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  • Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the DNC has seen Sanders as a rival since he made party reform a central rallying point.

    Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the DNC has seen Sanders as a rival since he made party reform a central rallying point. | Photo: AFP

Published 22 July 2016

Leaders of the U.S. Democratic Party did not take Bernie Sanders's campaign seriously, according to leaked DNC emails.

Bernie Sanders was the brunt of the joke behind the scenes of the Democratic National Committee, according to emails leaked by WikiLeaks Friday.

The 20,000 DNC emails reveal multiple exchanges where DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her staff share their exasperation with the candidate, who spent his final campaign month critiquing Wasserman Schultz’s biased leadership of the party.

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A few highlights from the trove:

The DNC’s national press secretary, Mark Paustenbach, wrote to Wasserman Schultz’s communications director Luis Miranda, “Wondering if there's a good Bernie narrative for a story, which is that Bernie never ever had his act together, that his campaign was a mess. Specifically, DWS (Debbie Wasserman Schultz) had to call Bernie directly in order to get the campaign to do things because they'd either ignored or forgotten to something critical.”

After Sanders’ campaign chair denied false claims of violence by the Sanders campaign at the Nevada state convention, Wasserman Schultz called the chair “scummy” and a “(d)amn liar.” When Paustenbach was contacted by the Boston Globe to comment on Senator Claire McCaskill’s critique of Wasserman Schultz, Miranda chimed in that “McCaskill has no backbone” because of her support for Sanders in the Nevada controversy.

Reacting to Sanders’ promise to stay in the race at least until California, Wasserman Schultz wrote to Paustenbach, “Spoken like someone who has never been a member of the Democratic Party and has no understanding of what we do.” Miranda simply emailed, “lol” while forwarding his boss an article on Sanders’s plan to debate in California.

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Sanders decided to endorse Wasserman Schultz’s challenger for her Florida seat, Tim Canova, a Sanders supporter. Donna Brazille, DNC vice chair for civic engagement and voter participation, answered, “How stupid. Don't know how to respond to Bernie anymore.” She also called an initiative in Maine to eliminate superdelegates “another lunacy.”

One of Sanders’ main initiatives to reform the Democratic platform was a more critical stance on Israel's occupation of Palestine. Wasserman Schultz, who has collected over US$10,000 from pro-Israel lobbyists this year, called his plan “disturbing.” Miranda replied that Hillary Clinton’s campaign saw his move on Israel “as an ideal issue to marginalize Bernie on.”

The chief financial officer of the DNC, Brad Marshall, tried to use Sanders’s religious views against him. Though he did not mention Sanders’s name, he wrote shortly ahead of the Kentucky and West Virginia primaries, “It might may no difference, but for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”

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