Oakland reacts to the election of Donald Trump

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Democrat Hillary Clinton conceded the presidential race at 11:40 pm Pacific time; Republican Donald Trump has been elected president of the United States.

“To all Republicans and Democrats and Independents, I say that it is time for us to come together as one united people. It’s time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans and this is so important to me,” Trump said, addressing an audience of supporters at his campaign’s headquarters in New York City.

“While the campaign is over, the movement is now really just beginning. We’re going to get to work immediately for the American people. You’ll be so proud of your president. You’ll be so proud. I love this country,” he said.

Trump took a moment to applaud his opponent, saying “Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.”

As Trump spoke, a protest of about 70 people walked through downtown Oakland late Tuesday night, resulting in some property damage to local businesses. The protest started small and peacefully, but eventually involved protesters throwing objects like road signs and smashing windows of downtown businesses.

On the Broadway block between 13th and 14th Streets, protesters wearing black bandanas across their faces lit a fire in two city trashcans. They vandalized nearby newspaper dispensers and grafittied a nearby wall with “Fuck Trump!” and “Full Communism.”

The crowd chanted and carried signs with the slogans “Fuck Trump,” “Fuck the fascist USA,” and “Fuck the KKK.” Protesters were also asking patrons of downtown bars to get out and join them in the streets. Police followed them, but as of midnight had not intervened.

At the end of the trail of people, two protesters walked behind, attempted to clean up debris and trash. One of them was Stan Kin, an Oakland resident, who said he was still processing the national election. “I get that people are upset. I get people are angry, but this is messed up. It’s our community. We need to take care of each other,“ he said.

Earlier in the evening, as results favoring Trump flashed across TV screens at Oakland watch parties, people expressed disbelief and shock and said they felt a distance from those voters who cast ballots for the President-elect.

A watch party at the Room 389 bar grew rowdy as results favoring Trump flashed across low-hanging televisions. Philip Coffin, an East Bay Regional Park employee, said he was feeling “shocked, embarrassed, ashamed, disbelief, and deeply, deeply concerned.”

“Even if Clinton were to pull this off, I would say that I’m already very embarrassed for our country that an unqualified racist, sexist, bigoted, blowhard buffoon would even get this far,” Coffin said.

But Coffin recognized that the prospects of a path to a Clinton victory were shrinking. “My only hope, taking the long view, is that this is the last flare up of white nationalism that has been there all along, and that as the country changes demographically, as education and opportunities become accessible, this is just–theoretically speaking–white male America’s last flame,” he said.

At the watch party at the New Parkway theater, the mood in the three screening rooms took on distinctly different tones. One audience member, Cato Thornton, opted to sit in the mellower of the rooms, away from her friends. “I’m not really shocked or surprised, because I knew a handful of people voting for Trump and I know what it’s like,” she said. “The whole middle of the country is not progressive like the two coasts are. And that’s how Bush got in for two terms.”

Luis Prado stood up against the wall with a magazine under his arm and jacket in hand. “I’m conflicted,” he said. “I have family in Florida who are really pro-Trump. If Hillary won, I wouldn’t be thrilled, but I know how much a Trump victory would mean for people who feel like they’ve been neglected by this establishment. For some people who’ve been forgotten in this country, I don’t relate to them, but that doesn’t mean I can’t feel empathy for them.”

Prado said that at first, he wasn’t going to watch the results roll in, but when he saw Asian financial markets crashing, he left his house and walked over to The New Parkway. Prado described his family as Hispanic immigrants who are Trump supporters. “When Hillary called Trump supporters ‘deplorable,’ I think that’s what put them over the edge,” he said. “Instead of giving empathy, she condemned them. How could she expect that wouldn’t energize her enemies?”

At the end of the night, popcorn littered the theater floor. Empty pitchers and unfinished glasses of beer were left behind. “The devil is busy tonight,” Rosalind Patton said as she swept the floor, moved chairs and cleared tables. Patton doesn’t work at The New Parkway. “I got to work off some of this aggression. I feel good doing this,” she said. “I’m feeling very angry and disappointed.”

Patton said that Trump is “creepy, disrespectful and a womanizer who doesn’t have integrity.” She wondered aloud why people would vote for him. “I’m feeling like I will never say he’s my president I’m not accepting it. I’m just going to live my life and do what I can for the community,” she said.

Shoshannah Howard had tears in her eyes. “My analogy is that the house has always been haunted and now we’re all seeing the ghosts and I felt like I had to witness it,” she said. “It’s like when you look at something that’s so horrible but you can’t turn away.” Howard was one of the last people to leave the New Parkway.

Nearby, on Grand Avenue, the crowd at Room 389 was on edge, awaiting updates from heavily contested states as Clinton lost ground as the projected winner. For the last half hour, as updates slowed, drinks flowed freely among the heavily Democratic crowd.

One man stumbled out of the bar and up to a group of women. He apologized to them for the current political outlook. Another bargoer put his hands behind his head and looked up at the sky to say, “What fucking dark days.”

At Beeryland, a Telegraph beer garden, as election results flashed on televisions, Ali Catenia, 24, said, “We are doomed.”

Another bargoer, Cassandra Huntly, said she was amazed that so many people in the country would consider Trump for president right now. “I did not believe that the most of the country was so miserable and angry that they would vote for a candidate who promotes hate towards everyone that’s not total white Anglo-saxon American,” she said.

Huntly said that she feels alienated from anyone who would vote for Trump. “Here in California we live in a bubble. It makes me so sad that so many people are driven by hate and anger.”

In response to the national results, Ayanna Davis, a project coordinator for Oakland Rising, a progressive organization that serves minority communities, said, “The election so far is pretty indicative of where we are in this county in terms of race relations. It really gives a clear sign of how divided we are.”

Davis said she believes President Barack Obama was not given the proper power to lead and represent the people who voted for him. “He was a piece on the game board to make the geopolitical decisions. We need to really tell the truth about that so we can move forward. He was really not put in place to improve the lives of Black people,” she said.

Of Trump, Davis said, “He speaks directly to his race in terms that they can relate to. He speaks to their lack of economy and jobs. What he is saying to them is very similar to what Bernie Sanders was saying. The fact that he is a misogynist is an afterthought to the people who are voting for him.”

Oakland’s vice mayor, Annie Campbell, said of the election results, “Many people in Oakland concerned because Donald Trump doesn’t represent our values. People are in pain right now. Hopefully, we can come together to make a difference.”

Text by Margaret Katcher, Brian Krans and Rosa Furneaux. Reported by Ryan Lindsay, Emily Thomas, Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou and Rachel Cassandra. Photos by Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou, Mary Newman,  Yesica Prado, Cassady Rosenbaum and Olivia Rempel.

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