Today they're finally facing the stark horror of reality. The polls were right. The Trumpolines are real people, and they vote. The party of Lincoln, Eisenhower, and Reagan is almost certainly about to nominate a fascist orangutan for the most powerful office on Earth. And there's not a damn thing they can do about it.
It's that latter point that makes yesterday's Trumpstravaganza such a delicious spectacle. There might have been light at the end of the wingnut tunnel if the results had at least crowned a single anti-Trump and pushed others to drop out. But the disorderly clutter of candidates remains as dense as ever.
Great Wingnut Hope Marco Rubio could not, and will not, recover from being batted around like a piñata by Christie during the last debate. He's doomed not only by the magnitude of his blunder but by the fact that its nature lends itself to mockery. Epithets like "Rubot", and analogies to those dolls that play back a canned phrase when you pull their string, now abound on the net. It's like the water-bottle thing but ten times worse. He ended up in an embarrassing fifth place behind Jeb Bush, for crying out loud. But he won't drop out. He still has hope that this is just a setback and he'll recover. He doesn't know he's a dead man walking.
As for Jeb!, his still-massive pile of funds, endorsements, and Bushian sense of entitlement are now bolstered by the hope of wresting the establishment-favorite spot back from Rubio. He'll stay in, despite his toxic last name and cringe-inducing campaign style.
Why would Cruz quit? He won Iowa and came third in a state demographically hostile to him, and there are fundie-rich states coming up which are much friendlier terrain. Never mind his general lack of appeal to non-fundies and the fact that his own party's leaders loathe him.
Kasich might have been on the brink of giving up, but after yesterday's second-place finish, nothing will pry him out of the race. He can, and will, claim that he should supplant both Jeb! and Rubio as the non-crazy alternative to Trump -- even though his image is far too moderate to survive the coming primaries in the South.
Christie is hinting he might drop out (a man with a mission?), but his level of support is so low that this would do little to consolidate the non-Trump vote.
And serene above the strife, in wingnut Nirvana, floats the vindicated Trump -- insults and all. He now faces a succession of states where he holds poll leads comparable to what he had in New Hampshire, with the forces opposing him in worse disarray than ever. He'll win primary after primary while the midgets squabbling around his feet tear each other to pieces.
By your fruits we shall know ye, O Republicans. For years you've cultivated a base mentality of prejudice, paranoia, and panic, and here is the result. Trump knows far better than you how to operate the clown car you've made of your party, and he's jumped in the driver's seat and sped off on a joyride in the damn thing, horn blaring and gears grinding and on the wrong side of the road, and that's the last you're going to see of it until he totals it out sometime between now and November.