With polls showing Hillary Clinton has opened a substantial lead over Donald Trump, the Republican nominee has responded with claims that the election is rigged and Mrs Clinton was on performance-enhancing drugs during the second debate.
The allegations, which were made without supporting evidence, came after a week of intense scrutiny of Mr Trump’s treatment of women.
He told supporters in New Hampshire that the media was promoting the accusations against him to boost his opponent and damage his campaign.
Mr Trump challenged accusations from several women that he made unwanted sexual advances toward them.
“It looks to me like a rigged election,” Mr Trump said. “The election is being rigged by corrupt media pushing completely false allegations and outright lies in an effort to elect her president.”
Mr Trump has presented no evidence for claims he has made for months that the election could be fixed to prevent him from reaching the Oval Office.
Leaders on both sides of the political spectrum worry that this rhetoric, which supporters sometimes repeat in interviews, undermines the democratic process.
He started the day tweeting several times that the election was being swayed by a media conspiracy.
This election is being rigged by the media pushing false and unsubstantiated charges, and outright lies, in order to elect Crooked Hillary!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 15, 2016
Mrs Clinton, a former US secretary of state, led Mr Trump by seven percentage points in the most recent Reuters/Ipsos national opinion poll of voters. A new analysis found she was heavily favoured to reach the 270 Electoral College votes needed to secure the presidency.
More women come forward
Meanwhile, Mr Trump has been fending off accusations of misconduct since the release of a 2005 video in which he was recorded bragging about making unwanted sexual advances toward women. He has said the boasts were merely words and he has denied each of the allegations.
The latest woman to come forward, Cathy Heller, 63, of New York, told the Guardian newspaper that in or around 1997, Mr Trump kissed her on the lips upon first meeting her during a Mother’s Day brunch at his Florida estate.
She told the newspaper she leaned away, then turned her head, and he kissed the side of her mouth. She was left “angry and shaken”, she said.
More than 20 former crew members, editors and contestants on Mr Trump’s Apprentice reality show described a pattern of crass behaviour and demeaning comments on the set.
Mr Trump repeatedly addressed women with sexist language, rated female contestants by the size of their breasts and talked about which ones he’d like to have sex with, the people told The Associated Press.
Mr Trump told the New Hampshire crowd that he and Mrs Clinton were “like athletes” gearing up for the final presidential debate on Wednesday in Las Vegas, and he implied Mrs Clinton might have been on drugs during their last match-up.
“I think we should take a drug test prior to the debate,” Mr Trump said.
“In the beginning of her last debate she was all pumped up at the beginning and at the end she was like uh, take me down.”
Mr Trump said he would be willing to take a drug test before the next debate.