One major irony of our status-striving era is that the hyper-competitiveness of career strivers leaves them vulnerable to being conquered by those who are group-oriented rather than worshipers of individual ambition.
Quite simply, the strivers' overweening ambition prevents all of them from joining any other one of their fellow individualists who's come under attack by the group-oriented team. That would expose them to unknown risks -- catching collateral damage, getting caught in the crossfire, and so on -- with zero payoff to themselves, and a positive payoff to the fellow striver they helped out.
If their goal were to enhance the well-being of some greater group that they and the target belonged to, perhaps they'd make an individual sacrifice for the group. But if they're only looking out for #1, then no sacrifices will be made on behalf of others, even when under attack by a common enemy. "No, YOU take the enemy out."
It turns out that once the movement against unchecked individual ambition gets going -- which may take some time after the initial revolution of laissez-faire norms -- it does not even need to bother with the strategy of "divide and conquer". Pure individualists are already divided among themselves, and if the group-oriented team has gained enough solidarity, it is simple to conquer them.
We're seeing this most spectacularly among the Republicans, whose Establishment figures have been trying to figure out how to kick Trump out of the race by any means necessary. It's really simple, though -- order all but the most promising non-Trump candidate to fall on their swords, and suddenly there's a non-Trump candidate who's polling within the neighborhood of Trump himself. But that assumes that there is enough group-orientation among those Republicans, and enough willingness to sacrifice the individual for the Party.
The fact that only a few zero-percenters have dropped out, while guaranteed failures like Bush, Christie, Kasich, etc. are still in it to win it, proves how little today's career strivers are willing to jump on the grenade to save the platoon.
As it stands, Trump is dominating all of them, with over 30% to their 10-15% at the highest, and towards 1% at the lowest. This will lead at worst to a battle at the convention if he doesn't get a majority during the first ballot, and at best to a flawless victory.
On the Democrats' side, the principle is not shown in the fighting among the candidates. The former mayor of Baltimore is a non-entity. Sanders is doing pretty well, but he's not an Establishment figure driven by overweening ambition -- if anything he has demurred from going for the jugular about Hillary's endangering of national security by hosting the most secret intelligence on an insecure personal email server.
Rather, what is throwing real sand into the gears for the presumed heir is the current Democrat administration, who got into a big conflict with the Clinton camp during the 2008 season. They still don't care for each other.
They keep looking into how much sensitive material she had on that email server that foreign spies have almost certainly hacked into, and they haven't ruled out a criminal indictment. Those Establishment members are either under Obama's influence, or their own semi-autonomous lead bureaucrat's influence -- not Hillary Clinton herself, who is no longer Secretary of State.
It's no secret that the Obama camp and the Clinton camp hate each other, and here we see how mutual antagonism may sabotage any effort by the DNC to keep things running smoothly for Hillary. Obama lets the investigation proceed, Hillary threatens to pull strings to get back at the Obamas, or at the agency doing the investigating and leaking of info to the press, these targets of Hillary resent being hit back against and probe even more seriously into her criminal activity, and being an inveterate sociopath she cannot help but threaten and push back -- ultimately resulting in being indicted for compromising national security, and she's yanked out of the Presidential race.
There would be no enthusiasm for any Establishment stiff who they would try to replace her with -- Biden, whoever -- so Sanders could coast into the nomination.*
The fact that the Obama people have refused to squash the investigation / possible indictment against Hillary reveals how little solidarity there is among the Democrats, even as they face their greatest schlonging in electoral history.
Nor is she willing to bow out for the good of the Party, in the way that the sitting President Johnson was ordered not to run for re-election in 1968, on account of his policies destabilizing the social order, angering the elites who feared that business would no longer be running as usual if the President kept antagonizing everybody over his Great Society and Vietnam War programs. And since that was back during the Great Compression, before the Me Generation revolution of the 1970s, Johnson in fact withdrew from his re-election campaign in early 1968.
Only a generation later, so much had changed, and President Bush could not bring himself to withdraw from re-election, no matter how lame and frustrating his first four years had been, no matter how charismatic and popular the Democrat was -- requiring a Republican who could have out-Willied Willy -- and no matter how much of his thunder was stolen by Perot.
There's no honor among thieves, whether they've set up camp in the Democrat or Republican party. Provided that a movement of enforcers can band together against them, they will be driven and scattered to little fanfare. During a period of such hyper-competitive careerism, internecine status-jockeying among the thieves means that "divide and conquer" will have the important first half of the solution already taken care of.
* Not that he'd win the general against Trump -- no more so than William Jennings Bryan won against McKinley two times, and against Taft a third time. Remember that the nearest previous realignment seems to have been the 1896 election, with McKinley leading the Republicans out of the laissez-faire Gilded Age and into the Progressive era of pro-tariff economic nationalism.