The big questions left in the Democratic presidential race are when Bernie Sanders will exit the contest and, relatedly, what he will extract by way of concessions from Hillary Clinton for doing so. Sanders has been relatively quiet about specific asks to date. But, in an interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Thursday, Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver seemed to suggest that getting rid of current Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz might be a necessary precursor to making peace between the rival campaigns.
Here's the key bit:
If the party's going to come together, the conduct that we saw from the chairwoman's office over the course of this campaign really is a sticking point for a lot of people out there who support Senator Sanders The millions of people who support Senator Sanders, they've seen the finger on the scale and they're not happy about it ...
... I think unity in the party would be much easier to achieve if we had a consensus, a chair who was committed to playing the traditional role that chairs of parties play, which is -- even when there's sharp elbows in a primary contest, the chair of the party is looking out for the broader interest of the party to make sure that the party can come together in the end, and we've seen repeatedly from chairwoman Wasserman Schultz that that's really not the role that she's playing.
If that's not an out-and-out ultimatum, it sure as heck is a hint at one, no?
Read between the lines of what Weaver is saying and you get something like this:
Wasserman Schultz needs to go before the convention. Or else.
The tensions between Sanders and Wasserman Schultz have been an ongoing storyline for much of the nomination fight. Sanders and, especially, his aides and supporters have seen signs for months of the DNC chair helping to further the interests of Clinton at the expense of the Vermont Socialist. Those private gripes broke into public following a skirmish between Sanders and Clinton supporters at the Nevada Democratic convention earlier this month.
"The senator's response was anything but acceptable," Wasserman Schultz said of Sanders following the Nevada incident. "It certainly did not condemn the supporters for the violence and added more fuel to the fire."
Talk about adding more fuel to the fire! What had been a bubbling cauldron of dissatisfaction turned into a volcano of unhappiness. And, Weaver's comments will only make the whole thing even more toxic for Democrats hoping to unite the party sooner rather than later.
If Wasserman Schultz's job is the price Clinton has to pay to win the much-coveted endorsement from Sanders, is she willing to do it? It seems like we are going to find out.