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E.J. Dionne explains why the Republican party’s populists and social conservatives never seem to gain traction in his column, “So Much For A Populist GOP:”

Members of the tea party insisted they were turning the GOP into a populist, anti-establishment bastion. Social conservatives have long argued that values and morals matter more than money. Yet in the end, the corporate and economically conservative wing of the Republican Party always seems to win.

Thus was Mitt Romney so confident of victory in Saturday’s South Carolina primary that he left the state briefly on Tuesday for a fundraiser in New York City. And why not? The power of big money has been amplified in this campaign by the super PACs let loose by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and lax regulation.

You cannot watch the morning news shows in this state without confronting an intricately confusing blitz of ads, some paid for by candidates, others by the supposedly independent PACs. One kind is indistinguishable from the other.

And the nature of the ads shows why it would be a major upset were Romney to lose here. Although Romney’s opponents direct some of their fire his way, they are spending a fortune tearing each other apart. Rick Perry’s backers take on both Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Ron Paul assails Gingrich and Santorum, too. Romney’s supporters have piled on with ads against Gingrich.

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Mehmet Oz

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Fox News is in attack mode after its own polling showed Republican nominee Mehmet Oz trailing Democratic nominee Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in the Pennsylvania Senate race.

The July 28 Fox News poll showed that Fetterman has an 11-point lead over Oz. Additionally, according to the poll, “just 35 percent of those backing Oz say they support him enthusiastically, while 45 percent have reservations. For Fetterman, 68 percent back him enthusiastically and only 18 percent hesitate.” These results, combined with data showing that Fetterman is outraising and outspending Oz, could spell disaster for the GOP hopeful. However, since this polling, Fox has demonstrated it’s a reliable partner to help Oz try to reset the race.

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For decades, abortion was the perfect issue for Republicans: one that they could use to energize "pro-life" voters, and one that would be around forever. What's more, they ran little risk of alienating "pro-choice" voters, who had little concern that the GOP would ever be able to repeal abortion rights.

Key to this strategy was the assumption that the Supreme Court would preserve Roe v. Wade. GOP candidates and legislators could champion the anti-abortion cause secure in the knowledge that they would not have to follow through in any major way. They could nibble away at abortion rights with waiting periods and clinic regulations, but the fundamental right endured. And their efforts were rewarded with the steadfast support of a bloc of single-issue voters.

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