Some reporters—especially those who have never seen a mortar round fired in anger—love to describe politics as “war” and portray any contentious interparty dispute as a “civil war” or a “battle for the soul of the party.” Even before the November election, which sent a majority of Democrats to the House, our political war correspondents were filing dispatches from the purported conflict being waged inside the Democratic Party between the upstart progressives led by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the party’s establishment.

Presenting the clash in the combat terms, a bevy of recent pieces carry headlines like “There Is Going to Be a War Within the Party. We Are Going to Lean Into It,” “The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party Has Begun,” “House Democrats Get Ready to Fight Trump. And Each Other,” “How Democrats Can Avoid Turning Their Presidential Primaries into a Circular Firing Squad,” and “Will 2020 Democrats Help Trump by Destroying Each Other?” The image of a fracturing, fratricidal party likewise stands at the core of my colleague Tim Alberta’s recent piece, “The Democrats’ Dilemma.”