The New York Times, revelled,
"Can’t Fire Him: Republican Party Frets Over What to Do With Trump"
using not two but three reporters, (and of course the usual "unnamed
insiders") in what they gleefully describe as the Republicans terrible dilemma.
They paraphrased, in all but the same words, 'Newsweek's' approach to Sarah Palin "What can you do about a problem called Sarah" when that now departed magazine similarly revelled in what they saw as the GOP's dilemma at the time.
To sum up the 'Times' i.e. the Democrat's overview; Donald Trump is not subject to the usual rules of the game because he is independently wealthy and no prospect of some role in the GOP could possibly tempt him. To try and deal with this dilemma Chairman Priebus and party bigwigs met and;
"Republican leaders seem deeply torn and paralyzed by indecision. A few weeks ago, those divisions were on vivid display at a regular gathering of top Republican elected officials, strategists and the chairman of the Republican National Committee. Over dinner at the Hay-Adams Hotel opposite the White House, some argued for a swift response, fearing Mr. Trump would mar the coming Republican presidential debates with his needless provocations. Others counseled a hands-off approach, fearing attempts to rein him in would only turn him into a political martyr and, worse, tempt him toward that third-party run. No consensus was reached, and the party chairman, Reince Priebus, left with no clear directive."
Their big problems are further, if they alienate Trump he has the resources to go third-party or Independent and thus, in Perot like fashion, give the 2016 presidential election to the Democrats. If they attack him, or encourage one of the establishment candidates like Bush to, they risk alienating the "ageing White voters" who, if they sit on their hands,again, will almost certainly ensure Hillary is elected.
Clearly the base likes what they hear from Trump in these end of Obama times, and no other candidate who could credibly promote a similar message has captured their attention or imagination (Cruz languishes in the lower tier at 4% for example)
They fear that Trump's hard line on immigration will alienate Hispanic voters and Independents in an election where every vote may count post Obama.
The NYT in their hobgobling, didn't bother to consider whether the Hispanic vote, as clustered as it is in mostly safe blue electorates, would be a deciding factor, especially if Trump could get the "Perot/Reagan Democrats to the polls, as Sean Trende so well described, in the large numbers that they could potentially provide.
The point of fact is that the GOP Establishment has good cause to worry. If, indeed Trump continues to rise in the polls, especially the state polls where it counts (he is now in first place in North Carolina and second in New Hampshire) all their machinations and Jeb Bush's money will be of no avail. They can hope Trump self-destructs, although at this point it is hard to see how that could happen, he has a Biden Teflon coating for "gaffes" and a Hillary Teflon coating for "scandal."
If Trump starts to pull away and the minor player start to pull out, as they must sooner or later, the GOP Establishment has only one person that could blunt, or even halt Trump's progress-and that is, obviously, Sarah Palin.
Only Palin has the same credibility, if not more, than Trump with the base.
For the Establishment, only Palin could take enough potential support from Trump to split the primary vote to allow e.g. Jeb to do what Romney did with Gingrich and Santorum in 2012, win plurality after plurality.
Only Palin has the credibility, and the favorability factor which Trump lacks, to either stop Trump from going Independent. There is nothing he could offer that she couldn't, and he has heightened her credibility with his potential supporters by meeting with her and inviting her to another "pizza summit." It is difficult to see how an independent run against her by him could have any credibility and such a run would be seen as pure pique if it eventuated.
Reaching out to Palin, now rather than later when shutting the barn door after the horse had bolted would be otiose, is the only way to blunt, or stop Trump from either running away with the nomination, to make a third party run unlikely or nugatory, and, if worse came to worse from the Establishment's point of view to have a 2016 candidate that has all of Trump's appeal without Trump's negatives.
Reince-pick up the phone, Palin saved the GOP's bacon in 2008 (before Lehman Bros. made ever her herculean efforts impossible) she can do so again. If Trump gets an unstoppable head of steam, and time is quickly running out to stop that, or even his primary run so frightens the horses that the brand is irrevocable damaged, you will only have yourself to blame.