Steve Teles suggests that the Republicans look back to the traditions of their predecessors, the Whigs, as they seek a way out of the political wilderness. I can see the ideological attractiveness of such a party.
What I can’t see is its social basis. Steve suggests that the Republicans ought to stand firmly by opposition to redistribution, corruption, and the capture of government by provider interests.
But that doesn’t sound to me like a fighting faith. I doubt such a party could hold the racist/ nativist/gun-nut/homophobe/creationist/Muslim-basher constituency that now makes up a large chunk of the Republican base.
Let’s not forget that the historical Whigs had something very specific to deliver to their constituency: not just “internal improvements” (infrastructure such as canals and railroads), but the tariffs to pay for them, which protected American manufacturing from European competition. I don’t see the comparable feature of Steve’s imagined ne0-Whiggery.