The media and those who follow it too closely have the habit of focusing too much attention on the mania of the current moment and on the surface of things.
All the media talk since the election has been about GOP "soul-searching" that amounts to nothing but trying to answer the question How can we win again?
If the GOP were doing any real soul-searching, it would be asking itself Why has Reality punched me in the gut, and what do I need to do differently to stop that from happening?
Republicans and conservatives have encountered as a group the same sort of experience that we all encounter individually when our personal habits of though and action meet resistance from Life.
And in order to stop getting gut-punched by Life, they need to do the same thing everyone in that situation needs to do: admit to their shortcomings, repudiate them, and change.
A bit more below the orange whorl.
In their case, it means admitting that it's not their "message" that has failed. They can continue to try what seemed to work in the past—dog whistles, sophistical Orwellian doublespeak, packaging advertising to appeal to the fearful, the intolerant, and the ignorant—or they can own up to the fact that THE IDEAS THAT THEY PACKAGE ARE WRONG BOTH INTELLECTUALLY AND ETHICALLY, so that they can only expect more disappointment and suffering if they continue to operate on the basis of those ideas.
It's not hard to see that many of their ideas are either distasteful or hateful. The shiny wrappers they put around racism, xenophobia, religious intolerance, homophobia, white and Christian supremacy, class rivalry, vulture capitalism, and the like are fooling fewer and fewer voters. They can expect to get pummeled in the future if they keep putting out those "messages."
But there is still a "moderate" position that continues to fool voters. It is pitched in this way: "Conservatism as a governing philosophy has done good service to the nation." And it sometimes is boiled down to two main pillars—small government and low taxes.
When people begin to realize that conservatism has not done any good for the nation (unless it comes in the very mild form of "be prudent," as exemplified by Eisenhower—which is just common sense that no party can disagree with); when they begin to see that "small government" is lunacy in a nation this size and only exists as a slogan to hide the conservative hatred of being required by some power to act responsibly and not selfishly; when they begin to get the idea that "low taxes" is just a dog-whistle for people who don't want to contribute to the public good—then the GOP will be done for good.
And good riddance.