The time for Republicans to examine their party's direction and composition is upon them. This presidential election was razor close, sure, but history repeats itself. Study federal elections in the 1880s.
I think Republicans have forgotten their conservative roots, which I boil down to four, the source being former GOP presidential candidate and Arizona senator Barry Goldwater.
The first is maximum liberty. If your government can't protect your freedom and liberties, it's not much of a government. Goldwater was pro-life, but he was not anti-abortion. His wife was head of Planned Parenthood for his home state of Arizona. He consistently voted to uphold abortion rights and opposed efforts to pass a constitutional amendment reversing Roe v. Wade.
The second is limited government. True conservatives don't believe in "no government", but they don't want the government they know they must have to be intrusive and control people's lives and fortunes (see maximum liberty above). Safety and security are jobs one and two. After that, real conservatives take a hard look at the role the federal government should play in, e.g., education. What does the United States Constitution say about the federal government's role in education?
Third is a balanced budget. The last time the federal government reported a budget surplus, according to the Congressional Budget Office, were the years 1998 to 2000, the last three years of the Clinton administration. It's been downhill from there, and both major parties have contributed to the slide into red ink as far as the eye can see.
Finally, there is the matter of war and military power. True coservatives are not isolationists or hawks, but they do believe in not waging wars of opportunity or adventure. We need to call these "wars" (Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan) what they really are: Occupations. It's easy to start a war, but the United States is proving that it is darn difficult to end one.
Do I think Republican leaders can get together and, after some serious soul-searching, return to conservative roots? The short answer is no. The party and its platform have strayed so far from its bedrock conservative principles that it ran out of breadcrumbs and can't find its way back.