Washington Gadfly

Newsflash: Some Hillary Voters Hardly Distraught Trump Won

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Evan Gahr Investigative Journalist
Font Size:

Donald Trump, just like Adolph Hitler, was democratically elected. So it is, of course, only a matter of time before he does his own little Reichstag Fire to usher in total fascist rule. Instead of fretting, maybe folks should just go with the flow.

After all, if even CAIR could be conciliatory, then other groups could try to find common ground with him. Since Trump is surely going to suspend the Constitution, skilled practitioners of the uniquely Washington art of triangulation should offer up some First Amendment infringements to satiate his authoritarian impulses without impeding honest political discourse; might even help it.

Here is one possibility given the spectacle that unfolded among the chattering classes even before the polls closed: journalists are heretofore barred from expressing any opinions on television about any topic unless they’ve personally done their own reporting on the matter. Otherwise, why should anybody care what they say anyway?

Reporting is defined under First Amendment emergency suspension decree to mean asking other folks what they think, not telling them how to feel because you’re such an awesome and impassioned writer — even if your writing and impassioned television commentary has little bearing with reality.

Kind of like what went down starting around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday morning until the election was finally called for Trump.

As television talking heads of both political varieties competed among themselves to offer the most shock and horror and fear of Trump’s likely ascendancy to the president, interviews with actual Hillary voters — including some watching or half watching the cable loudmouths — gave a different impression.

At bars and on the nearly-deserted streets of downtown Washington, they just wanted to unwind after a long day and go back to work Tuesday morning. They seemed less disappointed in Hillary losing than your average sports fan does his favorite team falling short.

Wait? Why was a guy with a steno pad busting into their conversations and asking all sort of questions anyway? He wanted to know if they agreed with television commentators that Trump is some kind of fascist menace?

WTF? Why would anybody think such a thing?

“I don’t think it [Trump’s presidency] is going to be good or bad,” explained a 20-something black man. The self-described property manager seemed more interested in the woman seated across from him at a restaurant bar then the overhead television screens.

Does he think Trump is racist? No.

He might have “racist tendencies,” but so do lots of people, the man explained. Interesting distinction. You don’t get those kind of nuances from all the white writers at Huffington Post who felt complained to include a warning about Trump’s obvious racism and xenophobia with every campaign article about him.

At the Capitol Hilton on K Street, even official election observers from Argentina seemed kind of bored as they watched CNN in a corner lounge. Kind of interesting since Trump is supposedly such a menace to the entire world. “It’s your election,” the group’s apparent leader said when asked what he thought of the outcome.

Why were they looking at the television with such amusement? “We are laughing at how biased” CNN is, he explained. “We know what we are watching with CNN. They hate Trump.”

At the nearby hotel bar, an older man who sounded and looked like he was from Latin American country but was not with the Argentinean delegations, was buttonholed as he started to leave the nearby bar area with a Latino woman. Was he worried about Trump since everybody says he is so anti-Latino?

Just let me have a cigarette first, he pleaded. Then I’ll talk to you.

And so it went with others who don’t get paid to accuse Trump or anybody of racism.

Another black man stopped near the hotel, around 1:30 a.m., with his two fellow electricians and Hillary voters, seemed rather befuddled when asked if he was frightened by Donald Trump winning the White House.

“No worries at all. The president doesn’t make any decisions,” he said.

Pressed for clarification, his buddy politely demurred. “We’ve been at it [working] all day, man.”

Around 2 a.m., a black college student who said he worked for the federal government, stood with his friends outside a just-closed bar. The television inside was blaring the news that John Podesta was making an announcement soon. The student was trying to get an Uber to go home but reluctantly agreed to share his feelings.

“Melvin,” a staunch Democrat who voted for Hillary, sounded more like a journalist than most journalists, offering a dispassionate analysis that raised basic skeptical questions. “We know what Trump says, but what does he really think? What does he actually stand for? I’m unsure.”

The only stereotypically shrill Hillary supporter encountered early Wednesday morning was an American University student headed with friends to the White House demonstration. And even she would have been way off message for MSNBC.

How did she feel about the election results? “Donald Trump is a rapist!”

Uh, isn’t Bill Clinton a more credibly accused rapist?

Yes, she readily conceded. But the ex-president was not on the ballot!

The most revealing conversations of the evening were with two avowed Trump supporters, both black, outside the popular Sign of the Whale bar on M St.

Trump’s supposedly racist attacks on illegal immigration really resonated with them. Maybe Van Jones can explain if they were part of what he was calling the “whitelash” for Trump.

One man, who said he is an under-employed electrician subcontractor, resented having to compete with illegal Latino immigrants for work.

Another, who looked remarkably similar to Dick Gregory, had a twinkle in his eye, except when sheepishly explaining he was recently released from 28 years for a crime he declined to name.

But the ex-con, trying to move forward, also expressed contempt for illegal immigrants, claiming they were hindering the employment prospects of real Americans. He also expressed considerable affection for Trump.

Quite expansively.

Then he cut the conversation short.

“Dick Gregory” didn’t really care what America would look like in the morning. He needed to go back to trying to find a safe place to sleep for the night.