For the Democrats, working together for a goal gives them cohesion. "Yes we can" was their motto.
For the Republicans, bashing the opponent gives them cohesion. They pull together to defeat the common enemy. They dwell in fighting language.
I believe that the Republicans lost votes this year because their tried and true tactic, outrage to bring people into the fold, had been used for too long. Bashing had become meaningless. Supporters were exhausted. They were burned out. They saw the results of outrage and bashing. They saw outrage and bashing as symptomatic of the problem, so the more that the Republicans relied on it, the more that it failed them.
I hope that the Republican party can cast off the orthodoxy that they have built about themselves and once again build a party based on their values. In the meantime, they must wrestle with a base that knows nothing besides bashing and outrage.