It’s not that the activists don’t have a point. Tossing aside conservative principles and running candidates who offer little in the way of contrast to the Democrats would be useless. But at the same time, there has got to be some recognition that the party must expand beyond the 30% or so of the electorate who identify themselves as “conservative.” Otherwise, you condemn the GOP to permanent minority status — a regional, monochromatic grouping that would exist largely in the south and pockets of the Midwest and Mountain West.
To clarify, if the reason one holds to conservative principles is something beyond idly exercising one’s brain, it should be obvious that one of the purposes of conservatism is that it be realized as a governing philosophy. For that to happen, conservatives need a political vessel to translate thought into actions. This is where the Republican Party comes into play and why looking for reasons to include people rather than inventing reasons to exclude those with whom they disagree must be the number one goal for both activists and party regulars.