[[ I'd rather have a third party and lose because the two parties we have now are one and the same. ]]
That's a very wise comment.
Conservatives should realize that we will likely endure a decade, possibly longer, of losses by an emerging new party before it gains traction.
This is because the old party that is being "replaced" must wither and die on the vine beforehand. The new party can't move into the "political space" that the dying one occupied until the old party vacates that space.
The reason the Republicans replaced the Whigs in such a relatively short time span was because the Whigs self-destructed so quickly. There was a "political vacuum" created, and politics (like nature) abhors vacuums. At the time, the Republicans were the emerging party of ideas, so that space was promptly filled.
Today it's the Republican party that is twisting in the wind, its elite having run out of ideas as to how to ideologically oppose the 'rat/socialists in a way that is capable of garnering enough support from "traditional Americans" to win national elections. The faction of the party that _does_ have ideas (the Tea Party) is looked upon with disdain and horror by the GOPe. They know what the "revolt down below" is all about.
I reckon the Republicans have about two more elections to go before "the writing is on the wall". If they lose in both 2014 (may be influenced by the outcome of the current budget/ObamaCare battle), and then again in 2016, it's going to be difficult for Republican leaders to continue to insist that they have a role in the future of American politics. At least one that looks significantly different than that of the 'rats.
If they continue to ignore "the base", the pedastal of their party edifice may erode away, until there's nothing left to keep it standing and the whole shebang topples right over.
When it does, they won't even be "the second party" any longer.
And at that point, the [so-called "third"] _new_ party will be there to fill the vacuum.
Even David can stand tall when Goliath is in the horizontal position!