Over the 30 years that I have been observing American politics, one thing is perfectly clear. When Republicans stand firm on their purported principles, they win elections. And when Republicans abandon their principles in the name of moderation, or centrism, or pragmatism, or appealing to independents, they lose elections. This is because Americans respond more positively to political leadership than they do to followership. Chasing the polls is a short-sighted game for fools and renders elected office pointless since there is no rationale for holding office if one intends to accomplish nothing while holding it.