According to Steve Kerby, the sense that the nomination belongs to the real-estate mogul is grounded in the fact that “when these primaries started, though the GOP and Democrats used different rules, an implicit agreement was formed between the candidates on each side, that they'll play by those rules for the length of the primary.”
Changing the rules now would represent “a severe fraying of the mutual agreements that underlie our admittedly contorted political primary system,” he declared.
How might it undermine the American system? “American government is designed to limit the free reign of the popular will,” says a correspondent who intends to vote for Hillary Clinton. “Longer terms in the Senate, judicial review, the electoral college and federalism all keep a majority from radically changing government. The beauty of this system is that its checks and balances apply only to the results of elections, not to the range of choices offered to voters. In doing so, it deflects disappointment from popular democracy itself to leaders who over-promise.”
In this person’s view, “the idea of party grandees using little-understood maneuvers to limit the boundaries of voters' acceptable candidate choices is not so much bad because it's undemocratic (so is judicial review, after all), but because it frustrates voters who can only blame the system, not the politician. President Trump would likely face opposition in all branches of government, accomplish very little, and go down as a failure. Failed nominee Trump is also a failure and a cautionary tale for future candidates. On the other hand, stymied-by-bigwigs candidate Trump wins by losing and demagogues for years, building a coalition more distrustful of checks and balances than ever before.” In this telling, checks and balances limit the damage Trump could do in office, whereas “the risks of forcing out a fair-and-square winner are higher to the American system in general than letting him crash and burn as a candidate or an elected official.”
Jon-Erik Storm has similar concerns, writing:
...increasingly direct democracy is seen as the only legitimacy-granting way of deciding things... For that reason, I have very serious concerns about what the outcome would be if the Republican party denied Trump the nomination, not just for the Republican party, but for government altogether and America as a functioning republic. For something like that to have any legitimacy, I think Trump would have to be, as the saying goes, “caught with a dead girl or a live boy.” Unless something happens to make a measurable change in the minds of the people who voted for him, it would be seen as a theft. I don’t think you can go by polling...
Still, he has mixed feelings:
...if you’re asking what would I do if I was the 1,237th vote at the convention? I don’t know. I’d love to have a broader national debate about this to reaffirm that we are a representative democracy and that’s what got us this far. For that reason, and because I think Trump degrades us all, I would probably cast my vote against him if I were a delegate.
Matthew, an “interested observer from China,” sees Trump as an opportunity for the GOP. He writes:
Given that Hillary Clinton has made it difficult for people to trust her and has already created a strong impression of being a political elite who holds herself above rules which bind normal people, the G.O.P. has a good opportunity to win respect by subordinating their own interests to the will of the people.
Trump may not be an ideal candidate, but he still offers Republicans a chance to implement more of their agenda than a Clinton presidency would. There's a tendency to present presidents as being radically different or "transformational", but the overall direction of the country has remained remarkably immune to efforts to shift course dramatically. Trump has already pledged to nominate conservative Supreme Court justices who would help Republicans achieve their social agenda, and through the typical give-and-take of politics, a Trump presidency complemented by Republican control of the House and/or the Senate would create chances to bargain for the types of budget cuts, tax reforms, etc. that party leaders such as Paul Ryan have been seeking for years.
For Josh Hill, a Republican Party looking out for its own interests has to stick with Trump:
Picking another candidate would surely spell the beginning of the end for the Republican Party. If Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, John McCain, and even Mitt Romney continue throwing shade at Donald Trump, it will only add to the misguided belief that D.C. politicians are out to deny people access to the Democratic process. Paul Ryan cannot keep the party together based on ideals and conservative theories if he is seen as allowing the party to disregard the entire primary process. Of course, Paul Ryan has no say in the rules of the RNC, but Trump supporters don’t see it (or understand) the way our process actually operates…
As a Democrat, I would enjoy nothing more than to see Donald Trump get ignored at the convention, lose the nomination, and watch the Republican Party wash away in a giant whirlwind of idiocy. But as a pragmatist, I believe the Republican Party should stick with Trump as the nominee, suffer a few years under Hillary Clinton, and try to take back the White House in 2020. Dumping Trump would be the final straw for many voters who see Trump as an in from the outside. Also, every mainstream Republican railing against Trump risks losing their position of power if Trump ultimately wins in November, either getting dumped by Trump himself or the fed up voters they undermined at the convention.
Raj writes, “The Republican party is *never* going to get rid of Trumpism, unless he is nominated and loses.”