The purer the party, the smaller the party

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Over the protests of some of its leaders, New Hampshire's Republican Party is continuing its move from a big tent to a pup tent for true believers. Officeholders who break with even one of the ultraconservative orthodoxies of groups like the Republican Liberty Caucus, or buck House Speaker Bill O'Brien, have been targeted for defeat; many lost in their primary elections this month.

That's bad news for the Republican Party, fans of civility in politics, and citizens who don't want the state's agenda determined by outsiders with bottomless pockets.

Last week, Monitor State House reporter Annmarie Timmins chronicled the purge of moderate Republicans carried out by the state chapters of the Liberty Caucus, Americans for Prosperity and other groups supported by the billionaire Koch brothers. Gun-owners groups, right-to-work organizations and anti-tax coalitions also identified Republicans who disagreed with their position on issues dear to them.