Why is the GOP's civil war so civil?

Democrats hoping for primary fireworks are still holding out hopes for Iowa and Georgia, where close races could lead to a runoff, though in Georgia the fringe candidates are at the back of the pack. Democratic strategists also argue the lack of public intraparty spats means that the most conservative viewpoints have been thoroughly internalized, making the winning candidates vulnerable on issues from the minimum wage to Medicare, where they say Republican orthodoxy is out of step with general-election voters. Maybe, but in these coming fights, Democrats will be debating GOP candidates who can build a winning coalition, raise money, and have political experience. That’s an improvement.

The Republican Party has not banished its pressing internal debates. Immigration, Common Core education standards, and the role of U.S. foreign policy overseas can still stir a rousing argument. But these arguments are not controlling the Republican primary process. Yes, GOP elites and grassroots conservatives are claiming victory in their struggle against each other. Ideological warriors are always claiming victory, and they believe the stakes are real. Plus, claiming resounding victory is good for fundraising. But for those who were rooting for both sides to lose in a fit of chaos, there hasn’t been much to cheer about yet.

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