I know I am conflating conservatism with the Republican party, but ever since the old Democratic Southern segregationists died off and were replaced by Republicans, the Democrats have had very few conservatives. In the same way the Republican liberals of the past have mostly died out and there are few moderates left at least at the national level(there are opportunists like Chris Christie but that is another story).
It is hard for people to remember today but before Ronald Reagan, the Republicans didn’t campaign on ideology. Eisenhower was a conservative in the old sense, he believed in the institutions which raised him and wanted to preserve them and see the prosper. He accepted the changes of the New Deal along with the changes brought about by the war. He supported NATO (which a few big name Republicans of the time did not). He understood the need to be ready to go to war, even if he did not want to go to war. The post war army was going to be a big one and that meant we were going to have an expanded government. The GI Bill of Rights meant that a lot of tax money was going to pay for the education of the newly civilian war veterans. That was another expansion of government.
The modern GOP has become the party of big business in ways that it simply wasn’t in the past. I would ask anyone to read the 1956 GOP platform http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=25838
The Federal minimum wage has been raised for more than 2 million workers. Social Security has been extended to an additional 10 million workers and the benefits raised for 6 1/2 million.
I doubt anyone can imagine that being on the next platform. In those days American businesses sold products made by Americans and they understood that fairly paid workers could live comfortably. (The same platform talks about tax cuts, also done by the Eisenhower administration.) It isn’t a panacea and it isn’t free of fancy rhetoric, but that GOP expected to appeal to a broad segment of society, not just the comfortable upper middle class.
Today’s GOP is only about business and nothing else. There are no solutions to economic problems except to suggest more tax cuts.