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Conservatives have no idea what to do about Ted Cruz.

Scott Olson/Getty

Cruz had a very nice night, picking up victories in Oklahoma, Texas, and Alaska. While Marco Rubio’s somewhat surprising Minnesota win dampens his narrative a bit, Cruz is the only candidate who can say that he has beaten Donald Trump multiple times.

Of course, Cruz was always going to do better than Rubio in most of the Super Tuesday states, and Rubio is better-tailored to the states that follow. And, for all Cruz’s talk of victory, his whole primary strategy was built around racking up delegates on Super Tuesday.

But conservatives are quaking in their boots at the prospect of Trump at the top of the ticket, which means they’re ready to abandon their most recent plan, wherein their salvation lies in Marco Rubio winning Florida on March 15. Lindsey Graham, who recently joked that, “If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you,” told Charlie Rose that “we may be in a position where we have to rally around Ted Cruz.” The GOP establishment backing Cruz would be incredible because the GOP establishment hates Cruz, maybe more than they hate Trump. But Trump panic has reached a fever pitch, so here we are. 

And hey, if all else fails, the GOP can fall back on the 1836 Whig effort to stop Jacksonians from keeping the White House (which failed):