You mentioned that polling shows Republican voters think Trump has the best chance to win the general election while Republican elites are terrified of nominating him. Are you sure Republican voters are wrong there? I think I could make a case that Trump is a stronger general election candidate than, say, Ted Cruz.
It matters less who the nominee is now than it used to. The overwhelming majority of Republican voters will vote for the Republican nominee no matter who it is, and that’s true even if it’s Donald Trump. The dislike of Obama and Clinton and the Democrats is so strong that I don’t think you’ll see mass defections.
But I think you would see some defections, and a Donald Trump would really help with the Democrats’ task of mobilizing their base. The Latino vote would certainly be larger than it’s ever been. There’s no question Trump really scares Latinos and they despise him. There’s no other Republican candidate who attracts that kind of animus from Latinos. So I don’t see how he could win. I don’t see one state he could carry that Mitt Romney didn’t carry.