As someone who was raised in a Republican family and who still attends family get-togethers in which Ronald Reagan's name is only mentioned with the utmost respect, I have first-hand knowledge on what Republicans believe and why they believe it.
However, the Republican Party of today is terminally sick. It simply can't win elections anymore as it did in 2004, by ginning up homophobia, or as it did in California in 1994, by ginning up xenophobia.
Now comes the funny/sad part...
Republicans are now trying to figure out how they can "expand their tent" without actually giving anything to the grounds that they failed to court in 2008 and 2012. To immigrants, Republicans offer... nothing. Maybe the next Republican presidential candidate will print out a few million posters with "Viva" in front of his name. (And it will be a "him". One of the reasons why Sarah Palin hates the Republican establishment is because she found out, too late, that it wanted her loyalty but not her feminism. Women, like minorities, the working class, police officers, immigrants, teachers, academics, and libertarians are people that the Republicans want to just "shut up and vote Republican.)
To young voters like Meghan McCain and Jon Huntsman's daughters, the Republican Party offers: empty promises and Delphic warnings about how their social security and medicare will be taken away if they don't support the "voucherizing" of these programs. To union members like police officers, fire fighters, teachers, iron workers, etc., the Republican Party offers to lower their pay and switch out their pension plan for one that pays them less after they retire and possibly nothing at all (look up "defined contribution pensions" for more on that).
To people who need health care the Republican Party offers nothing.
At what point will the Republican Party grow up and kick the Tea Party to the curb? The Tea Party found a way to take states and districts that have historically voted Republican and fielded candidates that were so bad that even thousands of Romney voters found them to be unctious.
My advice to the GOP, should it choose to listen is simply this: you are headed toward a cliff if you don't change course. Changing course involves more than simply re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, to use one of Rush Limbaugh's favorite metaphors which is ironically apt at the moment. Changing course means talking to people who either didn't vote this year or who voted for Obama to try to figure out why the Republican Party and its xenophobic, homophobic, small tent, anti-worker, anti-woman policies are about as welcome in mainstream America as ants at a picnic.
Unlike the GOP, I'd like to hear all of your thoughts on this.