A hacker's new data leak of files stolen from the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) network reveal that party leaders had been committed to presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton from the very start of the primary process.
Leaked on June 16, an internal document from the DNC used language that suggested the committee had been planning for Clinton to be the party’s standard bearer a year before she clinched the nomination, the New York Post reports.
The documented was issued on May 26, 2015, and outlined “our goals & strategy … [to] provide a contrast between the GOP field and HRC.”
Using the initials for Hillary Rodham Clinton indicates that the DNC was preparing for a general election fight based around her strengths and weaknesses well before voters had the opportunity to pick a nominee.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont had just entered the primary race a month before the document was allegedly written.
The document was leaked by Guccifer 2.0, a hacker who had reportedly hacked into the DNC database. The original author of the document is not listed.
While the leak confirms that the DNC strongly favored Clinton and had assumed that she would win the party primary, it does not provide any evidence that the committee had actually manipulated the primary contests to hand victory over to the former Secretary of State.
The document also confirms the already widely held perception that the Democratic establishment wanted Clinton as the party nominee. Superdelegates, or party officials who are allowed to vote for whichever candidate they want, came out in large swaths in favor of Clinton before a single popular vote was cast.
Clinton ultimately won 3.5 million more raw votes than Sanders in the Democratic primary, as well as nearly 400 more pledged delegates. She even prevailed in more open primaries -- contests where Independents could cast a ballot -- than Sanders, according to TIME.
What the data leak does provide is a strong vindication of the Sanders campaign’s argument that the DNC leadership should be replaced. The Vermont senator has repeatedly called for the ouster of the DNC Chair, Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida.
“Number one, I do believe that we have to replace the current Democratic National Committee leadership,” Sanders announced while outlining his priorities for the DNC platform June 14, according to Breitbart.
“We need a person at the leadership of the DNC who is vigorously supporting and out working to bring people into the political progress,” Sanders added.
Sanders surrogate Ben Jealous, the former head of the NAACP, agrees that Schultz should be replaced as a way to rectify the DNC’s favoritism toward Clinton. He also believes that the DNC chair has failed at energizing voter turnout.
“There are lots of valid reasons to question Schultz’s leadership, including how the DNC conducted itself during the last primary election season,” Jealous said. “However, what is just as concerning is how the party has performed in general under her leadership.”