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Local Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders delegates reflect on experiences at Democratic National Convention

David Floyd • Updated Jul 28, 2016 at 7:37 PM

At the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, delegates have endured late nights, early wake-up calls and long bus rides.

But even mild sleep deprivation has not been enough to dampen the spirits of local delegates who are attending the convention this week. 

In total, four delegates from the 1st District are attending the event — two who represent Bernie Sanders and two who represent Hillary Clinton.

“It’s been wonderful and star-studded and inspirational and informational,” said Lori Love, a local Hillary Clinton delegate and the 4th District committeewoman for the state Democratic Party. “I can’t say enough good things about it.”

While the event has been exciting for local delegates, it has not been devoid of controversy. Before kicking off Monday, the convention was pre-empted by a torrent of leaked emails that some suggest indicate bias in the Democratic National Committee’s conduct toward Sanders’ campaign.

“The emails were not good,” Love said. “Any individual should not do that, and working where they did, that was totally wrong.” 

Love believes the DNC officials responsible for the emails should resign, but in her opinion, the issue has been blown out of proportion.

“It was not nice to do,” Love said, “but other than that, get rid of these folks, put on your big girl panties and move on.”

During the week, hundreds of protestors have appeared outside the Wells Fargo Center to express their dissent on a variety of issues. 

Amanda Florian, a student at Milligan College, covered the protests outside the convention Tuesday for Accuracy in Media, a nonprofit media watchdog that scrutinizes how the mainstream media covers various stories.

“People were traveling miles and miles just to come to this convention,” Florian said. “Some of them were definitely leaning toward Hillary Clinton, but others were really opposed to that idea, saying that they were never going to vote for Hillary. ... We even had some people who said that they were Bernie supporters and that they were now going to be voting for (Republican nominee) Donald Trump.” 

Florian said the protestors represented a diverse assortment of opinions and loyalties and included supporters of third-party candidates Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, as well as groups like the trans-humanist party. 

Bradley Batt, another delegate from district 1, voted for Sanders at the convention and said the events outside the arena have been much different from the events inside. That doesn’t mean, however, everyone on the convention floor has been absolutely pleased with the events onstage.

“I do think early on Monday night, a lot of the Bernie delegates were kind of salt-like,” Batt said. “The whole Monday night speeches were a Hillary show, and we felt a little sidelined because only two people spoke well about Bernie. One was the Bernie co-chair on the Rules Committee, and the other was Sarah Silverman until she went off script to kind of get a little dig in.”

But Batt said that, particularly after hearing vice presidential hopeful Tim Kaine and President Barak Obama praise Bernie, there have been signs of reconciliation. Batt is also pleased with some of the changes to the Democratic Party’s platform, which now includes policy positions that align with some of Sanders’ views. There has also been a significant reduction in the influence of superdelegates.

“While we’re sad that our candidate didn’t win,” Batt said, “it’s a consolation prize to some extent, and that’s a positive for us.”

Batt said there have been peaceful protests inside the convention, specifically in reference to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but overall, there has not been overt contention between delegates.

Batt said he has seen a litany of notable people at the convention — including New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and correspondents from “The Daily Show,” but his most significant takeaway has been the relationships he’s developed with politically motivated citizens of Tennessee.

“I had no idea what to expect,” Batt said, contemplating whether the event has met his expectations. “Just as far as how exciting it is and how interesting it is to watch the political process unfold, absolutely.”

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