More Obama, less Obama, Trump: The three presidential primaries

Should he be thrown from the party, ejected by its elders, whoever they are? After all he’s not really a Republican, his views are heterodox, he won’t vow to support the party nominee in 2016, he’s only a celebrity. But the party elites don’t have the power they once had. They’ve been undone by a generation of bad leadership. They’re afraid: A monster just came out of a swamp and is lurching their way. Journalistic elites have damned Mr. Trump, to no effect except incendiary comment threads. Once they were the cops on the ideological beat; they ran that into the ground during the Bush years, using too many nightsticks.

The harder people come down on Trump, the more his supporters believe he’s the only honest one. “Entwined, entrenched interests hate him: Then I’m for him!”

Republican leaders will be patient because there’s no other choice. They can’t take him down, and even if they could they’d be damned by his embittered supporters, and Trump would run third-party. He will rise or fall depending on how he acts and speaks, what oppo comes his way, and how he responds. He has a history of falling off the edge of the knife. He will change tack or get out depending on whether he comes to believe he is hurting his brand. Republicans should argue with him on policy, take on his positions, hit him hard, often and above the belt.

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