By way of an answer to this question, here's something I wrote in a previous comment thread some while back. I was just thinking on this topic again recently and thought it worthwhile to bring out again here:
Democratic politics is competitive, not conflictual. It is based upon the pluralism of competing interests working towards compromise. Hardly anyone is ever completely satisfied with the outcomes of a pluralistic and competitive democratic process, but all should be able to live with what the outcome produces. A politics of "conflict" implies a winner-loser scenario where to the victor go the spoils and to the guillotine go the losers. A democratic politics of competition implies a winner-loser scenario where the loser has to buy the beer, but where we all still get the pleasure of drinking the beer together when the game is over and washing away whatever animosities or grudges the competition might have produced.