Clinton, Trump: party unifiers


Texas Democrats are meeting in San Antonio this weekend.

They appear to be downright giddy about their chances in this election year. Then again, they proclaim their giddiness at every election cycle, only to be disappointed when the ballots are counted.

Do you remember when former state Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth ran for governor in 2014 and how Democrats said that was the year? It wasn’t. Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott thumped Davis by more than 20 percentage points.

That was then, Democrats are saying now.

They’re squaring off against a Republican Party being led by one Donald J. Trump as their party’s presidential nominee.

State Sen. Rodney Ellis of Houston asked convention attendees: “Can you really believe that they nominated Donald Trump?” Why, the delegates couldn’t get enough of the “good news.”

Trump is going to be the unifier the Democrats need to help them carry Texas this fall with Hillary Rodham Clinton at the top of their ticket.

But here comes the wet blanket.

Hillary Clinton is going to unify the Republicans, too.

There are differing dynamics, as I see it, working against both parties’ presumed nominees.

Democrats cannot believe that Trump — the huckster, reality TV celebrity, hotel and real estate mogul, thrice-married media star — is actually running for president of the United States of America. They dare not take him too lightly, and delegates are being warned of the risks inherent if they do.

Republicans, meanwhile, detest Clinton. They’ve been looking high and low for something that rises to the level of an indictment. They can’t find anything. They’ve hated her since her husband was president from 1993 to 2001.

I’m not going to project which emotion — the Democrats’ perverse joy or the Republicans’ loathing — is going to be the greater partisan unifying effect.

The major concern facing Republicans in Texas might not be the Democrats. It might be that their own party is showing signs of splitting apart because of their nominee’s own trouble within the party he wants to lead.

That, all by itself, might be enough to put Texas in play for Democrats, giving them a real honest-to-goodness reason for optimism.

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