Despite all the forces arrayed against Mr. Trump, the interviews show, the party has been gripped by a nearly incapacitating leadership vacuum and a paralytic sense of indecision and despair, as he has won smashing victories in South Carolina and Nevada. Donors have dreaded the consequences of clashing with Mr. Trump directly. Elected officials have balked at attacking him out of concern that they might unintentionally fuel his populist revolt. And Republicans have lacked someone from outside the presidential race who could help set the terms of debate from afar.I have several doubts about that last paragraph. There's nothing especially dangerous to the party in making Trump the nominee. If anything, it strengthens the GOP by keeping the rabid ID of conservative reaction under the party's umbrella and therefore under the control of the "Republican establishment."
The endorsement by Mr. Christie, a not unblemished but still highly regarded figure within the party’s elite — he is a former chairman of the Republican Governors Association — landed Friday with crippling force. It was by far the most important defection to Mr. Trump’s insurgency: Mr. Christie may give cover to other Republicans tempted to join Mr. Trump rather than trying to beat him. Not just the Stop Trump forces seemed in peril, but also the traditional party establishment itself.
Should Mr. Trump clinch the presidential nomination, it would represent a rout of historic proportions for the institutional Republican Party, and could set off an internal rift unseen in either party for a half-century, since white Southerners abandoned the Democratic Party en masse during the civil rights movement.
Trump, himself, is not the sort of transformative figure who could actually threaten the power structure. He's just a con man with no coherent program or ideology. Even if he gets elected, he's going to need some people ("Good People. The Best People. Really Classy People") to do the actual governing. Such people will be the same cast of characters any Republican President (or Hillary Clinton) would turn to. The sooner the Republican "insiders" come to terms with that the better off they'll be.
But if it turns out they still absolutely can't stand the thought of Trump being the nominee, then they won't nominate him. I'm sure they're fully stupid and/or arrogant enough to nullify the result of the primary process at the convention if need be. It's really as simple at that.
In a way, it would fit them to do so. There are little revolts going on in both parties right now. The Democrats are putting theirs down by having the "Grown Up" faction drown out the complaints of the poors in an avalanche of smarm. The Republicans will likely do something more obviously authoritarian to dispense with theirs. Either way, the money power comes out on top no matter what.
Because, as Jeb Bush might say, America.