If it was any other year, the primary would be over. And Drudge has already called the race, announcing Trump's victory with a headline reading simply "the nominee." Perhaps more importantly, Trump has shown a remarkable ability to bring in new voters, dramatically increasing turnout in the GOP primaries, a formidable asset in a presumed general election contest against a weak Hillary Clinton.
If the GOP actually wanted to win, they would climb aboard the Trump Train and start gearing up to defeat Hillary. And conservatives should be delighted with the triumph of candidate who has strong positions on guns, immigration, taxes (from a conservative standpoint) and a host of other issues. Trump also has the unique ability to shift the Overton Window in a conservative direction.
But incredibly, the Beltway Right seems to have made the deliberate choice that they would rather lose if the alternative is winning with Donald J. Trump. The panic is palpable and real. Jonah Goldberg is musing about a Rubio-Cruz ticket as a way to "stop Trump" [A Rubio-Cruz ticket may be the only way to stop Donald Trump, Los Angeles Times, February 23, 2016] There's even talk of a third party run against Trump. So much for the party loyalty we hear so much about [Will conservatives mount a third party challenge if Trump is the nominee? by Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, February 24, 2016]
Naturally, this is proof of what immigration patriots have contended all along, as it shows the Beltway Right does not regard immigration as an important issue. Because Trump cannot fully be controlled when it comes to economic policy and a neoconservative foreign policy, Conservatism Inc. is willing to blow up the GOP.
They may yet succeed. As a natural pessimist, here's how I see the problem for Trump. While he is leading in most Super Tuesday polls, it is not by large margins. This isn't New Hampshire or Nevada, where he is cruising into the election with a huge lead. What's more, as in Nevada, late breaking voters tend to go for Rubio. And Rubio is clearly being promoted as the choice of both Conservatism Inc. and the Establishment, even though he would most likely lose politely to Hillary Clinton in the general election.
Tonight, there will be a GOP town hall with Megyn Kelly which Trump will not be attending. All the other candidates can pile on him and there will be more talk about how he's "afraid" of Megyn Kelly. After that, there is another Republican debate on Thursday.
Look for a Rubio-Trump showdown. If Trump is able to stump Rubio, or if the Rubiobot breaks down again and starts gibbering its programing, Trump can "put this away," as he has bragged. However, if Cruz or Rubio get the better of Trump in an exchange, they'll be a whole weekend of hostile media coverage directed against Trump.
Cruz maintains the lead in delegate rich Texas and was just endorsed by the Governor. While Cruz is on the ropes, he'll continue to draw the votes of immigration patriots in Texas and other Southern states, creating the horrifying possibility Rubio could sneak through.
The Main Stream Media wants a horserace. They are heavily invested in a Rubio comeback narrative. Trump is under attack from all sides. Thursday's debate will be critical.