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Convention chaos - this time for the Democrats -

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MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: This week's historic democratic convention in the US city of Philadelphia could be overshadowed by an email leak that shows party officials favoured Hillary Clinton over her rival Bernie Sanders.

Democratic National Committee head Debbie Wasserman Schultz has just announced she will resign after the release of more than 19,000 committee emails.

As delegates arrive to select the party's first female presidential nominee, thousands of Sanders supporters are promising protests across the city and many of his delegates are warning of chaos on the convention floor.

North America correspondent Stephanie March reports.

STEPHANIE MARCH: It's been several weeks since Bernie Sanders conceded he is unlikely to be the Democratic nominee for president.

That didn't stop Cliff Barney driving almost 4,000 kilometres from California to sell "Feel the Bern" t-shirts at a Philadelphia street stall.

CLIFF BARNEY: I've never driven across the country before. I've been working for Bernie all this time and although Hillary is going to win the nomination I still felt that the Bernie movement is going to continue.

STEPHANIE MARCH: Not far from Cliff Barney are Jeff and Jenny Marshall wearing matching husband and wife Bernie t-shirts.

JEFF MARSHALL: We're from North Carolina, Salem, North Carolina, and we are Bernie Sanders delegate all the way through.

STEPHANIE MARCH: How do you feel about Hillary Clinton?

JEFF MARSHALL: I'm not her biggest fan, I could say that. I think there's some issues. We've pushed her left this year in the primaries and it was nice seeing that, but I don't think we've gone far enough.

STEPHANIE MARCH: The Democratic party is struggling to present a unified front.

Leaked emails show party officials criticised and mocked Bernie Sanders during the primaries.

Many of his supporters are furious.

There will be almost 2,000 of his delegates in the convention arena demanding more progressive policies from Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party.

Bernie Sanders delegate Jenny Marshall:

JENNY MARSHALL: My view on democracy is that it is messy, and that for everybody's voices to be heard sometimes it's not a unity thing. And we are going to go forward with the democratic platform and we are going to try to make it as good as we can get, but if we do have dissenting voices they need to be heard because we are the democratic party and that's what we do.

STEPHANIE MARCH: Hillary Clinton will have high profile names spruiking her credentials throughout the week: her husband Bill, President Obama and Bernie Sanders himself.

Political columnist Michael Tomasky says she and they have a big task ahead of them.

MIKE TOMASKY: I think the main thing that she has to do, not with Democrats necessarily but with all voters, is try to do something about the fact that people don't trust her and more than 50 per cent in the spate of polls out here recently think she should have been indicted over these emails.

That's a really uniquely bad situation to be in. She is just fortunate that she is running against a person that a lot of people think of as a sociopath.

STEPHANIE MARCH: Some may think Donald Trump is a sociopath but he and Hillary Clinton are neck and neck in some polls.

She and her supporters will have to work very hard this week to convince the many Americans watching that she is the better choice for the White House.

This is Stephanie March in Philadelphia reporting for AM.