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Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump is seen during his presidential town hall debate against Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in St. Louis, Missouri, on Sunday.JIM YOUNG/Reuters

Every barrel has a bottom. Or at least we thought so, until Donald Trump demonstrated otherwise.

Here is a man who boasted of forcing himself on women and that he got away with it because he is a television star.

Here is a man who attacks politicians for saying one thing in private and another in public, but who wants his claim of having sexually assaulted women written off as "locker-room talk."

Here is a man who, after fellow Republicans announced they cannot endorse a candidate who boasts of criminal activity, celebrated the disintegration of the party that nominated him. "It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to," he tweeted on Tuesday.

Here is a man who believes that honesty, fairness, tolerance, collaboration and respect are "shackles." That laws are shackles. That facts are shackles.

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Here is a man who says that, as president, he would ask his attorney-general to prosecute Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent – an act that would be an abuse of the powers of the Oval Office.

Can he really be serious? Is he putting us on?

Let's agree that politicians aren't perfect. That they say things in private that don't match their public statements. That sometimes they outright lie or do stupid things that call their judgment into question. There is no shortage of scandal in politics.

But let's also agree that people go into politics with good intentions. That they want to help others less well off than themselves and improve the world. That they see public service as a virtue in itself.

They don't go into politics thinking it is a rigged game, and that power only goes to those who play the dirtiest hand. They don't presume every politician is Macbeth, or Frank Underwood, and are only in it for themselves.

But Donald Trump does. He crows that American politics is a rigged, dirty, vengeful business, and that he is the perfect person to run such an enterprise. As proof he points to his success at gaming the tax system for personal profit. He is a caricature of the dark side of politics who dismisses the possibility that politicians are compassionate, hard-working, decent people.

And there is no limit to how low he will go to prove he is right.

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