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The right’s hidden victory: Ideologues win — even if GOP loses!

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll tells us what most of us already know: from an electoral perspective, the Republican Party's meticulously planned partial government shutdown has been a disaster. The poll results have - quite predictably - prompted much gloating and taunting in the Democratic Party's corner of the twittersphere and cable news universe. But lost in the red-versus-blue prognostication are two concrete - and lamentable - facts.

First and foremost, the trends documented by the new survey are hardly a huge problem for most of the Republican Party's powerbrokers. That's because the GOP is now a largely regional party that has effectively gerrymandered itself a separate country - one that is politically insulated from national public opinion.

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