DALLAS – Election Night at the Republican headquarters of this Texas city was a bit boring at the start. The conference hall that had been booked for the result-viewing party was much emptier than that of the Democrats’ on the other side of town, and the Republicans looked a lot less enthusiastic than the Democratic volunteers who had come from all over Dallas to their event.
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But within a few hours, supporters of Donald Trump showed their rivals that despite all the polls and the ridicule they had suffered, their man had been elected the leader of the free world. In the presidential election, he who laughs last, laughs best.
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Drunk on cocktails and victory, Trump supporters began fantasizing about the day after.
“I feel great! I hope Hillary [Clinton] goes to jail,” said one supporter, who identified himself only as “a concerned citizen.” “[U.S. President Barack] Obama also knew about her secret [email] server, he also has to pay,” he added, saying that Trump would make sure of that. The moment Trump was declared the winner by Fox News, he poured himself a glass of champagne.
Sarah Baker and her husband were sitting in an embrace in front of the TV, wearing T-shirts bearing images of the American flag. At the start of the evening, Baker indicated that she was praying and keeping her fingers crossed for her candidate. Now she felt happy. “But mainly I feel hot, because they closed the air conditioning here to throw us out. But we’re not leaving yet,” she said.
In the euphoria of victory, the Republicans were laughing and dancing shyly near the round tables in the hall. “The country wants a change, the polls were biased by the liberal media,” said Roxanne Loveseth with satisfaction. “But Trump will bring back democracy and send people who have to go to work, to work.”
Nearby, two women were hugging and weeping with excitement, wrapped in a flag emblazoned “Trump 2016.” Middle-aged couples were holding hands and men were working the hall, slapping others on the back and shaking hands.
Diane Shearer, an older woman who was sitting at a secluded table, looked increasingly happy as the night wore on. She had come to the event wearing a pink blouse and carrying a matching pink poster that said “Deplorable and Adorable,” a play on the derisive term Clinton used for the hard core of Trump supporters. From time to time, she stood up, yelled “Yeah, Trump,” and waved her pink sign.
Shearer thinks that Trump’s first step as president should be to limit immigration to the U.S. “I’m pleased that we’ve succeeded in turning things around, that we can move our country in a new direction. Trump will take steps to restrict immigration, and also make reforms to welfare. There are people here who’ve been living on government handouts for years, while I, already retired, am working two jobs. They also have to go out to work.”
Shearer says that Clinton’s declaration that Trump supporters were “deplorable” deeply insulted her and she couldn’t believe that a presidential candidate offended her so much. “But as my mother used to say, when you’re given lemons, make lemonade,” she said, and pointed at her sign. “I think that Clinton created a monster that turned around and bit her in the backside.”
Shearer said tearfully that her mother had voted in the primaries, but did not get to see Trump become president. She died two weeks ago. “This victory is also for her,” she said.