The Super Tuesday results are in. The votes are counted and the delegates awarded. Donald Trump has established himself as the clear front runner in a field of five. It’s a tenuous position none the less still garnering only thirty to forty percent of the vote with high unfavorable marks outside his supporters. Polls consistently show he would lose in a general election against Hillary Clinton. What’s the republican party to do?
As said by a famous (or infamous depending on viewpoint) president “It’s time to eat your peas”.
As I see it republicans have three possible routes forward. They could stay the course accepting that Donald Trump will most likely be the republican nominee. Many have said they would rather have him than Cruz. As great their dislike for Cruz I find that hard to believe. If they think they are going to be able to keep Trump reigned in as president they are in for a surprise. Trump is Trump and he will do what he wants to do. That could easily damage the party for decades.
They can also stay the course and attempt to manipulate the primary outcomes in a manner that leads to nobody winning enough delegates to claim the nomination. That would trigger a brokered convention where they could most likely install the party favorite. That wouldn’t even necessarilly be Rubio. It could be anyone the party feels should run. This would be a risky venture due to leaving many disenchanted voters feeling the party is not listening to their what now is a demand for a change. I believe this is their course of choice and the only reason for two candidates that didn’t break single digits in any state still being there. Either to hold out for the convention or to simply siphon off as many available delegates as they can get. It’s also evident from the republican party establishment endorsements Trump is getting. In what other world would that happen?
They have one final option which is the only one that can give them a chance at taking Trump out of the race without disaffecting their voter base. That would be to consolidate republicans behind one candidate and duke it out with Trump state by state. An argument can be made that Rubio could garner a wider range of support against Trump but he doesn’t have any kind of winning record up to this point and he has some support problems with the conservative base from his flirtation with the amnesty issue. Momentum and performance count. That leaves the GOP with one “Trump alternative”. Ted Cruz. With party backing and the support of the other candidates Cruz could put an end to Trumps winning campaign. Trumps support has topped out at under 40% and has actually been fading. There are plenty of delegates left in winner take all states. to put Cruz over the top. Lyndsey Graham of all people has hinted that Cruz may be their only option to stop a Trump nomination.
Whatever path they decide to take is up to them but doing nothing is not an option if avoiding a Trump nomination is the goal. It’s highly likely that a Trump presidential run will result in a Hillary Clinton inauguration in January given Trumps heavy negatives nation wide. It would be another loss for the party that lives to lose whenever the odds are in their favor. It’s theirs to lose and they will if they can.