Some examples of potentially lethal positions by candidates that have widespread support overall and significant support within registered Republican voters:
- Amnesty of some sort is now widely supported by the electorate, including many (even a majority, according to some polls) Republicans.
- Gay marriage continues to gain support (strong overall minority in the Republican Party, and 61% of young Republicans). Even Dick Cheney quietly supports gay marriage.
- Some level of increased gun control (90%+ of all Americans support universal background checks).
Republicans love to look back at their heritage and claim especially Lincoln and Reagan, but they overlook that these two men also held views that are anathema to the current platform. Most recently in the modern era, Reagan was strongly in favor of gun control, backed the 1986 immigration amnesty, accepted increases in social spending to get his increased military spending, and implemented mandatory emergency room treatment.
That doesn't begin to touch on presidents like Eisenhower (called for stronger unions and raising the minimum wage, then at the modern equivalent of $8.59 an hour) or Teddy Roosevelt (renowned trust buster, backer of unions, creator of the first national parks, called for wider health insurance).
Such positions would see them all--Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Reagan--pilloried in a modern election run. Too many people are trying to hold on to a fiction of the Republican past. That has to change and the party has to accept new (or at least a range of) views, or Republicans' chances in 2016 for the White House--and even control of Congress--is going to be very questionable.