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David A. Hopkins

Republicans’ Problems Run Deeper Than Candidate Quality

The GOP’s emphasis on cultural populism left it with less credibility to address Americans’ economic concerns.

Not his fault.

Not his fault.

Photographer: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Is it Dr. Mehmet Oz’s fault that the “red wave” expected by many Republicans didn’t materialize on Election Day? Did the Pennsylvania Senate candidate violate the physician’s Hippocratic Oath—“first, do no harm”— by inflicting severe damage to his own party’s electoral fortunes?

You might think so, given the tenor of many post-election analyses. One of the main storylines of this year’s campaign has depicted a dramatic tension between a fundamentally favorable national climate for the Republican Party on one hand, and on the other, a weak slate of individual nominees foisted on GOP leaders by misguided primary voters.