As Donald Trump appeared headed toward the presidency, what started out as a hopeful, even celebratory night in Democrat-dominated Washington turned toward despair.
As Donald Trump appeared headed toward the presidency in a stunning rebuke to pollsters and political forecasting, what started out as a hopeful, even celebratory night in Democratic-dominated Washington turned toward despair.
The Associated Press called Washington state for Hillary Clinton not long after the polls closed — she led 56 to 38 percent in the Tuesday count.
But the rest of the country appeared a lot more like Eastern Washington — nearly every county east of the Cascade Mountains voted in lockstep for Trump — than like the deep-blue Puget Sound region.
The state Democratic Party was serving blue vodka cocktails dubbed “The Madam President” at its election night party at the Westin in downtown Seattle.
As swing state after swing state began to tilt Trump, the crowd looked stunned. The mood grew darker. A brass band did little to lift the crowd’s spirits.
“We thought it would feel different at this point,” said Maggie Carr of Seattle.
Across Lake Washington, at the GOP event at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue, it was just the opposite.
“What you are seeing tonight is the anger in the country, the silent majority has spoken up,” said Kay Meyers, 72, of Mukilteo. “We will have a major change with Donald Trump.”
Many attendees wore stickers ironically identifying themselves as “deplorables,” in reference to a September remark by Clinton caught on tape at a private fundraiser.
Susan Hutchison, chairman of the state Republican Party and one of the few prominent Washington Republicans to wholeheartedly support Trump, was ebullient.
“We had no idea what would happen. We hoped and we prayed,” she said. “They took a chance on a guy they didn’t know instead of a woman they know all too well.”
Befitting a divided nation, AMC Theaters held partisan viewing parties in 25 cities across the country — Democrats watching in one theater, Republicans in another. At the pro-Trump theater, the AMC Southcenter in Tukwila, only eight people showed up. As the night wore on, and the pollsters kept being proved wrong, the Republicans’ cheers kept growing.
Anthony Catalfamo, 38, of Auburn, a materials processor at Boeing, was there with his wife, Alexes, 33.
“I’m a team leader and a union steward,” he said. “Almost everyone I know is for Trump.”
Trump famously called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States. Khalid Lites, an Army veteran and Muslim American, watched the results come in with his wife and three young children in his Shoreline home.
A Clinton supporter, he said he was alarmed by a Trump presidency, but dismissed the Muslim ban as a campaign tactic.
“If he wins office, obviously he’s going to have to change his rhetoric completely,” Lites said. “I’m compelled, not only by my faith, to show respect to one another, but also as an American. So I wish and I pray that in days to come we can try to find some common ground.”
At Fall City Firearms in Redmond, owner Lee Stallman favored Trump — citing his support of gun rights and his hard-line stance on immigration — but had been preparing for Clinton.
More than 100 recently acquired rifles cluttered the alleys of his shop. He’s been stocking up, anticipating a rush in demand if Clinton, who is perceived as anti-gun, was elected.
“He’s obviously boisterous and crass sometimes, but I agree with what he says,” Stallman said. “I told my wife, either we win politically or we win as a merchant.”
As the results came in, Emma Kates-Shaw started hyperventilating, in a near panic attack. She walked to Capitol Hill’s Wildrose bar to “to be with people who feel the pain like I do.”
She pointed at MSNBC’s electoral map.
“It’s like a blue exterior with a red interior, groups of people who aren’t even talking to each other,” she said. “We’re so, so divided now, we can’t even have a conversation.”