GOP congressmen worry about Trump or Cruz at the top of the ticket this year

Our sense is that giv­en Trump’s deep un­pop­ular­ity with the lar­ger elect­or­ate, he would be­come his own ra­dio­act­ive is­land, and GOP can­did­ates in swing states and dis­tricts would have no choice but to re­fuse to en­dorse him and run for cov­er. However, it’s pos­sible that Trump is so over-the-top in his an­tipolit­ic­al celebrity and his re­jec­tion of party etiquette that voters wouldn’t even draw a con­nec­tion between him and their loc­al, run-of-the-mill GOP mem­ber.

Few­er voters out­side the GOP primary elect­or­ate have fully-formed opin­ions of Cruz at this point, but our hunch is that many of the same swing-dis­trict Re­pub­lic­ans would also need to re­nounce him to sur­vive. Demo­crats are eager to define Cruz as a ri­gid ideo­logue who has en­thu­si­ast­ic­ally taken po­s­i­tions well out­side the main­stream, serving as an ar­chi­tect of the GOP’s 2013 gov­ern­ment shut­down and sup­port­ing Ken­tucky clerk Kim Dav­is’s de­fi­ance of the Su­preme Court’s rul­ing on same-sex mar­riage…

Since 1960, there have only been three elec­tions in which one can­did­ate pre­vailed by double di­gits: Lyn­don John­son beat Barry Gold­wa­ter by 22.6 per­cent in 1964, Richard Nix­on beat George McGov­ern by 23.2 per­cent in 1972, and Ron­ald Re­agan beat Wal­ter Mondale by 18.2 per­cent in 1984. Des­pite the Demo­crats’ drub­bings in the lat­ter two races, they main­tained con­trol of the House and, curi­ously, even in­creased their share of the na­tion­al House vote over the pre­vi­ous pres­id­en­tial cycle. In both 1972 and 1984, a whop­ping 44 per­cent of voters split their tick­ets between the pres­id­en­tial and con­gres­sion­al bal­lots.