Politics

The Democratic National Convention has begun in Philadelphia amid turmoil as DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to step down from her position and Bernie Sanders supporters protested what they called unfair treatment for their candidate.

Schultz’ resignation came in the wake of leaked emails that allegedly showed party staffers conspiring to undermine Sanders’ campaign.

Rep. John Yarmuth, a Democrat from Louisville and Hillary Clinton supporter, said Sanders supporters are venting frustrations and will eventually support the presumptive nominee.

“They’re going to prosecute the case that they think [Sanders] has a legitimate claim on the nomination, but ultimately they understand that Hillary Clinton is much preferable to Donald Trump,” Yarmuth said.

One of the leaked emails showed DNC Chief Financial Officer Brad Marshall urging “someone” to question Sanders’ Jewish faith during Kentucky and West Virginia primaries. In the leaked document, Marshall suggested that Sanders is an atheist and that Southern Baptist people would vote against him for that reason. He later apologized.

Republican Party of Kentucky spokesman Tres Watson said in a statement that “Marshall was somehow able to simultaneously mock and insult Southern Baptists, Jews and Atheists” in one email.

Clinton beat Sanders by fewer than 2,000 votes in Kentucky’s Democratic Primary in May. Sanders challenged the results by requesting a recanvass, but the new total yielded only 13 more votes for his campaign.

Clinton secured enough delegates during the primary election season to make her the presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party. Yet still, reports showed Sanders supporters booing at the mention of Clinton’s name during the first day of the convention.

According to party rules, Sanders won’t be able to secure the nomination. At the convention, each state’s delegation is required to have delegates vote according to the state’s primary election. For example, Clinton was awarded 28 delegates from Kentucky’s primary election and Sanders got 27.

Yarmuth said even without the nomination, Sanders won in some ways.

“He’s moved the party in some very impressive ways,” he said. “I think that combined with Debbie Wasserman Shulz’ resignation as DNC chair is about all that I think any Bernie Sanders supporter could ask for.”

Sanders’ bid pushed Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic Party’s platform to the left on some issues like setting the minimum wage at $15 per hour, free college education for most Americans and pursuing universal healthcare.

Delegates are scheduled to cast their votes for the presidential nomination Tuesday night.

Ryland Barton is the Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.