The California Republican Party wipeout is complete. From the defeat of Trumpian hard liners like Congressman Dana Rohrabacher to moderates who are offered as examples of Republicans who can work across the aisle like Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, they are all gone. Many obituaries on the California GOP have been written the last week. The brand is tarnished so severely that if Santa Claus ran with an R behind his name he would lose.

What happened to the Republicans depends on whom you ask. Two well-known California Republicans offered their autopsy on the recent election and they couldn’t be further apart.

Former Republican Assembly leader and current Stanislaus County Supervisor Kristin Olsen wrote in Calmatters that the Republican Party is not salvageable. She blamed President Trump and the “toxic, national brand of Republican politics.”

In a Washington Examiner opinion piece, former California GOP chair and California’s committeeman for the Republican National Committee, Shawn Steel, did not blame President Trump for the state party problems. He gave credit to the Democrats superior ground game, mobilization and grassroots efforts, all a result of more dollars raised by Democrats to fund the efforts.

The shortage of GOP funds can be traced to donors’ belief that Republican candidates have little chance of success in California so why make a bad investment. That attitude will only be magnified in coming elections.

As the California GOP is unceremoniously buried, Kristin Olsen suggests a third party is called for in California. Some read into the demise of the state GOP historical similarities to the end of the Whig Party, which held sway for 20 years in the early 1800s. It vanished with the rise of the Republican Party. A coalition party of fiscal conservatives, states’ rights advocates, and supporters of protective tariffs, the Whigs fell apart as the race/slavery issue of the day came to dominate.

While history isn’t exactly repeating itself, here in California, the immigration issue (the race issue of the day, some contend) has many leaving the party.

Can the party revive by following a New Way that Olsen promotes? Will donors and organizers improve to match the Democratic efforts that Steel highlights?

There is truth in both positions—escaping the clutches of Trumpian politics, the need for civil discord and a re-fashioning of basic issues while at the same time improving party infrastructure. But there is an order to things, the only way donors will come back is if the image of the party changes. Now, it appears competing sides in the internal struggle for the party have no interest in sharing a big tent. That spells continuing problems for a shrinking GOP.

It seems the best chance for the state Republicans in the short term is to get help from Democrats. With such an overwhelming one-party rule, squabbles amongst Democrats and extreme policy ideas may give Republicans an opening.

Whether Republicans revamp the party or a new party is created what is needed is a clear articulation of fundamental beliefs and policies that recognize the constant change in society—what then presidential candidate George H. W. Bush derisively called “the vision thing.”

As Claremont professor Jack Pitney pointed out, too many Republicans have policy prescriptions meant for the 1980s.

A new vision is in order.

What just may be a final test for the party, indeed a last stand, could be played out in 2020 on a fundamental issue of modern GOP orthodoxy: taxes.

More on that tomorrow.