The dynamic threatens to undermine Biden’s effort to use the vice-presidential search to spotlight some of the party’s brightest female stars during the highly public vetting process. And it’s already providing President Trump’s campaign an opening to dig up dirt and launch attacks on potential rivals.

“It’s been relentless. It’s been unfortunate. But I must say it’s been predictable,” said Donna Brazile, a former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee. “It’s extremely disappointing, because many of these attacks . . . are being made by Democratic men who should know better.”…

Several people interviewed said the delay has intensified currents, many of them sexist, that have been swirling for weeks. The resulting backbiting risks inflaming divisions within the party that complicated the 2016 campaign — but that Biden has worked to coalesce since locking down the nomination in the spring…

“It bugs me that people want to pit these two Black women against the other,” said Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), a key Biden confidant, referring to the burgeoning Bass vs. Harris narrative. “Nobody is trying to pit Sen. Elizabeth Warren against [Michigan Gov. Gretchen] Whitmer. And both of their names are being mentioned every day as being in the search.”