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Unlike many friends and colleagues, I’ve never been a Donald Trump hater. Throughout this unprecedented campaign season, I’ve even flirted with the idea of casting my vote for him. His largely self-funded campaign, outside-the-Beltway perspective and populist, country-first bent excites the Midwestern Populist in me.

But now, after lewd comments Trump made on a hot-mic recording, the time is right for Trump to give us all a reality TV-inspired say in his electoral fate: offer the American people a history-making referendum on his candidacy. A “Trumperendum,” if you will.

Despite prominent Republicans calling for him to leave the ticket, headstrong Trump vows to “never withdraw.” Win or lose, bailing out now threatens to erase Trump’s would-be vote tallies from the history books. A premature withdrawal means he notches almost no votes in his column, save for any absentee ballots. And Trump is a numbers guy, one who emphatically keeps score. After all, votes are to politics what profit is to business: an inarguable bottom line.

Trump’s promise to fight on suggests he’s either too proud, or too egotistical, to leave the race. In offering a novel solution to a thorny problem, let’s give Trump the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s pride that prevents his abdication, which would pass the nomination on to running mate Mike Pence. If it’s pride that stands between the Republican nominee and his peaceful retreat for the good of the country, the Trumperendum is a fitting solution.

Trump should offer an “American Idol”-style digital referendum on the continuance of his candidacy, letting the American people decide whether he stays or goes.

A spirited advocate of Facebook and Twitter, the Republican nominee should invite Americans to cast their lot during a designated 24-hour period between now and the next debate on Wednesday. If a majority say “no” to his continued presidential bid, it’s a win-win — even for Trump.

The first reality TV star presidential candidate in United States history, Trump will have stayed true to his roots, allowing the American people to fire (or re-hire) him. In offering a self-styled, first-of-its-kind presidential digital referendum, Trump does what Trump does best: use the power of his personality to change business as usual forever, and for the better.

Since the advent of the Internet, reformers have been calling for digital democracy via an electronic vote. This would be an historical opportunity for Trump to turn personal peccadilloes into a chance to get the deal done for the American people. If he honors the result of the vote, win or lose, he offers what few world leaders — dictator, demagogue or democratically-elected — have ever dared: a self-initiated recall vote.

Maybe such an unprecedented peace offering to party and public would become known thereafter as a “Trump Vote” — a linguistic legacy that might still be standing long after Trump Tower has fallen.

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Of course, there’s still a chance that a majority in a Trumperendum would vote for the candidate to remain in the race, either out of loyalty or a desire to prop up a weak opponent for Hillary Clinton. Either way, the digital Trumperendum is a Trump solution to a Trump problem, one that should appeal to the candidate’s innate love of showmanship and ego-centric dramatics.

If the real estate magnate secretly wishes he could abandon ship, here is convenient cover for a retreat with dignity, if such a thing is possible.

Offering the American people our first real chance at digital democracy on the presidential level could, ironically enough, be the very thing that helps Trump fulfill his most important campaign promise: to make America great again.

Zachary Michael Jack teaches in the writing and leadership, ethics, and values programs at North Central College in Naperville, Ill. He is the author of “Corn Poll: A Novel of the Iowa Caucuses.” Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions.

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