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Donald Trump is now firmly in the saddle —
and the GOP is galloping toward a full-on identity crisis.

Trump, a candidate with no coherent philosophy beyond narcissism, and with more slogans than substance, was the huge victor last night.

No, he’s not yet the GOP nominee, but with the big boost he got by winning Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, Arkansas, and yes, Massachusetts, he’s now far along that road.

At his press conference last night, he seemed like a new boss, accompanied by one of his flunkies — in this case, Chris Christie, who called him “Mr. Trump,” while Donald referred to him as “Chris” — addressing his employees after a hostile takeover.

Below Trump, chaos endures.

Before Tuesday, Marco Rubio had tentatively emerged as the GOP establishment’s stop-Trump candidate. But the rally-round-Rubio rationale took a torpedo to the hull after a night that left the Florida senator with little or nothing to brag about beyond a win in the Minnesota caucuses.

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Ted Cruz, by contrast, can at least boast of winning his home state of Texas plus Oklahoma. But though hard-right conservatives like Cruz, he’s despised by the GOP establishment, which makes it unlikely that he’ll emerge as the new favorite for the thwart-Trump movement.

John Kasich, meanwhile, was running close to Trump in Vermont. That’s pretty small beer, obviously — sorry, Vermonters — but the Kasich camp quickly made it clear he was staying in the race with the hope of doing better as the campaign moves to the Midwest.

The ball is now in the court of the Republican Party’s putative leaders. The party is complicit in helping create Trump’s candidacy by largely averting its eyes to his cynical birther buffoonery five years ago.

In those days, the GOP seemed to view him as a wrecking ball headed toward Barack Obama.

Only now that the pendulum
has swung back in the GOP’s direction has the party begun to show genuine concern about his tactics and character.

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Now they face a choice: Do they band together and make a concerted effort to stop him — or merely scramble, individually, to get out of his way ?

Scot Lehigh can be reached at lehigh@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeScotLehigh.