There is an excellent and insightful piece at Real Clear Politics by Jeffrey Anderson on the way center-right conservatives (of the sort who backed either Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush and then became #NeverTrump) made four key errors that virtually assured the nomination of Donald Trump. The article speaks for itself and should be read and committed to memory.
As an autopsy of that failed effort to maintain a grip on the party, it is dead on. But more than that, it is a glimpse into the many electoral failures of the GOP as they are related to of the fundamental failure to understand what American politics actually is and how it works—not just in this cycle, but going back several decades now.
See especially Anderson’s discussion of the Republican primary process (which is imitation Democratic Party style direct democracy) and his discussion of the failures of conservatives and Republicans to focus on the big picture in elections.