Battles for the Republican presidential nomination almost always come down to two alternatives — an establishment-backed candidate with pragmatic instincts and an insurgent (often significantly more conservative) who tries to appeal to constituencies that feel ignored.
And except for 1964, when an insurgent Barry Goldwater defeated a slew of establishment opponents, and, possibly, 1980, the establishment has won these fights to select the party’s presidential nominees.
But have we entered a new era in Republican Party politics? Has the establishment candidate become the underdog in 2016 and for at least the near future? And if so, does that change the meaning of “the establishment?”