the election season on Wednesday as a guest of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign.

"I think it's about American democracy," Cuban tells Bustle of his disagreeing with Trump's threat to not accept the election outcome. "I mean, my 7-year-olds have asked, 'what is it that makes us special? What is it that has made this country unique and has stood the test of time for 240 years?' I said you can trust in the democratic process, you can trust our elections and to have him question that...," Cuban trailed off while shaking his head.

The fact that a presidential candidate is being asked, in all seriousness, if they will accept the election's result represents a highly unprecedented moment in American politics. Trump's teasing answer, however, takes things to an even more bizarre level.

"I will tell you at the time," Trump told debate moderator Chris Wallace when asked if he would accept the outcome of the election should Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton come out on top Nov. 8. "I'll keep you in suspense. OK?" Trump might as well have just said, "Tune in Nov. 9 to see if I bow to the will of the American people or not!"

Trump's continued accusations of a rigged election proved to be a hot topic for Cuban throughout the night. In a pre-debate interview with MSNBC, the businessman theorized that GOP nominee was being encouraged to renew his "rigged" conspiracy claims by Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon, a former executive chairman of Breitbart's parent company. "I think he's the puppet," Cuban said, referring to Trump. "Steve Bannon is playing the strings, because if you think about all of these conspiracy theories, who does it benefit? There's absolutely nothing that benefits Donald Trump by any of those comments." Cuban went on to argue Trump's rhetoric was a Breitbart marketing ploy.

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Like Clinton, who called Trump's response "horrifying" and accused him of "denigrating" our democracy, Cuban also expressed a concern for how Trump's continued questioning of the legitimacy of the election will affect American democracy down the line. Cuban also questioned why some American voters have been so quick to accept and echo Trump's accusations the presidential election is "rigged."

"I'll repeat what I said earlier, imagine if Vladimir Putin had said the same thing," Cuban tells Bustle. "Imagine if he said 'you cannot trust the outcome of the American presidential election, it could be rigged.' How would we as the American people respond to that? The entire country would be in an uproar and yet we allow Donald Trump to say it."

Additional reporting by Emily Shire