“I think what the Rubio case study shows us is that reforming the Republican Party is going to be a hard task,” Wehner says.

But Deace sees it differently. When pundits wonder why Republicans can’t seem to “take one for the team” and put aside their differences on taxes, farm subsidies or immigration, Deace points out that it’s because the Republican Party isn’t really a team at all.

“We’re not a coalition-driven party,” he explains. “We’re an ideologically driven party. The Democrats have a coalition-driven party, so you may have black ministers that agree with me theologically and morally voting for the same candidates Rosie O’Donnell does because they have a coalition in order to get access to government for something they believe they need. The Republican Party is not a coalition of factions; it’s an ideological party. … It’s kind of hard to have a party for [Tea Party favorite Texas Sen.] Ted Cruz and [House Speaker] John Boehner if you’re an ideological party — those two guys don’t believe the same things.”