A decent respect requires that we show some empathy with regard to Trump: what would he do if surveys show him losing? Since he has criticized each of many opponents and observers as "a loser," it's clear that Trump desperately wants to be seen as a perpetual winner. OK, he has filed a number of corporate bankruptcies but they were not necessarily crushing losses, except reportedly for suppliers and investors.
However, Trump hasn't suffered a spectacular, personal, high-profile loss. It is one thing to spout off to friendly or audience-seeking journalists and to arenas full of adoring followers; another, to face the prospect of a massive defeat. (And to a woman.) Let's imagine the possibility that post-bounce surveys show him losing spectacularly. What would he do?
Here are some possibilities.
He could withdraw, blaming lack of support from the party (the people who endorse but don't support),, his opponents in the primary, the media (except for Fox), some of his staff, "rigging" by evil Democrats, anybody who can be found. He could even say that he told the truth, and people couldn't handle it. Not yet.
If he pays attention to the bad news later in the campaign, when there is no time for the party to get another name on the ballot, Trump could do all of the above, plus driving up Hillary's negatives even higher, complaining about corruption. With the help of hackers and whistleblowers he might be able to reveal or at least suggest vast corruption in the workings of the Clinton Foundation and his opponent's decisions as Secretary of State. Or something.
If the surveys show a tight race, Trump might hope for an event that changes the game in his favor: a terror attack as spectacular as 9/11, something happening to Hillary, a revelation so damning to the Democrats that swing voters would hate or distrust her more than they reject him.
But in any case, we have a candidate who uses "loser" as an epithet, who bolsters his self-esteem with the claims that he's notably smart, rich, and attractive, who could not lose like such major party candidates as Stevenson, Nixon, Goldwater, Humphrey, McGovern, Ford, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, H.W. Bush, Dole, Gore, Kerry, McCain, and Romney. Trump has to win, argue convincingly that he didn't want it anyway, or blame everyone in spitting distance, arguing the system is rigged.
For someone who has grasped the uses of bankruptcy, the best way out might be a sort of political bankruptcy: the charge that he's not being given a fair chance, that just as Hillary stole the nomination of her party, he is now being robbed of a fair crack at the Oval office.
If we are called to show empathy for Trump as a possible loser, we might also ask what the GOP would do to extract itself from the mess. Assuming they don't lose control of the Senate, they could refuse to give consent to Hillary's nominations to the Supreme Court, or most of what she proposes. In short, they could treat her Presidency as Obama's third term.
Some further empathy for the GOP apparatus. How to preserve itself? Start by reflexively blaming Obama and the "liberals." Blame the concept of the winner-take-all GOP primaries. Blame Trump for being undisciplined. Blame the arrogance of some elite figures who assumed they'd always be in charge.
How could anybody persuade Trump to bow out? The prospect of losing by a landslide? A promise to put Pence in his place (rather than Ted Crux or any of the so-called "moderates")? Keeping the Trump platform? The fiction that he was mainly pressing for policy changes? Thanking him for bringing a whole new cohort to the Party? An offer to return any money Trump may have contributed?
Of course, if Michael. Moore is right, and Trump will probably win, this speculation would be moot, and we would discover not what he'd do as a losing candidate, but what he'd do as a President whose defensible program, so far, boils down to the promise to get good deals and the phrase, 'trust me." Plus the wall. Not to forget the wall.