Seeing out the US election from a house in the South West of England
The Time: Evening on Tuesday the 8th of November 2016.
The Place: Dawid’s Flat.
The Scene: 5 white boys (and Sade) sit readying themselves to stay up through the night watching the US election coverage, praying the Americans don’t fuck up. The Pizza has been ordered, jokes are being made, and everyone’s anticipating a fun, if slightly nail-biting night of watching Donald Trump get thoroughly creamed by Hillary Clinton.
And for while, we all maintain the delusion that it’ll go that way. Even Jake, who months before had predicted a Trump win (at the same time he predicted Brexit and David Cameron’s resignation) has changed his stance. The first few states aren’t a surprise, and even if Trump is in the lead at first, no one’s worried. Then more states fall, and the tension increases a little. The pizza is consumed by now so there’s nothing to distract us. But in comes California to save the day, and everyone relaxes. Not for for long though. More states go red. Somewhat unexpected states. People start to question if it might actually be possible for Trump to edge a win out of this.
Jake is the first to accept the awful truth. The rest of us root ourselves in denial for a little longer. We really wish we had more pizza now; comfort eating would be a great help. Then Florida falls to Trump and it hits home. He’s really might win this thing. You can hear the desperation and cracks in the BBC presenters’ voices as they try to contrive a way that Hillary could still triumph, but it’s getting less and less likely. Jake and Sade leave around 4am, having resigned themselves to the result. The rest of us hang on, hoping against hope that Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Hampshire might just sneak a victory for Hillary.
Come 6am, we all give up. Those states have yet to be called but Trump is ahead in all of them, and we know there’s no way out now. It’s going to happen. He’s won. We all head back to our respective beds knowing we’ll wake up to a new world, a worse world. Brexit all over again. How did this happen? What does it mean for America? For the world?
That’s for another post to tackle. If ever.