Some voters Wednesday expressed shock, but others weren’t surprised.
Surprise. Shock. Fear. Hope.
The idea that Donald Trump will lead our nation as its president settled in among Puget Sounders Wednesday morning along with a November rain shower and gray skies.
The rain had been forecast. Trump’s win had not.
That left voters grappling with myriad ideas on what that might mean for the country — and conflicting emotions.
Carly Derrick was walking her dog, Birdie, downtown Wednesday morning, and feeling disappointed. Derrick said she felt nervous all day Tuesday. Then the results began to pour in.
“I wasn’t someone who felt Hillary was the lesser of two evils. I was proud and honored to vote for her,” she said. “I’m really shocked. I feel like in Seattle I’m in a bubble, but I don’t know anyone personally who voted for Trump.”
Derrick works in early childhood education and in communities with refugees and immigrants. “I have a heavy heart going to work this morning,” she said.
She found no comfort on social media or national news stories last night, but Birdie provided her some solace.
“We did switch to local news (last night) to see some silver linings there,” she said. She was happy to hear Mayor Ed Murray speak and support diversity.
In Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood, Tawanna Simon said she was “shocked … but strangely unfazed” Trump won the presidency. She and her husband, Willie Simon Jr., moved to Seattle in February from Georgia. They both supported the Green Party this election.
Yet Tawanna said she sees Seattle as improving, despite the election results.
“Being out here, it’s kind of refreshing, hopeful, even with Donald Trump as president,” she said, adding that Seattle must focus on tackling issues here, such as homelessness.
Willie Simon Jr. said he was not surprised by the result of the election.
“Donald Trump tapped into something. White men have been taking the back seat ever since Obama was elected,” he said, noting the loss of blue-collar jobs in many states.
He said he hopes Trump will bring the country together as he promised in his victory speech Tuesday night.
Even Trump supporters were surprised at the victory.
John McDonald, of Edmonds, an insurance broker who voted for the winning candidate, was waiting for a ride at the University of Washington light-rail station after arriving home from an early morning flight.
“I don’t think it’s the end of the world, but I think he’s got a lot of work ahead of him,” he said.
“It’s not going to be Armageddon; it’s not paradise … It’s going to even itself out.”
McDonald said Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s “entitlement to that job was just too great.”
McDonald said Trump “may fall flat on his face, but he’s made it a lot further than anyone expected.”
Reaction from civilian employees and military personnel waiting to get through the gate of Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton on Wednesday morning were decidedly mixed.
Paul and Ella Rohrer were among the ecstatic.
“We’re happy! He doesn’t seem corrupt and it seems like he will take care of veterans,” said Paul Rohrer, who retired from the Navy and works at the shipyard.
“And our Second Amendment rights are safe!” said his wife.
“Congratulations to him,” said Clayton Meyer, who supported Trump. “I’m excited.”
Joe Elder, a shipyard employee, said he was not a super strong Trump supporter, but he was glad to see him win anyway. “I’d rather have him than her,” he said.
A black female sailor, who did not give her name, said she was “very disappointed.” And another woman, who also did not wish to be named, was near tears. She said, “We just elected Adolf Hitler.”
Others were more philosophical.
“It’s pretty wild and a little scary, but maybe it’s time for a change,” said Steve Jones.
Mujaahidah Sayfullah, an Army veteran and Muslim American who served in Operation Desert Storm, was not concerned about Trump’s proposal to ban Muslim immigration to America. But her son and daughter were.
“It was disheartening to hear them say they were afraid, ‘oh my gosh, Trump is getting elected, are we going to have to leave?’” said Sayfullah, 48, of Puyallup. “I definitely had to reassure him last night that everything’s OK, don’t worry, nothing’s going to happen, we’re not going to wake up to Armageddon. That was kind of sad.”
She said she was shocked at Trump’s victory, but at the same time knew it was a possibility.
“He was honest about his agenda, as messed up as it may be,” Sayfullah said. “And people like honesty.”
On Election Day, Gabriela Quintana spoke hopefully of the first woman president and the progress she could make in closing the Latina wage gap.
The day after, Quintana, 48, a consultant for nonprofits and a Clinton campaign volunteer, said she was disappointed, surprised and horrified.
“We didn’t, in general, recognize the real divide that the U.S. has,” said Quintana, who emigrated from Mexico three decades ago. “People who voted for Trump really felt disenfranchised by somebody and I think we didn’t really recognize that in a timely manner.”
Trump’s hard-line stance on immigration concerned her, even if she felt dubious that he would be able to follow through on his promise to build a wall at the Mexico border. She worried about what her 5-year-old son would hear.
“People who have worked so hard to be here are going to find it harder to stay here and raise the children they’ve been raising,” Quintana said. “I think people should be very afraid of staying here and being here. We’ll encounter even more animosity; I think this new president-elect will have given permission to people to speak in the way he does.”
She worried that America would become a much more difficult place for Latinos and Muslims. And yet, despite her demoralizing message, her voice was confident, upbeat.
“We can’t walk around with our head down. Maybe today we can,” Quintana said. “But we have to pick up. I think America will hang on. Give us a day or two, we’ll be OK.”
“It’s going to be OK”
At a coffee shop in Rainier Valley that’s frequented by African immigrants and other people of color, there was a subdued atmosphere. People were talking about the elections, but not in passionate voices.
Negussie Gebremariam, a taxi driver, leaned forward and whispered, “Who are the people who voted for him? Nobody will admit it.”
His friend, Abebe Alemayehu, talked about his 8-year-old son, who cried much of the night.
“He’s scared and his Mexican classmates are scared. He asked, ‘Why did they pick that rude man?’ ”
Michael Neguse was angry. He said election results and the campaign were a form of “psychological warfare against people of color.”
“I would rather see people wearing their Ku Klux Klan hoods so we would know who they are,” he said.
But there were also many who offered words of patience and comfort.
“I think we’ll do fine,” said Habtom Hagos, who immigrated to the U.S. from England in 1980. “You never can tell. I don’t think he is a racist; I think a lot of what he said was to appeal to his base. … It’s going to be OK.”
“Roll with the punches”
In downtown Seattle, Lisa Catalano, a Clinton supporter, said calling Tuesday’s results a “surprise” was an “understatement.”
She said she felt “anxious” about her retirement, her future and her family’s future.
Trump’s comments on immigration and women’s rights troubled her.
“He’s probably one of the first presidential winners since I’ve been able to vote I actually feel I have no respect,” Catalano said.
Bainbridge Island retiree Anne Tilly was born in Bellingham in 1915, five years before women got the right to vote.
She voted for Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She was an elector for Hubert Humphrey at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
On Election Day, she could barely contain her excitement at Clinton’s historic candidacy.
“Whoever dreamed that I would vote for a lady for president of the United States of America?” she said, from her retirement home on Bainbridge Island. “Never, ever, ever.”
If Clinton won, she didn’t have a big celebration planned.
“I’ll just say a little Swedish prayer,” Tilley said. “Tack sa mycket Gud.” Thank you God.
But the next morning, she took defeat in stride.
“We roll with the punches,” Tilly said. “I’m disappointed, terribly, terribly, but we’re going to back our president 100 percent.”
Statewide, 56.3 percent of voters supported Clinton. In King County, it was 73.9 percent in support of the Democratic nominee.