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The Lid: GOP Preparing for Possible Trump Nomination

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos…

BREAKING: Officials in San Bernardino, California, say that there are at least 14 people dead and another 14 injured in a shooting at a social services facility where county employees were gathered Wednesday morning. No motive is known, and police are searching for up to three suspects. The 2016 candidates quickly reacted, with Democrats renewing their calls for gun reform and Republicans sending "thoughts and prayers" to the victims. Our roundup of the 2016 hopefuls' reactions is here.

'16 AT 30 THOUSAND

The big Donald Trump narrative last night going into this morning came courtesy of a New York Times story outlining Republican hand-wringing about how to stop a potentially disastrous Trump nomination. But the other side of that coin is the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" mentality laid out in the National Republican Senatorial Committee memo scooped by the Washington Post this afternoon. In the document, the organization imagines Trump getting the nod and advises candidates how they can adapt to running on the same ballot. The advice includes harnessing Trump's untraditional appeal ("show your independence," and "change the look") while avoiding his flaws (Trump "has said some wacky things about women" and is a "misguided missile.") As our big sibling publication First Read pointed out this morning, it's all fine and good for GOP groups to ponder taking Trump down, but it remains hugely unclear how they'd begin to do so. The ways that DC Republicans are now contemplating not only the management - but the leverage - of Trump's popularity tell us a lot about a party that often seems too fractured to function.

POPPING ON NBC POLITICS

The 2016 candidates are weighing in on the San Bernardino shooting.

Here is who GOP voters say is the most electable candidate.

Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are battling over the Renewable Fuel Standard in Iowa, NBC's Vaughn Hillyard reports.

Trump said Tuesday that the United States should "take out" the family members of terrorists in the effort to fight ISIS, one of us writes.

NBC's Jordan Frasier reports that Jeb Bush is remaining focused on New Hampshire, even when he's campaigning in Iowa.

And from First Read this AM: Can the GOP really sink Donald Trump?

CAMPAIGN QUICK READ OF THE DAY

The Washington Post gets its hands on a National Republican Senatorial Committee memo that advises Senate candidates on what to do if Trump wins the Republican nomination, including changing their "look," avoiding the taint of "special interests," and avoiding Trump's rhetoric about women.

FOR THE RECORD…

"Well, you have to go with Lincoln and Washington. The classics, you know? Alex, you have to go with the classics."

  • Donald Trump, to radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, on his favorite presidents

TOMORROW'S SKED

Republican presidential candidates are in Washington for the Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Forum.

Hillary Clinton campaigns in New Hampshire.