One thing about the Republican Party is they are very good at distancing themselves from their ‘losers’. You can go right back to Herbert Hoover who was dissuaded from seeking to regain the presidency by party insiders as they tried to move on after his epic landslide loss in 1932. The response to the 1929 Wall Street crash and aftershock of the Great Depression would not escape him.
In contemporary history, after the conservative deity Ronald Reagan (and with the exception of Bob Dole who was effectively a sacrificial lamb) every subsequent Republican nominee who the party chose to be their president has gone on to be trashed afterwards. The 2016 Republican primary was an attempt to stick a finger to the establishment which meant a repudiation of the Bush family. Who they previously voted and supported for so many years. Bush Sr won a landslide in 1988. Bush Jr got two terms and had his approval ratings in his first was higher than Trump has ever mustered. But in the second everything fell apart leading him to leave office with barely 30% approval and Republicans spending the entirety of the Obama years acting like none of that ever happened. John McCain was the nominee in 2008, was generally well supported, got one of the most rapturous ovations at a convention I’ve ever seen, yet he’s now described even in death by his own party as a “traitor”. Four years later Mitt Romney came along and actually got a higher percentage of the popular vote than Trump, and actually got a higher amount of votes than Trump in a couple of states that he lost in 2012 but Trump won in 2016. Romney is now the posterboy for being a “RINO”.
What you see here is a trend of the Republican Party acting like they never really liked their losing candidates. So what happens if Trump loses? He’s in the position Bush Sr was in except, a) he never received the overwhelming mandate Bush Sr did and b) there was not a cult of personality around Bush Sr. Hardline conservatives broke with him over taxes in 92’. Today’s hardline conservatives are all in for Trump but his problem is they’re not enough. He barely got in four years ago and has done little to expand the tent. And this has been complicit with the party apparatus going all in on appeasing Trump which is a gamble they could feasibly regret.