If Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination outright Hillary Clinton will become the next president of the United States. As high as her negatives are, Trumps are much, much higher. The majority of Americans simply can't stand the man, and for good reason. Yes, four out of ten "Republicans" (for lack of a better term) support him, but six out of ten Americans would never consider voting for him. With Clinton winning there is a chance she might carry a Democratic senate, and the country would get at least two years of action on legislation and we could finally fill some of the vacant government positions that require congressional approval.
Now that it looks like the Republicans are heading towards a brokered convention, outcomes are more difficult to predict. I became concerned as soon as the prospect of a brokered convention was first discussed. The media frenzy around such a convention could act as a strong wind filling the sails of the eventual Republican nominee. Voters could simply get caught up in the excitement. A Republican president would carry a Republican senate, and then we would have K Street and the invasion of Iraq all over again, and a host of ridiculous laws that even a conservative Supreme Court would frown upon.
There are three potential outcomes from a brokered convention, only one of which horrifies me:
Trump nominated in a brokered convention, Trump becomes president: This is actually the only scenario in which I think Trump could win the election. If he fights off a challenge and becomes the nominee his base of angry white males and unfortunate souls who earn too little and watch way too much reality TV will get caught up in the rush of his victory. Now the base alone cannot carry him to victory, but in surviving a challenge at the convention and coming out ahead he is likely to pick up additional momentum voters and it might be enough to win.
Trump nominated in a brokered convention, Clinton becomes president: If, in order to win the nomination, Trump's behavior sinks even lower he may alienate even more voters. A stark contrast between news coverage of a fistfights, outrageous character attacks,and angry protests in Cleveland, and a calmer, more presidential looking convention in Philadelphia might sway independents towards Clinton, or at least keep them from voting for Trump. More disillusioned Republicans will come out against Trump. And a small percentage of evangelicals will prove unwilling to support a man who is on his third trophy wife and refuses to humble himself before god.
Trump not nominated in a brokered convention, Clinton becomes president: If Trump goes into a brokered convention and is not nominated as the Republican candidate it is a win for Clinton. Trump's base will be furious and many of his most diehard supporters simply will not vote for the Republican nominee. In addition, the manic, orange-skinned, foul-mouthed, incoherent attack that will come from Trump himself against the Republican Party will have the Republican nominee fighting on two fronts. There is simply no way Trump loses out in a brokered convention and then either quietly fades away or actively supports the nominee. He will go berserk and the Democrats will benefit.