The delusion was that the GOP selected a candidate who was a difference maker. Romney is a good man, and would have been a superior manager. But he would not have been transformative. Quite the contrary, he too would have managed the decline and enlarged the State.
The silver lining, admittedly a bittersweet irony, is that we still have an incompetent in the White House, unable to actually lead. Thus we have the new Hoover, which will lead to destruction of the Dem party AND the GOP. We will evolve to pure choices between European style statists and may perhaps be given the option of a constitutionalist. eventually.