One Month Later, I Can’t Stop Rehashing the Night We Got a Reprieve from Hell

The polls said it would be close, but she would win. So I decided to skip election results—I’d find out the bad news the next morning. Instead, I fidgeted all day long and into the evening. It was like knowing I’d be executed: Did I want to wait through my last doomed hours, or did I want it all to be over with right now?

Fortunately, my chorus rehearses on Tuesday nights. On the Metro a young woman got on carrying two signs: “I’m With Her” and “Clinton/Kaine.” Standing in the crowded car, she slumped over her phone with the Hillary signs propped up at her feet. I watched her as she busily texted. I usually pride myself on my ability to read people and their body language like books, but on that nervous evening my spidey sense abandoned me. I read into her frantic texting a kind of triumphalism: gloating on the phone with her gal-pals. I didn’t realize that the slump was already signaling desperation.

My chorus, like all arty groups, is likely 100 percent liberal, but they are all nice, polite people who don’t talk politics. And it was a relief just to focus on lines of music. During the break, they were all saying, “It’s really close,” and again, I couldn’t read them, or I would have seen on their faces what was already happening. The gal sitting next to me thumbed her phone whenever she wasn’t singing, and I glanced over just once. The phone said, “Trump, 44.” I thought that meant he’d gotten 44 percent of the vote somewhere—oh hell. What it was really saying, I later realized, was that he’d gotten 44 more electoral votes.

When I got home, I had a glass of wine with my husband. Then I said, “I guess I’ll go upstairs and find out what happened.” It was just after 11 p.m. I decided not to click onto Drudge or Breitbart, which I thought would simply be putting a good face onto very bad news. So I clicked onto the “cruelly neutral” Ann Althouse whom I trusted to tell the blunt truth. There on the screen was a post. It said something on the order of “NYT gives Trump 94 percent Chance of Winning.” There was a screen-grab of a New York Times graphic of a dial with the needle at 94 percent. So I clicked onto the NYT site, where the dial was oscillating as the millions of votes poured in. It went “94 percent, 93 percent, 91 percent, 95 percent.” Another oscillating dial tabulated electoral votes: “304, 305, 301, 303.” What??? So I shouted to my husband, “Come and look at this!” Then I clicked onto Drudge. His headlines were on the order of “Pennsylvania: Trump. Florida: Trump. Ohio: Trump. Wisconsin: Trump.”

Then I sent an e-mail to Diana West, the only other Trump fan in my conservative women’s group: “Is this for real? I don’t believe it—but oh, joy!” Then I went to bed. I woke up at 2:30 and clicked onto Drudge again. His headline now said something on the order of: “AP Calls It: Trump Wins the Presidency.” I woke up my husband: “He won, baby—he won!”

The next morning I got an e-mail back from Diana: “Thank you, America!”

Thank you, America.

Cross-posted at Stupid Girl

About Charlotte Allen

Charlotte Allen is a native Californian who has been writing for more than three decades about cultural issues for a variety of publications. She currently blogs for the Los Angeles Times and writes frequently for The Weekly Standard and the Wall Street Journal. She is a senior fellow at the Independent Women's Forum.

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10 responses to “One Month Later, I Can’t Stop Rehashing the Night We Got a Reprieve from Hell”

  1. I think is going to be one of those generational moments where you recall the detail of “where you were” when you heard…

    -Kennedy was killed (for us geezers)
    -The World Trade Center was attacked on 9/11
    -When you heard Trump won

    Now we just have to not squander what might be the last chance to rekindle freedom, liberty, and prosperity in America. That is Make America, America – Again

  2. I’ve watched the cable newscasts for that night over and over again on YouTube. The rush of excitement and disbelief, as well as the tears of joy, come fresh each time.

    Yes indeed – THANK YOU, America!

  3. I too didn’t know whether to watch or not. I had vowed to tune out of politics if the harpy had won, concentrating on making my life as enjoyable as possible and pretending that the Federal government didn’t exist. So I went to bed around 10, happy that The Donald was at least giving the harpy quite a fight. I knew that it wouldn’t be the harpy’s landslide as the MSM lickspittles had predicted.

