So what happens if the "establishment" hates their party's nominee?

I’ve seen it asserted over and over that the Republican establishment hates Trump and Cruz, mostly because they’re harder to control and their style is predicted to do poorly in the general election for both themselves and others in the party.

But there’s a non-zero chance one of them will be the nominee. What exactly will the party do then? I can’t think of a similar situation in modern times off the top of my head. Do they concentrate on the House and Senate, and let the Presidential candidate sink or swim on his own? How much do they help, or maybe even hinder?

After the nominee is selected he and the establishment will become best buddies.

Just like happened with John McCain in 2008 and John Kerry in 2004!

OK, not best buddies. It remains to be seen.

(This, by the way, is the credible argument Hillary has against Bernie Sanders, not any nonsense about “working with Republicans.” There is an element of the Democratic Party machine that doesn’t like Bernie that much. Of course, the party is also a Congressional minority right now; so they may have to decide if they want to work with him, or freeze him out and end up staying in the cold themselves.)

Well thats kind of why the Reform party imploded when Buchanan became the nominee and half the party walked out.

But in reality, a convention is just a show. The cameras show all these people fawning over the candidate but in reality I’d but many are holding their nose and voting for support anyways. That’s what it was like for Al Gore I hear.

Does the Republican Party have Super Delegates as the Democratic Party does, to be certain that the candidate they prefer is the nominee?

The Fortune 500 will have no difficulty backing Hillary over Trump. And they will.

Not really, no. There are GOP super-delegates but only a fraction as many as the Democratic Party uses.

Also, superdelegates tend to be elected officials themselves. While they can adjudicate close calls or late developments, they would face electoral consequences if they overturned a majority favorite. So they are unlikely to set aside clear electoral mandates.
The establishment can gang up on unpopular candidates like Cruz. They have done that: recall Dole’s remarks. They can ad-bomb folks like Trump. That hasn’t happened, which surprised me and devotees of The Party Decides. I’m guessing that nobody wants to spend $20 million in attack ads against Trump because of his access to more effective free media. Also, they don’t want to topple Trump in favor of Cruz who is even worse.

So according to the establishment the frontrunner is terrible, the 2nd place guy is worse and while Rubio et al may be acceptable they are not strong candidates. I-yi-yi say the pros. What to do? What to do?

Ironically, Hillary could have more success with bipartisanship than Obama did.

Hopefully they take a mulligan on this election and decide to support the Dem nominee, but a man can dream :smiley:

Republican unpledged delegates present fuzzier math than on the Democratic side. States get 3 “unpledged” delegates. Some states still bind those nominally unpledged delegates to the state primary winner though. They have to vote for their states winner on the first ballot but are selected based on being state party leaders. They aren’t necessarily supporters of that candidate. That means they are wild cards with respect to rules changes and second ballots… which potentially matters a lot this year.

Does a majority or a plurality win the GOP primary?

Majority. Hence the possible need for multiple ballots.

There is no exact parallel, but . . . it is as if George Wallace, instead of going third-party, had sought the Democratic nomination in 1968, and won it. Or the Republican nomination, doesn’t matter, either establishment would have hated him. Come to think of it, the Republican establishment was none too fond of Goldwater in '64, either; maybe that’s a closer parallel.

“Vote for George Wallace. You know where he stands.”

More than we can say about Trump, really.

Trump isn’t in a wheelchair.

Recall though that a lot of the later races award delegates in a winner take all fashion. So the first ballot is likely to prove decisive, even if the winner represents only a plurality of voters. So there will be no brokered convention unless the GOP loses complete control of the primary process. Which of course they have.