How Trump could sink the Republicans

At the same time, Trump could easily turn his attention back to more business-friendly elements of conservatism, such as fighting against tax increases and regulation, which could attract wealthier suburban voters and business leaders who are uncomfortable with the social and cultural conservatism of a Ted Cruz.

Trump can also hurt the ability of Republicans to build a broader electoral base by continuing to convey the association of “conservatism” with the more radical elements of the political electorate, as he has done recently with his statements about immigration and in previous years with his support for the “birther” issue. While he wouldn’t be running as a Republican, he would bring down the brand name of the ideology the party sells.

Another problem has to do with the media. Whoever runs for the GOP will need as much media attention as they can get. For all her flaws, Hillary Clinton commands an overwhelming position in the public imagination. She is a known commodity and she is someone who has been a prominent figure in national politics for decades. To the extent that Trump takes away airtime, Republicans, who are less known in the electorate, might find themselves struggling to gain traction on television and online.