2016 Election

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


- December 8th, 2016
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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

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