Photos and video by Keeley Smith.
He did it. After a long, tumultuous campaign, Donald Trump officially won the 2016 race for US President, clinching more than the necessary 270 electoral votes to win, while Hillary Clinton secured the popular vote.
The 60 to 70 supporters gathered at the 49Rs Tavern at Pacific Coast Highway and Bellflower Boulevard were ecstatic.
“People were too afraid to put bumper stickers on their car, and now everyone wants them,” said Tracy Kittinger, owner of the 49Rs Tavern and a former political consultant. “I kept saying there’s no way people could have polled this election. [...] a lot of people who have come out are registered to vote, but haven’t voted in years.”
"The fact that he won the way he did means the hidden vote was significant," said USC student and Trump supporter Alex Markus, a native of the Pennsylvania portion of the Rust Belt.
“It’s Christmas Day,” said Easton Brady, a social media volunteer on the Trump campaign from Utah.
Occasional chants of “Lock her up!” were followed by chants of “Trump, Trump Trump!” as his projected electoral vote count continued to rise, outpacing that of Clinton.
Unbridled enthusiasm at Donald J. Trump headquarters. #ElectionNight 49rs tavernPosted by Long Beach Post on Tuesday, November 8, 2016
“You’ll have to find a way to pay for college!” yelled a Trump supporter at a televised image of Clinton, giddy with the results. “You’re gonna have to work for it.”
The no-holds-barred ebullience of the tavern stood in marked contrast to the mood at the election results viewing party hosted by Clinton supporters at Hamburger Mary’s, which remained one of civility and optimism for most of the night, before supporters were struck by shock.
Carissa Mercado, 26, of Cerritos said she was thrown by the election results.
"I am shocked,” she said. “I had no idea that the race would be this close."
"Trump's campaign doesn't represent our ideals as Americans. Hillary's our next hope in this country"-Nick Maldonado, 22, of San Pedro. pic.twitter.com/64nQlLIPd9— Stephanie Rivera (@Steph_LBPost) November 9, 2016
She said she feared for her brother, who has a pre-existing medical condition and was afraid that without Obamacare care he wouldn't be covered by healthcare providers. She said she was also anxious about what would become of many members of her family, who happen to be Filipino immigrants.
Meanwhile, Trump supporters were fixated on his ability to stem the flow of illegal immigration and, they said, bring jobs back to the US. They said they were profoundly worried about any influx in Syrian refugees.
“We need to keep America safe,” said Christy Dewalt, a Long Beach resident and alumna of Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) and Millikan High School. “They need to check backgrounds before letting them in. They can’t vet them enough [right now].”
The process for refugees to enter the United States currently requires an "intensive biographic and biometric security check," according to the Refugee Processing and Security Screening website. Information on the current process is available here.
“We are a melting pot,” said Debbie Brannen, friends with Dewalt since their days at Millikan. “But it was different back then. We need to protect ourselves here. If you want to be in America and get treated with respect, you’ve got to be an American.”
Christy Dewalt and Debbie Brannen, life-long Long Beach residents and alumni of Millikan High School and CSULB. Photo by Keeley Smith.
The Clinton camp grew increasingly anxious as the night wore on.
"We're upset, we're angry [but] we still have to have hope and keep fighting,"said Nick Maldonado, a Hillary Clinton campaign volunteer.
Chris Robson, 71, of Long Beach, an organizer at the Clinton campaign office vowed to fight everything Trump proposed, given his victory. He said he was concerned that many of his rights as a gay man would slow down or stop, as a result of a Trump presidency.
"All of the advances we've made in social justice, all the many—if not most—will be in jeopardy under a Trump administration,” he said. "The problem with Trump [...] it’s not that we have to defeat Trump so much its we have to defeat ‘Trumpism,’ [which he described as racism, fascism and sexism]. The people who are supporting him are coming out of the woodwork, these Klu Klux Klanners or minutemen, these people that are racist; they're terrible and they need to be taught that they cannot mount a campaign against the rest of us."
Those at Hamburger Mary’s cleared out around 11:00PM, with looks of despair and the occasional shout of "Canada!"
Trump supporters stayed past midnight to witness Trump’s acceptance speech.
The race has been called. Donald J. Trump has won the 2016 US race for President.Posted by Long Beach Post on Tuesday, November 8, 2016
“I’m pumped!” said longtime resident Sunshine Rae Lee. “I’m very excited.”
“They didn’t give up. They’ve got so much heart,” said her husband Gregg Lee.
“Who would have thought the election would have ended the way it did?” said Markus.
Various elected officials in Long Beach remained mum regarding the results of the election. Mayor Robert Garcia's tweets on Wednesday did not broach the subject.
Meanwhile, CSULB President Jane Close Conoley and The LGBTQ Center of Long Beach issued a statement to the campus community and city at large.
"Long Beach State University stands as a beacon of hope for a better life for thousands of people from all walks of life," said Conoley in a statement. "I’m proud that our campus serves as a solution to the many challenges our nation is facing. The strength of our democracy rests in the peaceful transition of power that is currently underway. I look forward to walking around the campus in an effort to learn our students’ reaction to the election.”
"Many of the staff here at The Center felt an immediate urgency this morning to provide support to one another and our community," said Porter Gilberg, executive director of The Center. "Several of us actually came into work hours earlier than normal as our instincts were to immediately get to somewhere safe. We feel safe at The Center and want our clients to continue to feel safe here too. We are working as a team to ramp up programming to support those most vulnerable in our community, including trans and gender non-conforming people and immigrants to ensure that ample legal resources are available to address concerns they have leading up to the new presidential administration. We will also be reaching out to other allied and partner organizations to see how we can lend our support to ensure that LGBTQ people continue to be treated with fairness and dignity here in Long Beach."