Donald Trump's supporters view him as a hero, and Trump himself recently expressed admiration for Purple Heart awards -- one was even recently given to him. But there is a way Trump can actually earn a Purple Heart of sorts -- a "political" Purple Heart -- if he acts quickly.
And it could save his reputation at the same time.
Let's start with the reality of the polls -- they have swung dramatically against Trump in the last week, and there seems to be little hope of turning things around. In the end, whether Trump loses by 5%, 10% or 15% does not matter for Trump personally -- but it will matter to the Republican Party and the country.
Even if Trump loses by "only" 5% (unlikely), he will forever be viewed as the villain by his supporters who allowed to happen all of the things he was against -- amnesty, Islamic immigration, more government regulations, higher taxes. His candidacy would have proven completely counter-productive. Is that the way Trump would like to be remembered?
At the current pace, Trump is on track to lose close to 40 states. He may be the first Republican to lose Texas since 1976.
This is not the place to discuss the "why" behind Trump falling behind in the polls. All that matters is that the way things are going, the race is lost to the tune of a probability exceeding 90%.
Is it Trump's policies or his personality? Who cares? The only thing that matters is the bottom line: A certain loss in November, if Trump stays in the race.
Trump needs to game this out and think about where he will be two weeks from now, and two months from now. This cancer will not go into remission, and already by the end of August Trump's political future will be too painful to bear.
But there is a cure.
If Trump steps aside early enough, allowing the Republican Party to offer a new ticket, it would accomplish three things:
1. A sigh of relief. No more doom and gloom about drifting to a massive loss in November.
2. Rejuvenation and optimism. How refreshing it would be to have a candidate who looks like he (or she) could win.
3. The new GOP candidate jumping to a lead in the polls. A new GOP ticket should have a good chance of winning against Clinton, a deeply flawed candidate.
Hillary Clinton has the highest negatives of any Presidential candidate in several lifetimes -- except for Donald Trump. It should not take a rocket scientist to understand that, at this point, any Republican other than Trump has a much better shot against Clinton.
So who ought such a new Republican candidate be? Frankly, it almost doesn't matter, because anyone would be better -- but let me give you a few examples, just in case you have trouble using your imagination.
The only three candidates other than Trump who won any states in the primary were Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Marco Rubio. At this point I imagine the vast majority of the country would be happy with any combination of those three.
If you want to draw the circles a little wider, simply go to the two most recently vetted Republican ticket -- Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, whom the Republican Convention nominated in 2012. You get the point: We easily have five people who can constitute the new Republican ticket, and immediately jump to a competitive place in the polls and have a real shot of winning in November.
This scenario would mark a heroic turnaround for Trump. He would gain in stature by a grateful nation, from being the villain to becoming the hero who saved the country's political future. And he would do so in manner of true heroism -- sacrificing his personal ego for his party and society.
I was floating this idea to people in the Democrat Party circles, and the following message got back go me: "This is a nightmare scenario; need him to stay in, so he can be defeated. A swapped-in ticket could be hard to beat."
Think about that for a moment: Who desperately wants Trump to stay in the race? Clinton and her supporters. They know they have a higher chance of losing if he steps aside.
Trump's goal in getting into the race was always to gain political legitimacy, as he was mocked for being somewhat of an un-serious character.
Over the last few months, Trump brought much-overlooked issues to the forefront and became the political phenomenon of a generation -- possibly matching Ross Perot's independent 1992 run for the Presidency. But now the Trump campaign balloon is totally out of air and is about to crash in a lethal encounter with America's fruited plains on November 8.
Trump has a choice, and he has to make it soon. He can soil his reputation for the rest of history, or he can do the most heroic political maneuver in America's history -- stepping aside and allowing a fresh Republican ticket to compete and have a good shot at winning against the severely unpopular and tainted Clinton.
If Trump chooses the latter, he will have earned his place in American political history as having deserved a Political Purple Heart. And isn't that what Trump wanted all along?