The Democratic Party is nearly as old at the Republic and occasionally it has split. Before the Civil War it divided over the slavery issue; about ninety years later on Communism and segregation. As we approach the election year of 2010 another fundamental issue, again based on freedom, threatens to split the Democrats.
The debate over socialized health care, including provisions that will criminally pursue individuals that choose to not purchase insurance, has split that party between those that believe in traditional liberalism and European style left wing socialism. Traditional liberals belive in capitalism, freedom, and rights. Left wingers want to fundamentally change this country into something alien.
Even in West Virginia, those that have supported Pelosi find themselves in trouble. Not only have strong Republicans emerged to challenge for the first and third districts, but also formidible Democratic challengers. They agree that supporting Pelosi and her anti West Virginia, anti freedom agenda has made the incumbents weak. Unlike 2008, they will have a much harder time defending their seats than Shelley Moore Capito who has consistently stood for freedom. Certainly she and the governor have been united in their opposition to Obama's War on Coal.
Conservative Democrats are not Republicans and they will be the first to tell you that. It is more likely that they will either simply vote GOP or form a splinter group to demonstrate their unhappiness with the national leadership. Either way, the next two elections will reflect a lot of anger against left wingers.