So-called party unity remains a fanciful notion, even this late in the campaign.
On the Democratic side, Sen. Bernie Sanders soldiers on. Three weeks before the make-or-break California primary, he faces static from rival Hillary Clinton’s backers — about how his troops behaved at a Nevada party convention and about who he puts on the national platform committee.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, is seen as an irritant to Sanders, who backs her Florida primary opponent Tim Canova.
Perhaps she’ll leave the post as part of some future truce. But that won’t come close to putting party members in lockstep.
One question for weeks has been whether those in the Sanders camp go over to Clinton when the time comes, or sit out the action, or even switch to Trump, who ridicules the candidate as “Crazy Bernie.”
In the likelihood that Clinton tops the national ticket, some of the infield chatter among Republicans is that that her presence could be a drag on down-ballot races, specifically in the most closely contested Senate races.
On the Republican side, Trump has no primary rivals left. Some of his detractors in the GOP have bowed to this longtime friend of the Clintons. Also, despite his boast of being self-funded, he says he’s set to start accepting contributions, which are bound to come from some of the usual donors.
But that’s a long way from party unity.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the last Trump foe in the primaries to quit, still talked this week about the billionaire’s negativity, scapegoating and willingness to “run people into the ditch.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan, the top-ranking Republican in Washington, has yet to get behind Trump. “There’s no update, and we’ve not told the Trump campaign to expect an endorsement,” a Ryan spokesman said this week.
Ryan has clashed with Trump on several issues. More significantly, the former vice presidential candidate from Wisconsin stands to be overshadowed, bossed, or even pressured out if the New York real estate heir wins in November.
Trump has a penchant for public mockery of those in his way. He’ll even humiliate a captured combatant such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. So expect resentment from swathes of loyal GOP activists for some time to come.
But that’s insider stuff. Most of the public will view it from a different perspective.
Seeing video of rowdy anti-Trump demonstrators waving Mexican flags may not do much to galvanize Democratic votes, but it sure prompts his admirers to chant “Build that wall!”
And don’t be surprised if Trump’s support from a so-called white nationalist or two gives some of those disposed to vote for the Democrat a bit of extra motive to show up on Nov. 8.
Party unity? If anything works, it may be the fear and loathing of giving the White House to the other guy’s party.