Republican Party leaders agonize over the prospect that Donald Trump will mount a third-party candidacy that could undermine their nominee. They fear insulting the white working-class voters who admire him. They are loath to tangle with a threat-flinging firebrand for whom there are no rules of engagement.
Since the start of Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign, a vexing question has hovered over his candidacy: Why have so many party leaders — privately appalled by Mr. Trump’s remarks about immigrants from Mexico — not renounced him?
It turns out, interviews show, that the mathematical delicacy of a Republican victory in 2016 — and its dependence on aging, anxious white voters — make it exceedingly perilous for the Republican Party to treat Mr. Trump as the pariah many of its leaders now wish he would become.
"As an elected official and as a Republican, I’m not excited about this, to say the least," Flake told the Washington Post. "I don’t think that [Trump's] views are reflective of the party, particularly in Arizona, a border state."