“The election is absolutely being rigged,” said Republican candidate Donald Trump, speaking last week on the presidential vote, which is to take place in 22 days’ time.

Despite living in a parallel universe, where facts and reality count for almost nothing, New York’s biggest clown is surely beginning to suspect that he won’t be elected as president on Nov. 8 and that he’ll lose out to opponent Hillary Clinton. And so, like the spoiled big kid he is, he’s appealing to cheating, global conspiracy, financial advantage, media favoritism, and even foul play within the voting process.

If we are to believe Trump, on Nov. 8, ballot papers will be incorrectly counted, transforming (in his eyes) a winner into a loser. This fantastical accusation is the result of a sick mind, someone who regards being defeated by a woman as humiliating, and who’ll throw a spanner in the works if he doesn’t get what he wants.

Despite a pitiful state of democracy in the U.S., where the running of the electoral system – since the beginning of the primaries to the upcoming presidential vote – has become nonsensical, unstable and outdated, we’d still like to believe in its ability to correctly count ballot papers on election day.

(Just as long as the vote isn’t too tight, mind you! Bitter memories of Florida in 2000, and even Ohio in 2004, cast scope for doubt nevertheless.)

Clinton may epitomize the more unpopular side of government, have considerable baggage of her own and inspire negativity among the majority of voters, but this is nothing next to Trump’s unbelievable comedy of errors and total disregard for rules, which we have witnessed over the past 16 months. Consequently, Hillary’s election should be obvious, a default victory, if for a lack of positive reasons.

Throughout his extraordinary ride, beginning in June 2015, Donald Trump has continually pushed the boundaries of the possible, of the conceivable, and of basic decency.

They said he’d fail at day one of the primaries, when “real politics” would reestablish its authority. Then halfway through, when the “clowns” would finally be eliminated from the running. What about after his outrageous digs against immigrants, Hispanics and disabled people… surely it would all come crashing down then?

And yet, we had to give in to the evidence: Yes, this man who had trampled over every single one of the rules was getting ready to become the Republican Party’s presidential candidate.

The exploitative multimillionaire recovered and fronted the (very real) rebellion of many ordinary Americans against the government, denounced media bias (which is certainly up for discussion) and foregrounded protectionist positions (much like the Democrats). Through doing so, this conceited, ignorant, fraudulent, misogynistic and violent attention-seeker came to represent something important, even authentic – even if this was accompanied by, as is now clear to see, a certain deconstruction of democratic order.

Perhaps now we’ll reassure ourselves with the thought that, when all is said and done, this ridiculous situation will surely fail the final test: November’s general election. Following accusations of sexual harassment and maybe even rape, alongside the release of condemning voice recordings, it may be safe to say that it’s all over – Trump will be defeated. Hence the crippling anger fueled by his latest insults, including those made against his own party. Hence the mobilization of women and, ultimately, of the female vote after a recording of Trump aboard a coach making misogynistic and pornographic statements was broadcast 10 days ago.

What remains extraordinary is the fact that a candidate like this can expect – and he most certainly will expect – something in the area of 50 million votes this coming Nov. 8; in other words, 40 percent of the vote. More extraordinary still is the fact that, after everything, Trump will probably still receive an absolute majority of the male vote. It will be, therefore, all down to the female vote to reverse the trend and carry Hillary through!

Which, in itself, is truly appalling in 2016 for a country that is so fond of setting a democratic example for the rest of the world.