Bernie Sanders Supporters Are Not Happy About These Leaked Emails

July 22nd 2016

Kyle Jaeger

A batch of leaked Democratic National Committee emails is deepening suspicions among Bernie Sanders supporters that the party was biased against the presidential candidate.

The emails, which were released by WikiLeaks on Friday, includes at least one internal conversation about exploiting the Vermont senator's alleged atheism to turn off Democratic voters.

Of the nearly 20,000 leaked emails, one stands out. It was sent to DNC communications director Luis Miranda from DNC CFO Brad Marshall on May 5:

"It might [make] no difference, but for [Kentucky] and [West Virginia] 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."

Though it's unclear whether Marshall's recommendation reflects a committee-wide agenda to undermine Sanders, it's certainly true that American voters are wary of electing open atheists. A 2016 Pew Research Center survey found that "being an atheist remains one of the biggest liabilities that a presidential candidate can have." Fifty percent of voters say they'd be less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who doesn't believe in god.


According to further reporting by The Intercept, other emails show DNC staffers complaining about the Sanders campaign's alleged lack of organization, with one staffer discussing the possibility of pitching a story about it to the media.

"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," writers DNC Press Secretary Mark Paustenbach in an email to Miranda.

"True, but the Chair has been advised to not engage. So we'll have to leave it alone," Miranda responds.

Here's how Twitter users reacted to the leak.

Emails concerning Sanders represent a small fraction of those released by WikiLeaks, however. Other emails offer insight into how the DNC communicated internally, how staffers interacted with journalists, and details about the committee's plan to defeat Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

The reason the email leak has struck such a chord among Sanders supporters is that the DNC is supposed to be an objective body that doesn't play a direct role in electing specific candidates. It's simply meant to coordinate the electoral strategy, develop a party platform, and formally nominate candidates.

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