Six alternate realities that could have stopped Trump

DESTINATION: February 4, 2016
LOCATION: New York, New York
MISSION: Avert ABC’s decision to put Chris Christie in New Hampshire debate

Who would have thought that the rather last-minute decision to include Chris Christie, then dwelling at the bottom of many polls, onto the main stage of the Republican debate in New Hampshire would change history? But it did.

Countless Republicans still wonder how the primaries might have played out had Chris Christie not decided to turn Marco Rubio’s campaign into his own personal Alderaan, refusing to relent until he blew the promising Floridian’s candidacy into a billion bits over the snow-covered hills of New Hampshire. Had Christie not been on stage that night, leaving Rubio to recycle robotically his favorite clichés without incident, there’s every reason to believe that then-surging Rubio might have finished at the top of the first-in-the-nation primary. John Kasich, who absorbed a flood of panicked Rubio investors, would not have had the surprise 2nd place “victory” that fueled his campaign for months longer than it deserved, like an out-of-date Volkswagen puttering across the country on fumes. Instead, as history seemed to have intended, the Ohio governor would have joined rivals Jeb Bush and Christie in an early exit from the race, giving Rubio a chance to consolidate the establishment vote and head to South Carolina with a stronger head of steam. It was not to be, all because a few senior executives at ABC decided Chris Christie needed a break. Maybe there really was a mainstream media conspiracy to elect Trump.