In geopolitical terms the world seldom shudders, yet this week provided such a moment. When President Donald Trump classified this year's US election as "a great embarrassment" calling for its "delay" he crossed a line with chilling effect.
He had not "misspoke" for he further claimed "2020 will be the most inaccurate and fraudulent election in history".
Many have miscast Mr Trump as a blundering political neophyte bedazzled by the spotlight. His opponents have continually underestimated him, their miscalculations have driven him from strength to strength. But even someone who likes to leverage the odds to extremes of recklessness, this was a play too far.
Tampering with the most sacred right a citizen has - namely to choose their leader - will not be tolerated. The master of contrivance has trapped himself with his own artifice.
"Never in the history of the country, through wars, depressions and the Civil War, have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time, and we'll find a way to do that again this November 3," said Republican stalwart Mitch McConnell.
Former president Barack Obama was also outraged. People in power were "attacking our voting rights with surgical precision", he warned. We are living through a confusion of communicative abundance; a challenge unique to our age.
In 2016 the 'Word of the Year' Oxford English Dictionaries entry read: "Post-truth is the public burial of 'objective facts' by an avalanche of media." It was also the year President Donald Trump came to power.
Many identify him as the snowball that started the avalanche. Blizzards of "alternative facts" were sent hurling down a hill to grow and gather momentum. They could level all in their paths providing they were propelled with sufficient force.
In less than 100 days Americans will return to the polls in circumstances less favourable than Mr Trump would allow.
But democracy cannot be so brittle as to be threatened by the superpower Mr Trump undoubtedly has, to befuddle and beguile.
Original and trusted trains of thought and argument must not be so easily derailed.
Reality is only robust when truth and integrity are protected. If facts are not sacred then they can be interpreted any way you please.
They may be misinterpreted, and misrepresented without consequence.
But no office - no matter how high - comes with such a licence. The American people will not buy into the big lie that the president is being bullied.
The notion his dream of a second stint in the Oval Office is to be denied by an act of grand electoral larceny is just as risible.
Strangely, the absurdity that an administration which he himself controls is to be faulted for his fate, seems still lost on him.