Pundits, pollsters, reporters and donors have been racking their brains in war rooms and newsrooms from Washington to Iowa since the summer trying to understand the best way to explain and then to solve the problem of Trump. Underlying most of the scenarios gaming out the GOP primary has been the universal assumption that, if they really wanted to, the GOP “establishment” could step in and put a stop to Trump.
It’s not to say that Trump is going to win the nomination. There is plenty more action ahead, candidates to drop out and Trump stumbles to be had, but an organized campaign by the establishment isn’t likely to be his undoing.
The notion that the “establishment” or the party’s “adults” ultimately control the process has been around for a lot longer than Trump, an artifact of an older political era, when backroom deals and convention wheeling and dealing among party stalwarts would produce, often messily, a nominee. But the myth has persisted, perhaps because it rarely gets held up to much critical scrutiny in its own right.