The Republican establishment — major office holders, donors, business supporters and advisers — now realize that Trump won’t disappear anytime soon, and that he is likely hurting the party’s prospects in 2016. With the establishment increasingly eager for Trump’s demise, four potential routes to achieving it have emerged:
PATIENCE. This is the path advised by those convinced that Trump will eventually do himself in. They believe that the accumulation of controversial and offensive comments, along with Trump’s lack of a coherent agenda, will gradually sink in with voters. In this view, Trump is like a boxer who absorbs body blows in the early rounds, seemingly to no effect, only to reveal later how devastating the toll has been.
STACK THE DECK. Republicans in South Carolina are requiring that, for candidates to qualify for the state’s important early primary, they must pledge to support the eventual party nominee and not run as an independent. Other state Republican parties are considering a similar move. This is aimed squarely at making the primaries difficult for Trump.