Could latest email scandal further divide the Democratic Party?

Delegates from the Mahoning Valley are hopeful the party will be unified by the week's end because they say they'll need it

Supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders cheer on their presidential candidates before entering a caucus site during the Nevada Democratic caucus, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Just days after Ted Cruz’s infamous non-endorsement speech in front of Republicans in Cleveland, Democrats have their own scandal to overcome heading into their national convention this week in Philadelphia.

“It’s almost like anything you can do, I can do better with these parties, you know?” said Dr. Paul Sracic, Political Science Chair at Youngstown State.

Leaked emails between party leaders forced the resignation of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Sunday, just as delegates were starting to arrive for the convention. This prompted plenty of speculation about the Democratic Party’s stability.

“This is the last thing the Democratic Party needed on the weekend before they start their convention,” Sracic said. “I mean, this is really, really an unusual year. It looks like both conventions are going to have a lot of dissension within them.”

Although he says it appears that Trump’s support is growing in the wake of the RNC, Sracic wonders whether the email controversy could further divide Democrats.

He says thousands of blue collar workers have already switched to support Trump, and young people who had been supporting Bernie Sanders may end up not voting at all.

“If young voters stay home, that’s sort of two primary parts of the Democrat constituency that looks weak going into November.”

However, local delegates are hopeful they will be unified by the week’s end because they say they’ll need it.

“It’s going to be a very, very tough general election and so we can’t afford that…inner team fighting,” said State Senator Joe Schiavoni.

To help shore up that support, Hillary Clinton will make one of her first stops as nominee in the Valley this weekend.

“This is one of the bluest of the blue areas of Ohio, the most Democratic areas of Ohio. The Democratic party cannot afford to lose a lot of those voters,” Sracic said.

He says to counter Trump’s bump in the polls, Clinton will have to give what he calls “the speech of her life” Thursday night as the DNC concludes. Sracic says both sides know whoever wins Ohio and Pennsylvania could win it all.

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