The way I see it, there are two big things that could rip the Republican party apart:
1) Trump wins the nomination
2) The Senate confirms any Obama nominee to the Supreme Court
Either, or both, sends a base into an angry spiral and they either stay home in November or they start voting for candidates outside the major parties. For myself, I could never vote for Trump and if the senate caves (again) I see no point in being part of a Republican party that refuses to fight for any issue on any ground.
I think the only way Trump wins the nomination is if the rest of the Republican field stays split. If you take last nights SC results Bush, Kasich, and Carson received 22% of the vote. Divide that evenly so that Cruz and Rubio each get 11% and Trump finishes 3rd. (Aye, I know it wouldn’t work quite like that, just making a point that Trump is far from a majority candidate and I think he would pick up a minimal number of those votes.)
Bush is already gone and Kasich and Carson will become less relevant. Its Rubio and Cruz competing over essentially the same constituency that will allow Trump to stay in the race. I would rather have Cruz – he’s the true believer. But I don’t think Rubio would disappoint us. And he probably has a slightly better chance of winning the general – though I do think Cruz would trounce Hillary.
But what do to? Neither Cruz nor Rubio is going to bow out as long as they are each neck and neck. I have never met either man, I don’t know them personally but from my vantage point it would appear that Rubio is the better retail politician and Cruz cares more about the constitution. So, they should get together, Cruz should suspend his campaign and promise to support Rubio and, in return, Rubio promises Cruz the nomination for the open Supreme Court vacancy. Rubio gets 4-8 years as president. Cruz get 30-40 years shaping the Constitution of the United States. I can’t believe that both of them wouldn’t be very happy with that arrangement.
And the 2nd problem? Well, if you dangle getting Cruz out of the senate and out his hair forever in front of McConnell, there is no way he will cave and let that vacancy be filled. Having Cruz removed from his paw will guarantee that no Obama nominee makes it through.
And the base? I can’t speak for all of us, but I would be very happy.