TWO KINDS OF INTRA-PARTY DIVISIONS…. There are clearly some divisions among congressional Democrats with regards to strategy — does the majority become more ambitious, generate some excitement, and rack up some key accomplishments in advance of next year’s midterms, or do they scale back, avoid controversial votes, and put the agenda on hold?

On the other side of the aisle, the divisions are just as obvious, but they have less to do with legislative strategy and more to do with ideological purity.

Republicans emerged from Tuesday’s elections energized by victories in Virginia and New Jersey, but their leaders immediately began maneuvering to avoid a prolonged battle with conservative activists over what the party stands for and how to regain power. […]

Despite Mr. Hoffman’s loss, many conservatives promised to press on with opposition to centrist Republican candidates. That vow intensified concerns among party leaders that the opportunities they see coming out of Tuesday’s results could be dimmed by intramural battles over whether to reach for the political center or do more to motivate the base on the party’s right.

The Washington Post added that the Republican Party “faces troubling ideological fissures within its ranks over how best to reclaim power.” The party base is feeling “emboldened” after losing in New York’s 23rd and intend to “fan out nationwide and challenge Republican candidates whom they deem too moderate or insufficiently principled.”

No matter how nervous Democrats might be about the electoral landscape, they can at least take some comfort in knowing that there’s a pitched battle in the works between the Republicans’ right flank and even-further-right flank.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.