That has tough implications for the Republican Party and the conservative movement. Since George W. Bush it has operated on the presumption that needs only to rev up its base voters to win an election. This had the happy coincidence of also meaning that the way to win an election was to be solidly conservative. The 2012 election suggests that is no longer enough.

It doesn’t follow from this though that the way for the Republican Party to win again is reject conservatism. That would alienate the voters it does have in the speculative hopes of replacing them with others. You don’t build coalitions by ejecting existing components. The way to win is to make conservatism a more appealing idea and to realize that coalitions are necessary. The movement needs to think hard about how it is going to expand its base.