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Caucus Election Watch Turns from Hope to Despair

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Local LGBTs and supporters mourn Clinton’s loss to Trump.
By Brandon Wolf

Guests starting arriving at 6 p.m. on Tuesday evening, November 8, 2016, at Guava Lamp, near Waugh Drive and Memorial. It seemed an amusing irony that community nemesis Ted Cruz lived in the apartment building shadowing the club.

It was supposed to be a quick event, with Hillary Clinton becoming the first woman president of the United States, early in the evening. But the voting results left the community in mourning.

The first results coming in at 6 p.m. were all expected—either for Trump or Clinton. At 7 p.m., there was initial jubilation when the Texas early votes were reported, showing Clinton in the lead. The thought of Texas going blue delighted the crowd.

Florida, however, was already showing a tight race, seesawing back and forth. Other states began reporting in, as expected, for either Clinton or Trump. But the battleground states were showing a strong tendency of Trump in the lead.

Virginia was finally called for Clinton, lowering the tension level. But Michigan and Florida were changing back and forth between the candidates. Still, the battleground states had only small percentages of votes reported, and it seemed to give Clinton the opportunity to take a permanent lead.

By 9 p.m., the apprehension was palpable. Guests looking at their cell phones were receiving emails from friends not at the election watch, and one graphic with the words “I’m Terrified!” was starting to go viral.

Around 9:15 p.m., a drag entertainer arrived and headed into the dressing room. Meant to be a surprise when the election was called for Clinton, she stayed hidden. But after 10 p.m., when the race showed no sign of a winner, she exited to the small patio outside to smoke. At 10:30 p.m., it seemed a foreboding omen when she joined friends at a table inside the bar.

News commentators were buzzing with “This defies all the polls.” And a Clinton “path to victory” was being defined as more and more slim. Friends began to bid each other goodnight and head home.

The final election numbers were reported in the early morning hours. For those who woke up to the news of a Trump victory, the mourning in Montrose had only just begun.

  • 6:31 PM – Caucus members are ready to celebrate.
  • 6:35 PM – Mitch Rainey and husband Dan DiDonato still have reason to be in good spirits.
  • 6:50 PM – Already, the battleground states are showing trouble.  Clinton eventually won Virginia.
  • 6:54 PM – But the Clinton war room is still calm, noting that a lot of votes have yet to be counted.
  • 6:55 PM – But the tension is beginning to set in.
  • 6:59 PM – Waiting for the Central Standard Time zone polls to close in a minute.  Texas numbers are a surprise, showing Clinton ahead.
  • 7:01 PM – New Jersey is projected for Clinton.
  • 7:01 PM – Massachusetts is projected for Clinton, along with several other states.
  • 7:07 PM – Community ally, Jim Peacock, running for Chief Justice, First Court of Appeals, arrives at the election watch.
  • 7:13 PM – Community photographer Dalton DeHart stops at a table to take group photos.
  • 7:14 PM – Jim Peacock waits for local vote numbers to come in.
  • 7:18 PM – Clinton is ahead in North Carolina.
  • 7:26 PM – The election of Tammy Duckworth to the U.S. Senate brings applause.
  • 7:33 PM – Red, white and blue beads decorate the bar, but already the watch does not have the feel of a victory party.
  • 7:34 PM – Battleground states like Michigan begin their back and forth tug of war.
  • 7:41 PM – All eyes are on the see-saw battleground reports.
  • 7:59 PM – The crowd begins to grow, but the feeling of jubilation is not.
  • 8:13 PM – Florida and Michigan become the focus of attention.
  • 8:15 PM – Guests check their cellphones for the latest updates.
  • 8:20 PM – The election watch is being streamed to the Guava Lamp Facebook page, using this phone application.
  • 8:22 PM – A look at the election watch from Facebook.
  • 8:53 PM – Guava Lamp manager looks at Facebook comments.
  • 8:57 PM – The news is getting too bleak and one man lays his head on his partner’s shoulder.
  • 9:23 PM – The attention is all focused on the television screens, with numbers changing rapidly.
  • 9:23 PM – Guests are either checking out the monitors or their cellphones.
  • 9:37 PM – Personal emails are being read from friends not at the election watch.  A graphic with the words “I’m Terrified!” is going viral.
  • 9:37PM – One guest registers his reaction to the latest round of bad news.
  • 10:01 PM – The west coast polls close, and guests cheer Clinton’s electoral-rich California win.
  • 10:02 PM – But the battleground states are not holding for Clinton, and commentators are chattering about “a total break from the polling numbers”.
  • 10:23 PM – It’s down to the battleground states, and it looks like it will be early morning before the election can be called.
  • 10:24 PM – A drag entertainer dressed in red, white and blue was meant to be a surprise when Clinton won.  She finally joined friends for a drink.    It was the beginning of the end.

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Brandon Wolf

Brandon Wolf is a regular contributor to OutSmart Magazine.
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