I'm curious to see what becomes of the Republican Party after this election season.
All this talk of the party being "destroyed" is hyperbole and nonsense. It will change, but I'm not sure how or how much. (I suspect very little and mainly in terms of primaries/caucus rules. In other words, the bare minimum. I mean, how much did they change after Romney lost in 2012, even after the party leaders all loudly and boldly proclaimed that they HAD to change to compete in today's America? Almost not at all.
So what does history tell us about it?
The Democratic Party split during and after the Civil Rights Movement era, with many of its longtime supporters becoming Republicans because that party was willing to accept and even endorse their extreme views (the "Southern Strategy" of Nixon realized in full during Reagan years). So those people had a place to go when the Democratic Party no longer suited them.
But who will leave the GOP if it splits this fall--the Trump crowd or the Establishment crowd-- and where will they go?
The GOP was ideally situated to take in all those disaffected conservative former Dems in the 1960s-80s. But there's no obvious destination like that available for either half of the current GOP. Will one side or the other form a third party? Or will they both keep trying to control the party and put it into perpetual civil war, like the northern vs southern Dems prior to the actual Civil War?
I'm betting on the latter, because (as these endorsements of Trump and Cruz by Establishment Republicans is showing us) the alternative is to willingly forfeit power to the other party, and that is the one thing they will never ever do. Even at the cost of their own integrity.