    When I woke up in the middle of the night (2 AM ET), the desire to reach for the iphone was too strong. I clicked on the round button, and a text from a Conservative friend appeared. “This is amazing.” This gave me the hope and the energy to hop over to Safari, which I had already set to Drudge: there, I found a caddishly-smiling Donald above the caption “America has decided.”

    Indeed, I’ll never forget that moment and where I was.

    Thank you, America.

    • Sounds similar to mine, except I held out until I got to work and decided to check the online news quick before clocking in. I was expecting to see a razor-thin Hillary lead and was just wondering which states’ recounts would keep us in suspense for the next six weeks. To see that Trump had won outright, with that kind of margin – I was shocked. Wasn’t yet sure I was happy to have him as president (even though I voted for him), but was overjoyed to know Clinton wouldn’t be tormenting us for the next four years. Thank you America, indeed.

  4. Such a genuine response. Thanks for sharing. The joy is unlimited!

  5. Being out here in liberal la la land, I knew very few people brave enough to publicly state they were for Trump… have an aversion to getting my car keyed or attacked. So I kept quiet… but on election night I decided to turn on the TV (something I rarely do) and the talking heads on Fox were pretty much in disbelief… so I took a chance and turned on MSNBC. Oh, the schadenfreude I experienced was so delicious. I’m not sure whose reaction I loved more: Chrissy “Tingle Up the Leg” Matthews or Rachel Maddow. When I went to bed around 11:30 west coast time they STILL had not called it for Trump. In fact, Megan Kelly was like a Jack in the Box, constantly popping up from her desk in attempt to fill time as the hours dragged on. I left the TV on in the bedroom and surfaced around midnight (3 a.m. East Coast time) and listened to Trump’s acceptance speech. Yes, it was one of those moments I will long recall.

    • Hehe! I tried that but had forgotten which channel MSNBC was on. Oh well, the image of George Stephanopolous looking like he’d just been punched in the face 5 times was priceless!

  6. Great article. Similar situation: Bill O’Reilly has a ‘Tell’ ( he gets the exit polls early) and at 5:00 Central the previous two elections, he showed the ‘tell’ and I knew Obama won both times. Ruined it all. This time, despite absolutely confident Trump would win, I decided NOT to watch Fox at 5:00. On my way to an election party, I passed our living room and my wife had Fox on. I heard that doofus Dana Perino scolding us about Hispanics and how it cost Trump Florida. Damn! I said. We went to the party and I was really bummed…until I got a text from a friend in the know who said Trump would win Florida. They rest of the night was a total celebration!

    • I read that part of Trump’s reason for winning Florida were the influential and wealthy Cubans in South Florida, who will never forgive Obama for toadying to the Castros. 2016 has certainly been the year in which the unsparing goddess Nemesis has rewarded the good and wreaked her revenge on all the charlatans and smug liars who’ve bedeviled America for far too long. The Cubs won, Kaepernick lost, the MSM and Washington establishment, along with their coastal cronies, got kicked in the teeth … it’s an unmistakable pattern. It’s very hard not to gloat, so I’ve given up any pretense of even trying.

  7. I was never a Trump supporter. During the entire campaign, in many correspondences with assorted people who did support him, I only came across two, very late in the game, who could give me coherent reasons for their support. Most of them said things that ranged between, “He’ll be great,” and, “You’re stupid!” Nonetheless, with great reluctance, and after literally praying on my knees in the voting booth, I did vote for him. That night, I decided to go off my diet. If I was going to have to watch Hillary Clinton be elected president, By God I wanted comfort food, so I ordered some of the best fried oysters and onion rings in Texas from a little mom and pop place, run by a Pakistani family, in my neighborhood and settled in with FOX News. I heaved an incredible sigh of relief when they called Ohio for Trump.
    By the time they called Pennsylvania, and the election, about 2:30 in the morning, my relief bordered on joy. Hillary Clinton would not be president of the United States. I didn’t think it was possible. I had never been so happy to be proved wrong.
    Since then, Trump has proved me wrong again by assembling a responsible and genuinely conservative cabinet of people who not only understand policy, but how to get it enacted. My two greatest concerns over the last few months have been that Clinton would be elected or, if by some miracle trump won, that he thought all he would have to do was stand in the rose garden and do his Benito Mussolini impression and things would magically happen. Neither of those has panned out. I can’t say for certain what the next four years are going to be like, but I certainly feel better about them than I did when I ordered those fried oysters.