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The Impostors

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The Impostors

How Republicans Quit Governing and Seized American Politics

William Morrow,

15 min read
7 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

The GOP once was a party of principled adults. No longer.

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In this takedown of years of Republican mendacity and partisanship, liberal media figure Steve Benen argues that American conservatives are no longer concerned with the serious work of running a country. On issue after issue, conservatives refuse to compromise. At the same time, he asserts, they resist making substantive policy decisions, ignore facts and peddle unfounded fear. Yet even as he chastises the right for its sins, Benen offers little in the way of olive branches or solutions. This book may appeal to left-wing readers, but will likely repel those on the right.


Republicans abandoned any pretense of governing long ago.

In 2017, with Donald Trump freshly inaugurated, Republicans turned their attention to undoing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – known as “Obamacare.” In March, House Speaker Paul Ryan promised that the Republican’s plan to “repeal and replace” the ACA would pass. However, the GOP had no clear path for its proposal, and the entire effort quickly collapsed. Ryan offered an uncharacteristically honest assessment of the party’s failure: “I think what you’re seeing is, we’re going through the inevitable growing pains of being an opposition party to becoming a governing party.” In other words, a party that had controlled the White House for eight of the past 16 years, and at least one chamber of Congress for 18 of the past 22 years, wasn’t prepared to govern.

It’s not just that the GOP isn’t ready to govern. Republicans are openly hostile to the basics of policymaking. Creating legislation requires careful study, intense reading and protracted negotiation. Yet Republicans in the Trump era ignore evidence and analysis. They’re wedded to simplistic, ideological slogans designed to appeal...

About the Author

Steve Benen is a political writer and blogger, a contributor to MSNBC, and an Emmy award-winning producer for The Rachel Maddow Show

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