Trump: Demopocalypse 2016
By Sarah Grubb
I started off this election series, like most of you, assuming this Trump thing would die a quick death. And I also, like Jon Stewart, thought that Jeb Bush would be the nominee, and it might actually be interesting. Even though I definitely wouldn’t have voted for Jeb, at least I would respect him as a seasoned and qualified politician.
I was quite excited about Bernie for change, however, in all honesty, I just thought this country wasn’t ready for him. I was even disappointed with his self-declared representation of the Democratic Socialist. They should have called him something more like a Socially Responsible Democratic. Socialist makes a lot of the uneducated (and let’s face it, even some of educated) people run for dear life from the Commies – in this country at least!
After living in many democratic countries that are a bit more socialist leaning and seeing their process in action, running living breathing relatively successful economies, I definitely believe in it. I just didn’t think this nation of relatively proud gun totin’, capitalism dreamin’, civil liberty keeping people were ready for him. I really didn’t get on any Democratic bandwagon at first.
BUT I was definitely ANTI-TRUMP in a huge way. So before the primary, I re-registered in my new town as a Republican so I could vote against him. Unfortunately, it didn’t work.
He won every single county in PA in the primary. This, however, did not discourage me. It only represented those who were registered Republican, as anyone unregistered or registered Independent cannot vote in the primary (for you internationals).
After the Democratic Convention and Hillary sealed the nomination in a historic, albeit downplayed, moment as the first female ever to be running for president, I decided I wanted to get involved.
The Convention itself was held in Philly. My area has always been quite contentious. My County was even featured on Saturday Night Live with a skit where Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon acted as Mums from a nearby suburb. I watched 2 of the 3 debates and hilariously all 3 of the awesome cold opens that SNL did post the debates. I particularly liked the Alec Baldwin/Stephen Baldwin one.
I got involved with the Hillary For America team, although I have to admit it was frustrating. After lots of calls and even some meetings where people with her team no-showed me, I eventually was involved in calling people to get registered to vote, volunteer, and even canvass.
After the voter reg closed, I canvassed – this involves going door to door to ask people if they are going to vote for her if they know where they should go to vote etc.
I also canvassed for the Senate race in my state at the same time. I also volunteered to house a couple of her staffers at my house for the 2 weeks in the lead up to the election who were coming here to target Pennsylvania directly as it is traditionally a blue-leaning swing state with 20 electoral college votes.
Scott, Frankie and I immediately had so much in common, it was like I had known them for years. We all watched the news in the lead-up, felt much better about the responses we were getting and even were able to breathe a sigh of relief when Comey said ‘Oops sorry, nothing more in the emails’. Scott and Frankie headed back to NYC the weekend before the election.
I watched as 35,000 people went to see her the night before the election on Independence Mall right in central Philly. I took the day off on election day to help out a bit more and all seemed very positive to me. It was my first time ever voting in the country. NOT MY FIRST TIME VOTING, mind you. But first time here. I was even nervous about the voting machine. A friend and I had organized to watch the results come in together while we ate Indian delivery at my place.
As the night rolled on, it got scarier and scarier. I think my friend left at about 10:30pm. I stayed up until about 11:30pm. Went to bed, but didn’t sleep. When I turned it off, she was up by 80,000 votes in Pennsylvania (PA). The electoral college wasn’t looking good, but without PA being decided yet, it was still anyone’s game. I binge-watched several shows in Hulu.
My dad FaceTimed me at 1:30am, he said Trump was now up in PA by 1000 votes, which would force an automatic recount. So with that, I tried to sleep. Didn’t really work, but managed to sleep a bit. When I woke up, I assumed the news would be all about the recount, PA being up for grabs and REALLY deciding it. BUT that didn’t happen. Apparently, Trump had secured enough of a margin to secure PA. The front page of my local paper said TRUMP WINS! Probably the worst headline of all time.
I read about it, I watched some news, I kind of expected it, but I was stunned.
I honestly can say I was surprised I wasn’t more upset about it. I got in the shower and tried to start my day. I listened to WHYY (local National Public Radio) to hear their reactions. I was taking it all in, but maybe I just wasn’t hearing it right. Because suddenly, the lady whose voice I hear every morning very familiarly suddenly said ‘If you are just joining us and haven’t heard, Donald Trump is the president-elect.’ I totally lost it and collapsed in tears in the shower.
