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I don't seem to understand the exact meaning of "if anything else" in the beginning portion of the sentence below. I think I could use your help to understand what it actually means.

If anything else, the government's job is to protect the safety and health of our citizens.

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    I do not think the "else" belong there. The idiomatic expression is If anything google.com/search?q=define+%22if+anything%22 – mplungjan Oct 29 '14 at 9:59
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    As such it is a duplicate: Meaning of if anything – mplungjan Oct 29 '14 at 10:10
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    This looks like the author mixed up two expressions: if anything and if nothing else. I wouldn't be surprised if it catches on as yet another sentence that does anything but express the speaker's actual intention, like "I could care less" :( – oerkelens Oct 29 '14 at 10:16
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The writer has been too liberal in his/her idiomatic usage. (as @Oerkelens states, mixed up)

If anything ,the government's job is to protect the safety and health of our citizens.

Reference: If anything, If at all

The closest meaning I can think of for it is “if at all”.

 The idiom “if anything” is used to convey the sense that someone or something is 
 different when the speaker isn’t absolutely sure if there really is any change or 
 difference.
  • I believe this was already all covered in the comments. Also it is a duplicate so already has an answer – mplungjan Oct 29 '14 at 12:24
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If the object of the sentence is to define the bare minimum of the duties of a government, one could write: "If nothing else, it is the government's job to protect the safety and health of its citizens."

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