What Republicans aren’t telling us in the midterms

Not many Republican politicians have felt any need to come up with a creative synthesis of the party’s pre-Trump principles and its Trumpian impulses. The result has been a party that is unsure of what it stands for even as it wields more formal power than it has in decades.

Republicans might be able to expand their ranks in the Senate without campaigning to do anything in particular. Perhaps they will even hold a slimmed-down majority in the House. But they will find, as they found in early 2017, that it is difficult to get the party working together on an agenda without having built a consensus before the election.

I am tempted to say that there is something, if not anti-democratic, at least contrary to the spirit of good government, in a political party so thoroughly abandoning the notion that it will tell us in advance what it will do if it wins an election. If it did that, voters would be able to judge its program in casting their ballots this time, and next time they would be able to look back and see how much of that program was achieved and with what results.