Fillon and Copé must hate each other with a passion to have chosen the suicidal course that is undermining both of them and their party with it. In normal times, one assumes that political passions run across party lines. To be sure, Sarkozy threatened to hang Villepin from a butcher's hook, and the Right has numerous fratricidal episodes in its past. Those seemed different, however, because the protagonists were heavyweights. Fillon and Copé are still politicians of the second rank hoping to make the passage upward. Perhaps that's why their contest is so bitter. Others are calling for a new vote, and the result might indeed be different, because so many militants are disgusted with the leadership that they might sit this one out, if they have not already resigned.
Curiously, the PS treated us to a similar spectacle a few years ago. Few now remember that in the leadership contest to succeed Hollande, Aubry and Royal ran neck and neck, and, then as now, there were widespread (and credible) allegations of fraud. Yet eventually Royal withdrew. She seems to have been promised nothing for her sacrifice, and to have gotten nothing, although we can't be sure that there wasn't a deal involving DSK and Aubry, in which Royal would have gotten a ministry under a DSK presidency. But any such deal would have been rendered moot by subsequent events. The problem for the UMP is that Fillon has already served as prime minister for five years. The only job he wants now is the top one, and Copé is not about to give it to him.