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Matt Yglesias:

Ever since I read it, I’ve been fascinated by the line in National Review’s endorsement of Mitt Romney which said “Our guiding principle has always been to select the most conservative viable candidate.”

I wouldn’t deny that progressives are prone to a certain amount of tribalism in our internal deliberations, but that kind of explicit ideological maximalism closes off debates on the merits in a weird kind of way. And not only do you see much more ideological maximalism in conservative media, but conservative media is a much more influential force than progressive media. This makes it extremely difficult for arguments on the merits to get off the ground which, in turn, makes it hard to mount persuasive arguments against candidates who you think may be wrong on the merits.

That’s true. Liberals have both a strong progressive wing and a more centrist neoliberal/third-way wing. And these two wings fight a lot because they don’t really like each other very much. But in the end, they’re both genuinely influential. They really do act as countervailing forces to each other within the halls of the Democratic Party.

But Republicans? There’s the tea party wing and that’s about it. Sure, you’ve still got a few Bruce Bartletts, Ross Douthats, and David Frums roaming around, but they’ve basically been excommunicated from the party. For the moment anyway, they have no influence at all. Ditto for the old guard from the George H.W. Bush era, who mostly just keep quiet these days.

Anyway, there’s nothing original here. But it’s still worth repeating once in a while. The Republican Party and the Tea Party are pretty much one and the same now.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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