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The Republican Party has almost nothing to offer the average voter. […]
But most Americans also think their government is corrupt and untrustworthy — and don’t get them started about those clowns in Congress.
For as long as the GOP was in the opposition, this latter fact provided cover for the former one. Congressional Republicans could perform conservative purity for their base, while offering vague promises of “change” to the broader, dissatisfied public. And since Paul Ryan and company couldn’t actually pass their most heinously unpopular ideas into law, delivering for the tea-party crowd didn’t preclude appealing beyond it: In their fight against Obamacare, Republicans could equate Medicaid expansion with Stalinism to everyone on their email lists — while attacking the law for cutting Medicare and failing to provide truly universal coverage to the general public.