The hope among establishment Republicans is that the succession of [recent] events will trigger an end to what they see as the silly season — that party activists will sober up and end their flirtation with the fringe.
Three enormous problems with that.
One, so many of the party activists are the fringe; two, roughly half of the states have closed primaries or caucuses; and three, one of them is Iowa, whose caucus is both pace-setting and driven not only by the fringe right, but the fringe religious right -- a double-lunatic whammy.
Though enormous, the GOP's problems aren't insurmountable, though. For instance a borderline annihilation in 2012 could weed the party of some its influential fringe, which would drift into separate, third-(tea)-party status.
Till then, however, one thing seems certain: the party's silliness will get a lot sillier before the party wises up. At least this year and next, the lunatics have the wheel.