The California Democratic Party’s denial of its endorsement to veteran U.S. Senator, Dianne Feinstein (D-SF), at its recent convention in San Diego, was a slap in the face.

But reading too much into it would be a mistake and most voters were probably unaware it even took place.

Democrats are by nature a querulous lot who these days have little in that regard on their fellow Republicans. They have both descended into internecine warfare.

The fact is in the current over-heated atmosphere both major parties have declared unremitting war on each other and the internal feuding has also been heightened by the shock waves still reverberating from Donald Trump’s discomforting achievement.

Neither has so far come up with a formula that can put together the shaky yet mostly stable centralist coalitions which have defined American government at the top for decades.

Neither has yet produced leaders that can build the majorities necessary to form a broad and effective foundation of support necessary to unite the warring factions.

Hillary Clinton’s defeat was on many levels a testament to the bankruptcy of ideas which the Democrats put forward in the last election. It was not that they trampled on their message. There simply wasn’t one.

Republicans, surprising themselves, stumbled on to that message before they even knew where to look for it with a candidate who could barely finish a full sentence and rode him recklessly to victory.

Trump’s handlers were not interested in saving the party. They would just as soon see it destroyed if it cannot be remade in their own image.

It is this nihilistic agenda which set the stage for the tumult and dissension which has infected our politics at every level and begins to threaten some of the underpinnings of democracy itself.

There are no winners in this dystopian contest and as we careen from one crisis to another, many of the most reasonable voices are being drowned out.

Both Left and Right sense a moment to exploit these fissures and their fiercest partisans are not interested in settling for anything but total victory. If they have to sacrifice some of their party elders who have led them for the past several generations, so be it.

Sen. Feinstein’s lack of an endorsement is mainly a temporary glitch in the road unlikely to have much bearing on the final outcome.

California adopted the so-called open primary which gives every voter the same ballot.  But in Democrat-heavy California the only election that really counts is the general which features the two candidates with the highest vote totals.

Unless either Feinstein or her leading opponent on the left, Senate Pres. Pro-tem Kevin de Leon, are badly damaged these two will be facing off in November.

The Democrat gathering in San Diego was seen as a platform to raise the imagery of its Progressive wing which he represents as the newly-dominant force.  There much larger numbers and better organization at the conclave were enough to thwart Feinstein’s backers.

The much more serious challenge to California Democrats and nationally is the potency of the leftward tilt ignited by the “Berniecrats” who have little enthusiasm for politics as usual, are congenitally suspicious of traditionalists such as Feinstein, and will be pushing the party in a a direction that could spell doom again in 2020.

Under Newton’s third law, every action gets an equal and opposite reaction. Nowhere is that more applicable than in politics. Extremism begets extremism.

In 1964, Democrat President Lyndon Johnson administered what was then the largest landslide defeat in presidential campaign history trouncing the GOP’s Barry Goldwater, a conservative expounding views far to the right of the electorate.

What followed was an avalanche of civil rights legislation and other domestic reforms which has made the achievements of every Administration since look tame in comparison.

In 1972, the tables were turned when the arch-liberal Democratic candidate, George McGovern, rallied millions of youthful Vietnam War protesters to his cause and was rewarded by suffering a similar defeat which ushered in the Richard Nixon era and corruption on a massive scale.

The coming of the disorderly Trump presidency which has thrown all wagering on the nation’s political future into chaos is also a major inflection point for California Democrats and Republicans who must decide on which candidates can best lead them.

Feinstein, who has done more to push for a total ban on assault weapons than any other Senator, owns an issue which has catapulted millions of students and millennials into action after the horrific killings at the Parkland, High School this past week. They could emerge as a major voting bloc in coming elections if enough choose to vote.

She has also acquired high seniority, knows as well as anyone how the machinery of the Senate works, and would be a formidable foe in the event of impeachment proceedings.

But she also opposes single-payer health care, has taken some controversial stances on environmental issues, has favored stricter citizen surveillance measures, voted to extend the Patriot Act, tends to be more hawkish in her views about foreign policy, and has been more restrained in her condemnation of Trump’s antics—all hot button issues for party liberals.

On balance, Feinstein has been a dependable vote for California’s interests and a moderate voice willing to resist ideological skirmishes that could make here a less effective Senator.

The bigger question for California Democrats is whether they are ready for change and will see the stepping aside of an aging generation step  as a better means of countering a runaway and increasingly lawless presidency.