Mitt Romney’s choice

He could settle into the rut of stale Republicanism, or he could help the party refresh its platform.

Mitt Romney faces a choice in his Utah Senate run: Will he be a candidate of complaint and complacency, or one of reform and renewal?

The easy route for Romney would be to settle into the well-traveled rut of anti-reform anti-Trumpism (only one of the variants of anti-Trumpism): Castigate the president for his failings in decorum and character before pivoting to the much more important question — how can we pass some more corporate tax cuts? The anti-reformist wing of anti-Trumpism doubles down on the tenets of a corporatist GOP while attacking the person of Donald Trump. While this might at first seem a safe strategy, it risks leaving its proponents without much of a political constituency. The personal attacks on the president lose much of the Republican base, and the platform of pseudo-austerity (slash taxes for the wealthy and cut entitlements for everyone else) has almost no support with rank-and-file voters outside the GOP (nor is this austerity agenda applauded by many Republican voters). Moreover, central to Trump’s victory in the 2016 primary was the fact that generic Republicanism was an exhausted agenda.