DENVER — The American flags came out just as their candidate took the stage on a large TV screen in a ballroom packed with plenty of Republicans who did not expect such a strong victory Tuesday night.
Nearly to a person, the men and women who came sporting “Make America Great Again” hats and red, white, and blue everything said they had not prepared for such a big win even though they wanted to wake up tomorrow in Donald Trump’s America.
Throughout the day, Sherie Addant, a nurse from Centennial, had stayed home feeling depressed about the polls showing a likely Clinton win. She thought maybe Republicans might keep the House and Senate. And while her vote in Colorado wasn’t enough to put Trump over the top in her own state, around the county the celebrity entertainer and New York real estate mogul began defying poll after poll in state after state after the sun went down.
At some point in the evening, Addant’s son, a police officer who was working the GOP’s event at the Tech Center, suggested she come down and check out the jubilant scene. Trump had won key swing states Clinton needed like North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
So Addant was in the room when Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman went on TV to say she wouldn’t be conceding the race and her supporters should get some sleep
“I think she’s probably a little verklempt,” Addant said of Clinton. “I think she’s probably having a seizure.”
As the Fox News Channel called each new state for Trump, the room filled with a chorus of “Trump!” “Landslide!” “U-S-A” and “Drain the swamp!” When a clip of Clinton from a few weeks ago briefly appeared on TV, a chant broke out of “Lock her up!”
At one point, an old man quietly approached the press table and dropped off a handwritten note with a wink before walking away.
“If/when Trump wins,” it read, “Tomorrow’s headline —> ‘Trump … who’da thunk?’”
Out in the hallway, Gregory Carlson, a 27-year-old community college math teacher, explained that he voted for Trump but figured he would likely lose based on the mainstream polls in the lead-up to the election.
He views the results as many Republicans did: A wake up call to the media, the pundits, the pollsters, and more importantly, the establishment.
“I believe tonight is Brexit 2.0,” Carlson said. “Where you have all of the polls saying Brexit was going to fail— and these are polls that banks and people have paid for— and then it turns out they underestimated the frustration of the public.”
As Trump took the stage on TV and began his victory speech, someone handed out American flags as women cried, men pumped fists clutching cigars, and drinks sloshed as cups toasted.
Colorado did not go for Trump, but enough of the nation did.
“As far as I’m concerned there’s no Colorado Republican other than the candidates who lost specific races that can be really be unhappy,” said the state’s GOP chairman Steve House. “Yes, we did not win the presidential race here, but we won a lot of races — and the country won.”
Photo credit: Ramsey Scott