The midterms are only six weeks away, and Republicans keep trying to find a midterm issue to run on. Since the fall of Roe v. Wade in June, anti-abortion messaging has become an election liability; South Carolina’s Republican senator, Lindsey Graham, tried to regain control of the narrative by introducing a 15-week abortion ban, but few of his Republican colleagues would (or could) get on board. Same-sex marriage, which recently hit a new approval rating of 71 percent, is another culture-war talking point off the table. And then there’s the absolute third rail that Republican Senate candidates like (most recently) Blake Masters and Don Bolduc can’t stop talking about—privatizing Social Security and Medicare—even though that, too, is wildly unpopular. Republicans seem to be in disarray.
The platforms of this Republican Party aren’t just unpopular—often, they seem nonexistent. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Policy wasn’t a focus of Donald Trump’s presidency; tweeting was. In 2020, Republicans didn’t write a new policy platform at all. But now, two policy-less years later, Republicans find themselves in an unenviable position: They need to figure out how to win a midterm with little in the way of an agenda, and not much Trump. Can the party of Trump win without Trump?
What does the GOP stand for? Even Tucker Carlson can’t answer that. In a segment praising the newly elected, far-right Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (or Girlbossolini), the Fox News juggernaut told his viewers on Monday, “House Republicans just spelled out what they’re running on—it’s a document called the ‘Commitment to America’ … Have you heard of it? No, you probably haven’t. You probably haven’t read it. Nobody really cares. Why? Because there is nothing real in it.” Congratulations House Republicans: You’ve lost Tucker Carlson.