Okay, so here’s how I see things playing out. The Republicans are going to start playing hardball against Trump, and he’ll announce a third-party candidacy in a fit of pique. Shortly thereafter, Sanders will get robbed in some obvious and intolerable way and, more in sadness than in anger, will decide that an independent run is the only way to make sure his message is heard. Though he initially hesitates, Bloomberg decides that Sanders remaining in the race triggers his run. Cruz looks at this field and decides, screw it, let Rubio have the official nomination, and runs as a sixth-party candidate.
In a Clinton-Sanders-Rubio-Trump-Cruz-Bloomberg race, only one outcome is possible: Jill Stein and the Green Party sweep the electoral college in an LBJ- or Reagan-level landslide. All Tea Party governors and state legislators immediately die of shock. Stein’s first act in office is to suspend the Constitution, declare fossil fuels illegal, bring all US troops home, and divert all military spending to domestic infrastructure and education. The resulting build-out of renewable energy and public transportation provides the economic stimulus we really needed in 2008, propelling the US into an economic golden age exceeding the postwar boom.
In short, I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth.