Here's what Todd's crew says might happen:
Republicans face this choice 50-plus days until Iowa: Do they fight Trump? Or do they surrender? According to the Republicans who are in charge of retaining control of the House and Senate, they are looking to fight. (Cleveland, here we come?)So they're going to fight Trump all the way to the convention? That's what Todd & Co. say. They quote congressmen from the National Republican Congressional Committee making the standard argument: that Trump at the top of the ticket will cost them seats in Congress.
But wouldn't driving Trump up out of the party guarantee a loss of the presidency? Sure -- but for Republicans there might be a silver lining:
Our prediction: The Republican Party will not surrender and let Trump be its nominee without a protracted fight.... While none of these folks in charge of winning House/Senate elections want Trump at the top of the GOP ticket, many MIGHT welcome a Trump independent candidacy. Why? It might giftwrap the presidency for the Democrats, but it would potentially bring more right-leaning folks to the polls, and there aren't many three-way races down the ballot. Could a Trump indie candidacy save the Senate for the GOP? Something to ponder.Did some congressional Republicans give Todd or one of his subordinates this idea? Or did Todd and the Gang cook it up themselves? Either way, it's not crazy. Republicans are always playing a long game, and we know they'll cede an election if that seems to be their best alternative. (Remember that Joe Lieberman's GOP opponent went all but invisible during the 2006 general election campaign in Connecticut, presumably because Republicans knew their guy was certain to lose and in that case they wanted Lieberman to win.)
So if polling shows that Trump would lose the general election as a Republican and hurt Republicans downballot, would the party will find a way to kick him out at (or just before) the convention, absorb the presidential loss that seemed inevitable anyway, and hope for increased right-wing turnout? Maybe, maybe not. But that would be consistent with the right's messaging strategy for many years -- watch Fox, read right-wing websites, listen to talk radio, and you know that the conservative movement deploys crazy extremists to maintain loyalty among the angrier voters, then sends out "responsible" Republicans (on Sunday-morning talk shows, for instance) to offer a lite, non-threatening Republicanism for whoever wants that. There's a product for all market niches. So maybe that'll be the strategy in 2016.