Even though Jonathan Tobin quite rightly disavows calling any of the candidates moderate (they are not, though Graham, Kasich, and Christie get closest,) he makes the single most cogent point I’ve heard yet about the GOP primary:
The math is unavoidable. If Christie is competing with Rubio on an even playing field after New Hampshire and Bush is still in denial about his failed candidacy and hoping to revive it in Florida, none of them are going to be able to stop either Trump or Cruz.
That means one of two things. Either Trump gets the nom because his opponents have hopelessly split the competition, or there is a brokered convention where the GOP pulls everyone together in a desperate Hail Mary last-stand to stop Trump, with everyone throwing their support behind the GOP runner polling best with the general electorate.
Pulling off the latter scenario in a smoky room full of egos and power brokers is going to be hard enough. This is not 1952. Appeals for party unity fall on deaf ears in a roomful of megalomaniacs who are so close to the Big Chair in the Oval Office that they can smell the fine Corinthian leather. It can be even tougher to pull off on the floor where the battle is not among eight candidates and their organizations, but with every single delegate whose vote could make a difference. And then watch the deal machine go into motion.
Even if that feat of political legerdemain comes off, The Donald will likely not go gently. Bet on an independent campaign that will split the vote on the right just enough to allow a second Clinton to slide into the White House, possibly even with Bernie Sanders as VP.
Hillary and her team have to know that if they can avoid any egregious mistakes between now and the Republican National Convention, they are 90% of the way home. Indeed, I would not be surprised if the deal to solidify unity for the Dems wasn’t already sealed. Because at this point, the course of the election seems painfully clear.