Forget the establishment versus the tea party, or social conservatives versus fiscal conservatives. Of all the tensions within the Republican Party, the dynamic that may loom largest for 2016 is this: Washington versus the rest of America.
Here in the nation’s capital, GOP speculation about the next presidential race focuses on a handful of federal officials: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
But to the community of Republicans based outside of Washington, there’s more than a little eye-rolling at the idea of choosing a nominee from inside the Beltway.
As the Republican Party seeks to recover from the debacle of 2012, few believe it’s the party’s congressional wing — locked in an endless cycle of budget battles with a popular Democratic president — that’s going to lead the conservative comeback.