I kind of couldn’t stop for quite a while. I was really shocked and disappointed about PA. I had done a lot of ground work here, and I was just so surprised to hear this news. Ironically, those PA electoral college votes really do appear to have put him over the edge to win. She would have had a bit more ground to cover had she won PA, but he definitely wouldn’t have had enough without PA.
I drove to work, listened to all of it, and cried most the way.
Got to work and everyone just wanted to have a big debrief for about the first 2 hours. Of course, there are people in my office who voted for him who weren’t in our unofficial debrief. We watched her speak live online.
I, along with several other women, cried through a bit of it. She was inspirational and honestly, I felt the most connected to her at that moment than throughout the entire campaign. It probably had something to do with the fact that I was in shock, totally disappointed in the outcome, flabbergast that anyone in their right mind would vote for him, let alone him actually win, but I felt she was definitely a different lady that morning.
Lots of you texted me during it. I got a message from my realtor who is a first generation Mexican woman married to a woman expecting her first child who is currently so unsure about her future. I heard from all of my family checking in on how was to recover particularly in PA.
I heard from my mother’s cousin who also lives here whose son (who has 2 young daughters by the way) was very supportive of Trump although wasn’t sure if he would vote for him. I can’t imagine having such a divided family. I read all of my local results. She won my county 59%. She won Philadelphia County 82%. The senator I canvassed for Katie McGinty also lost, but she won my county.
So now it’s hard to know what to think. It is so confusing to know what to do. Going back to Australia comes to mind. Going back to school has crossed my thoughts. Getting involved somehow locally. Win the lottery and move to a private island. Marry a Canadian maybe??
Someone sent me a link to a Swedish guy who is Ebay-ing off himself to any American woman wanting an out. I know I will need some time to weigh up all the options. But I definitely felt the defeat hard being that I now call PA home. I wrote the following text to an Australian friend after she asked how I was:
My eyes are still glazed over. I bawled through her speech at work. I feel like someone will hit me, and I will wake up. It will have all been a horrible nightmare. And I really just want my mum and dad to tell me everything’s going to be fine. I am so worried about my house and even my job. He is such a crazy wild card. It is the end of the free world as we know it. I don’t even know what to do or think. I am a miniscule shadow of my former crazy confident self. It’s awful.
I am sure all of you are just as confused and upset as I am. When speaking to my brothers last night, we all want to know what these people really think is wrong and how they honestly think Trump can help. It is definitely more of a Brexit mentality than anything else.
That sort of urban vs rural idea of where the urbanites are relatively happy with the status quo, would like it to be a bit more progressive, but are generally happy with how things are travelling along. Where the rural livers for some reason are not happy – be it no changes at all, bad job prospects, costs of healthcare, difficult farming conditions or whatever. But I still don’t see how a man who has been rich for pretty much his entire life would be able to connect with these kinds of people, except in maybe a Hero type figure who will somehow make them all instantly rich by association.
My brother and sister in law and I had an idea last night. We are going to make a reality TV show about taking educated entrepreneurs into small towns with a large number of Trump supporters to help them turn their businesses around, hopefully in turn, making American great for those people too. Then, hopefully, us, the creators and potential hosts of said show, will become president someday too! Anything can happen in this the land of the free and the home of the brave.
The future of the Supreme Court is a bit scary. I hope that Ruth Bader Ginsburg stays there for at least his term. But she is getting old. There is already fear surrounding Roe vs Wade (the supreme court case which made abortion legal in this country) and potentially overturning the Same-Sex Marriage Act. Both of these being repealed would definitely have me seeking shelter elsewhere. With the house and senate going Republican it is possible, however, I do believe that quite a few Republicans are not all about Trump, so hopefully, that will help too.
So that’s the long version of what has been happening, what did happen, and how I feel about it all.
I may do another one of these once the dust has settled a bit. I don’t know what to say to my niece who specifically told me she wanted “Hillarwy to be pwesident, not that Twump.” Only time will tell. We will do the best we can to protect her and many other friends and family as this all plays out.
Feel free to contact me your own personal thoughts. I know it is not just an American issue. I just wish more of you could have actually voted. The world definitely would have picked Hillary. Trump knows it too.