But there’s a second, more calculating reason they’d risk their congressional majority with Trump rather than patch things up with Cruz: They’re looking farther down the road than 2016.
These people look at Trump — his cult of personality, his incredible ability to generate free media, his demagogic vulgarity — as an ephemeral once-in-a-generation phenomenon, a “black swan” event. They suspect that, while Trump will lose and it will go hard for the Republican Party in the short run with his downfall, this is as survivable as the losses of 2006 and 2008 were.
What is not survivable (for them, at least) is a Cruz victory in the primary. Because Cruz is not ephemeral — he will be in the Senate for as long as he wishes to be — and there many out there who might seek to follow in his footsteps.
If a man like Cruz can elevate himself to the Republican nomination (and maybe even the presidency) by sweeping into Washington and playing on the resentments of the base by cynically tearing his party and his colleagues down to raise his own profile, then it will happen again.