Excruciating choice for GOP leaders: Take a risk on Trump?

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Media Outlet: CNN

What could possibly motivate a Republican to formally endorse Donald Trump and join his raucous brigade? With each primary and caucus victory, the pressure for prominent Republicans to take a stand on his candidacy greatly intensifies. But taking this step is not easy.

Announcing that you will back Donald Trump is to enter into an alliance with a person who is controversial, explosive and who can often get extremely nasty on the campaign trail.

This is someone who has repeatedly said things that offend women, Latinos and Muslims; who was slow to disavow white supremacist support and who has chosen to stoke, rather than calm, flareups of violence at his rallies.

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Julian Zelizer is a fellow in New America's Political Reform program. He is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University and writes a weekly column for CNN.com.