So have at it democracy lovers. Because – and apologies to befuddled New Yorker cartoonists – not only does this contest feature ethnic diversity (though perhaps not the identity politics that work so well for Democrats), it features a wide range of substantive ideological disagreements, a rarity for any party in any era.
This week, for example, Rand Paul, the country’s first libertarian Senator, claimed that ISIS’s existence and strength was made possible by Republican interventionists. This triggered Bobby Jindal – a first-generation Indian-American, Rhodes Scholar, governor of Louisiana and likely presidential candidate – to shoot back that, actually, it was the dithering lily-livered weakness from people like Paul that allows ISIS to exist.
And here you were blaming it all on a bunch of Islamists.
Rand’s position isn’t exactly mainstream among conservatives, granted, but it does force Republicans to defend a foreign policy legacy and make a coherent case for future interventions. But can you imagine a comparable debate about, say, government interference in health-care markets or the cost of fighting climate change within the Democratic Party today? Not even socialist wingman Bernie Sanders –whose positions have gradually conflated with those of mainstream liberals over the past decade – can fabricate an authentic-sounding disagreement with the preordained candidate of the Left.*