American political parties have been in the past, for the most part, non-ideological. While the Democrats and the Republicans have stood for principles over time, things can change. For example, the most rigorous opposition to anti-lynching laws came from the Southern Democrats and vigorous attempts to curtail the practice came from the GOP. In the early part of the 20th Century the GOP was a party of high tariffs.
But for at least the last 70 years the GOP has held to several basic principles. They have been for market based, as opposed to government, solutions to issues. They have been strong supporters of free trade, with the understanding that the net result of more open trading agreements has been increased economic activity. They have been steadfast in preserving individual liberty and in supporting the ability of individuals to pursue happiness (In the sense of the Declaration); to allow individuals to pursue their dreams. That has also meant a relatively benign response to immigration laws. That did not mean completely open borders, and yet at the same time it also did not mean support for the most xenophobic approaches to immigration.
But for the last 20 years or so, the GOP has allowed a bunch of "purists" to claim that some party members who do not adhere to their orthodoxy (which are mostly in direct opposition to policies under which the GOP thrived) are somehow Republicans in Name Only (hence RINOs). It is time to re-establish the principles that made the GOP a winning party by pointing out that those candidates and elected officials who don't support free trade; or market based solutions; or who inherently want to diminish the opportunity expressed by Emma Lazurus on the base of the Statue of Liberty ("Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!") are the real RINOs.
For the last couple of weeks supporters of both Ted Cruz and Donald Trump have tried to make the argument that they have survived the primary/caucus process and therefore should be awarded the GOP nomination based on that process. Any observer of the last six to eight months of primary process would have to reject that premise. The GOP has been taken over by RINOs. Trump and Cruz pander to the nativists and protectionists. Trump goes even further and would support the most basic types of crony capitalism which would diminish the real chance for potential small entrepreneurs to realize their dreams.
It is clear what the Democrats would prefer. Both Sanders and to a lesser extent Clinton - while nominally supporting more open borders (although without the concurrent responsibility standards that GOP policy has supported - like employer ID checks) are consistently in support of trade pacts only if they carry unreasonable restrictions; government based solutions (the "free" college proposals are a prime example) and a set of economic policies that would continue the disastrous intrusions against small business startups. Thus, their ideal world is to go back to the nonsense first offered by Paul Appleby - who argued that government is different (indeed it is but what Appleby meant in his article was that government solutions are ALWAYS better).
IF traditional conservatives refuse to begin to point out the RINOs for who they are, then they will be responsible for electing a new president who will undoubtedly support programs that will continue to take us away from those policies that made the country grow and allowed the GOP to achieve significant electoral victories.