In it, but not of it. TPM DC

You know you've made it in Republicans politics when conservatives are circulating your name as a potential savior who would swoop into the presidential race and save the party from Donald Trump.

Whether the plan was stop the real estate mogul with a third party bid or in a brokered convention, #NeverTrump-ers continually ran into the same problem: just whom would they rally around instead?

Next to the graveyard of the legitimate presidential candidates who tried and failed to stop Trump, there's the cemetery of the potential white knights whose campaigns just never got off the ground. Here's a look at some of the more absurd ideas put forward by Republicans seeking to wrest the nomination away from Trump:

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Donald Trump isn't done antagonizing the conservative anti-abortion movement just yet.

The Republican frontrunner suggested Thursday that the GOP platform on abortion should be loosened to permit exceptions for cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother, prompting a major anti-abortion group to accuse Trump of taking a position that "would set back years of hard work in the pro-life movement.”

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Update: This story has been updated to include additional reasoning from some Republicans as to why they plan on skipping the convention.

It's not new that some politicians facing tough re-elections will skip out on national party convention, particularly when associating with the top-of-the-ballot nominee isn't a good look for them.

But the calculus facing GOP lawmakers in the 2016 cycle is particularly ugly. Senators defending seats in purple states might be show up to July's Republican National Convention in Cleveland for a pageant crowning Donald Trump -- who has alienated minorities, women, and many others -- their party leader. Or they might risk getting tangled up for a messy floor battle, in which a candidate perhaps just as toxic ends up wresting away the nomination.

So vulnerable Republicans have come up with some creative ways to explain why they haven't booked their plane tickets to Ohio just yet.

Here are the Republicans thinking about skipping the GOP convention and how they're spinning their reasons:

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This week gave Obamacare foes some health care industry lemons to turn into anti-Affordable Care Act lemonade.

News that the UnitedHealth, a major insurer, is cutting back its involvement in Affordable Care Act exchanges isn’t great news for the Obama administration. But it’s not the sky-is-falling, death-spiral fever dream that conservatives are making it out to be.

The challenges UnitedHealth was facing on the exchanges are legitimate, but rather than a canary in the coal mine of Obamacare doom, health care experts tell TPM, the news of UnitedHealth’s exit should be seen as collateral damage from the general chaos of a industry in transition, and that the specifics of its own business model -- including its strategy in the individual markets in particular -- played an important role in its decision.

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Donald Trump is trying to make his campaign great again.

After losing ground to Ted Cruz in the tedious delegate game, Donald Trump's campaign has a game plan to get their candidate back on track and in a position to lock up 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination and they are making their pitch to Capitol HIll.

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A Saturday meeting of the Virgin Islands Republican Party is perhaps the perfect distillation of just how off the rails things have gotten. There are interloping Michiganders, competing slates of delegates, direct mail schemes and years worth of petty, intra-party shenanigans all on the cusp of boiling over into a potentially contested convention in Cleveland.

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If Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is thinking about dismissing a major immigration lawsuit on a technicality, he wasn’t showing it at Monday’s oral arguments.

The case is U.S. v. Texas, a lawsuit Texas and 25 other states brought challenging President Obama’s 2014 executive action that shielded certain undocumented immigrants from deportation.

An ideological 4-4 split would defer to a lower court’s decision halting the action, so the next best hope defenders of the immigration program had was that Roberts -- who in the past has shown skepticism to suits brought by states against the federal government -- would vote with the liberal justices to throw the case out on the basis that Texas didn’t meet the legal qualification known as "standing" to sue in the first place.

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When President Obama announced his major second term executive actions on immigration, it was almost immediately clear that it would lead to a Supreme Court showdown. But now that the case is finally at the high court, the conservative forces pushing it will be without a major ally, with Justice Scalia's unexpected death in February.

All eyes at Monday's oral arguments will be on Chief Justice John Roberts to gauge how he will navigate his court through an already hyper-political case that the vacant seat further complicates.

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