It’s not that we don’t have the theoretical framework necessary. We can construct any number of well-formulated models with new forces in them. It’s just that there hasn’t been any experimental evidence requiring such forces, so it’s hard to motivate adding them.
Some additional background for the thread: If you postulate that a weakly-interacting massive particle (WIMP) is the dark matter, you can ask what properties that particle should have in order to match observations. Intriguingly, a particle with a “reasonable” mass[sup]1[/sup] and an interaction strength on par with the usual weak force[sup]2[/sup] works perfectly. This so-called “WIMP miracle” is the motivation behind the last two decades of direct searches[sup]3[/sup] for dark matter. From the experimental side, though, you can’t tell the nature of the force, only its strength.[sup]4[/sup] Thus, direct detection experimental results are generally presented without any particular underlying force assumed. This leads to plots like this one, where the possible dark matter particle is characterized by a mass and a “cross section” (i.e., interaction strength), and experimental data are shown as limits (or in the case of detection, preferred regions) in this plane.
As the limits on WIMP interaction strength get pushed lower and lower due to non-observation[sup]5[/sup], the simplest assumption that the particle is interacting via the standard weak force gets more strained, as you start having to explain why the force seems to be weaker than weak. Thus, in just the last few years, real attention has been directed toward dark matter models that are more complex, involving multiple dark matter particles and/or multiple new forces proposed. It’s not the wild west, of course – some semblance of pattern-matching with the “regular” particles is usually present. Indeed, we have a rich zoo of regular matter and regular forces, so why not a similarly rich “dark” sector of particles? Some folks are running with that philosophy and coming up with interesting possibilities and predictions.
In any case, the “WIMP miracle” has been, and still is, a strong motivator for a lot of the experimental effort, but other possibilities remain, including ones where the dark matter doesn’t interact with regular matter at all.[sup]6[/sup]
[sup]1[/sup]given what we know of the Standard Model and potential extensions to it
[sup]2[/sup]as in the Standard Model’s “weak force”, not just any weak force or gravity
[sup]3[/sup]“Direct” here is a special word, meaning “detect a dark matter particle interacting with a detector directly”. There are several other avenues for looking for dark matter (beyond the obvious gravitational one that is well established).
[sup]4[/sup]This statement assumes the detectors all use the same detection material. They don’t, so you can ask questions like whether the relevant force pays attention to the quantum mechanical “spin” of the detection material (nuclei).
[sup]5[/sup]barring the hints that have popped up here and there
[sup]6[/sup]Although, “not at all” sometimes means “so little that you’d never detect it directly”. If the dark matter particle can be produced via regular particles or can decay to regular particles, then you can generally detect it with a detector made of regular particles, although that detector might need to be of impractical, astronomical (literally) size.