It happened before with these very same Republicans -- well the ancestors of these very same Republicans. And history just may be replaying itself.
Take the unlikely comparison of Teddy Roosevelt and his Bull Moose Party with another Teddy (Rafael 'Ted' Cruz) and his Tea Party. Don't roll your eyes. I said "unlikely."
Set your 'way back' time machines to 1912. Republican voters of the day couldn't decide between the sitting Republican President William Howard Taft and former President Teddy Roosevelt. When the convention backed Taft, Roosevelt stormed out and formed his own party -- the Bull Moose Party and joined in the general election against Democrat Woodrow Wilson AND Taft.
Taft and Roosevelt came away with a combined popular vote of 50% whereas Wilson ended with 43% of the vote. Many historians believe that the Bull Moose Party split the Republican vote there by leading to Wilson's victory although there are some who believe he would have won anyway.
Now return to today. The Republicans are publicly and privately in dispute. There has been a hijacking of the overall leadership by today's Bull Moose party, only now it's called the Tea Party. Will they go off into different camps, part ways and see what happens?
If you know your history, you know that the Bull Moose experiment didn't last very long. It had a few gasps of life, but after a few years it was pretty much gone. A flash in the pan.
Perhaps the GOP will learn from it's ancestors as well as the recent MSNBC - Wall Street Journal poll that they need to mend from within, or both could be doomed. Will clearer minds prevail over the wackadoos? Only time will tell but Lawrence O'Donnell explains it pretty well below.