The GOP is learning to love Trump

Which is to say that, for the establishment, this debate changed nothing. The status quo is where it was on Wednesday. Trump is still the front-runner. And judging from his dominance in the debate, he might even expand his lead. Cruz is still the next most likely choice, and if he loses support, the beneficiary isn’t Rubio—it’s Trump. It didn’t have to be this way—there was a point where mainstream Republican voices could have stopped Trump with money and effort—but now it’s too late.

Now, instead of brushing Trump aside, Republican elites are learning to love the Donald and accept him as a potential nominee, or at least a candidate they can work with. Put differently, Republicans are beginning to prepare for a world where Donald Trump, celebrity nativist, is their leader.