This is a major issue that the world has fought multiple wars over. At heart, both the American Civil War and World War II were fights over Elitism vs Diversification.
In the American Civil War, the Diversification faction won. They insisted that no one group was better than another, so slavery was an evil thing, and could NOT be allowed - not in the same country and not even in a country next door to a truly free country.
While the Diversification faction (North) won the war, the Elitist kept their philosophy alive in an underground movement. During World War II, this fight went from an internal struggle within a nation to an external struggle without nations. The Axis countries, Germany, Italy and Japan, all held beliefs that they were elite and superior to others. The Allied countries believed in diversity and used this to help win the war.
Specifically, we - as Americans - used immigrants from our enemy (mostly German Jews) to develop secret weapons, native Americans as "code talkers", had black soldiers (Tuskegee Airmen, 761st Tank Battalion.), etc. In addition we agreed to a treaty with Communist Russia - our next enemy - to attack Germany.
Clearly, Diversification beat Elitism in World War II.
Note, in general, elitism is a philosophy that encourages active attacks - it provides a pseudo-moral ground to allow you to engage in theft. But simultaneously, it does poorly in holding onto gains - you can't integrated defeated people into your elite group.
But, elitism continues to exist in the USA. It has not been defeated. The Democratic National Party embraces Diversification - homosexuals, blacks, Hispanics, Jews, conservatives (see last post - they call themselves "progressives"), liberals, etc. all have a place in the Big Tent of the DNC.
The GOP has slowly been taken over by the elitist. You can see it in their epitaphs - they think the word "liberal" is an insult. Similarly, RINO - "Republican In Name Only" is an insult. You can see it in their statements about homosexuality. You can see it in how they treat the poor - refusing to admit that sometimes good people end up poor. For example, they might have tried to help their sick family members. You see it in their economic philosophies of trickle down - whether they are talking about taxes or jobs.
Elitism makes it very easy to attack. Since the GOP believes they are fundamentally superior, as opposed to simply have the right answer, it makes character attacks easier. Hence the lies about 'socialism', the president's birth certificate, etc. etc.
But it makes defense much harder. The GOP can't integrate mildly conservatives because the aren't conservative ENOUGH. They can't even accept a conservative Muslim because he is well, a Muslim (Story of Nezar Hamze) Most importantly, they can't accept the moderates. Not in the party, let alone as an office seeker. This leads to more and more extremism and puts them in a severe predicament - they can't attract the moderates during an election.
Note, this is a relatively new phenomena - it begin about 20 years ago, but has been taking over the party exponentially. The 9/11 attack enabled them to continue to win elections despite the fact that they were appealing to less and less moderates. Then the prevented Obama from fixing the economic downturn that they created, and managed to blame him for it in the 2010 mid terms. But they are running out of luck - and worse, time.
Shortly the GOP will begin to lose more and more elections in moderate districts. Already they have lost the ability to win a national election without a terrorist threat to scare the people into voting Republican.
Another problem with the "elite" philosophy is in internal fights. Your main battle is a harsh, no holds barred one, so that is what you learn how to do. Worse, you realize that if you lose the internal fight, they may decide that you are "Not Republican Enough" - and start marginalizing you. After all, you have done it before yourself, claiming your opponents are "Republican In Name Only", so you know they will do it to you if you lose.
I expect this to continue. If Romney or Santorum don't end up a clear winner soon, the fight is going to get worse. Pass the popcorn. For a liberal like me, it's going to be fun to watch.
With any luck at all, the conservative wave, triggered by fear of terrorism, in 2000-2009 is over. A counter stroke of liberalism may be rising, just like the conservative wave in the 80's that rose in response to the 70's.