Democrats from Lafayette County all came together at the Lyric to watch the 2016 presidential election coverage but were disappointed and saddened with Republican candidate Donald Trump’s win.
On Wednesday Nov. 9 in the early hours of the morning it was announced that Republican candidate Donald Trump won the presidential election against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Trump won with 279 Electoral College votes against Clinton who only had 228 Electoral College votes. 31 Electoral College votes are still available and Clinton won the popular vote by about 200,000 votes so far.
“I felt really confident. I never even entertained the thought that Trump would really come close. I follow a lot of pollsters and everything seemed to suggest that Hillary was going to win at least handily, if not in a landslide, so I’m just honestly stunned to see that America has voted the way they have,” Cristen Hemmins, chair of the Lafayette County Democrats, said. “I can’t even wrap my head around it.”
Hemmins has been working toward this night for several months. She has campaigned, sold Clinton memorabilia and organized different events to help raise money and awareness for Clinton in Lafayette County. She was saddened and in disbelief that Trump surged ahead of Clinton.
A large screen was hung over the stage and took up a large portion of the space between the ceiling and the stage. Throughout the night CNN’s live election coverage played on the screen so attendees could watch the coverage or eat, get a drink or take photos in the photo booth.
There were about 250 people who came to the Lyric to support Clinton. Supporters ranged in age from 2 months old to seniors and all sported Clinton memorabilia. There were so many Clinton supporters at the watch party that people had to sit on the floor, the empty bar top and had to stand around the edges of the room.
“I think we just wanted to be more of a community . . . because the fact that Trump is this far is in and of itself scary, so I think we just needed more people around us,” Ole Miss student Ike Hill said.
Hill came to support Clinton along with many other students and they were visibly upset as the Electoral College votes were announced and Trump took the lead.
Smile Y’all Photo Booth set up the photo booth in the entrance to The Lyric and attendees could take pictures with Clinton signs, funny glasses and animal masks. The attendees could take their pictures and walk away with their photo strip in hand.
The Lyric was full of tables that were covered with red, white and blue tablecloths. Bunches of balloons in red, white and blue adorned the tables and bars. American flags were hung around the building with a giant American flag covering the entire back wall of the stage.
Attendees could purchase alcohol at the bars or food from Canoodle by Oxford Canteen. The menu was special for election night and consisted of a fried bologna and egg hoagie, Over the Wall Mexican Green Chili Pork Tacos, Left Wings with cucumber seaweed salad and more.
Local performer Jimbo Mathus kept the crowd entertained with his singing and guitar playing while the crowd was waiting to hear if Clinton would get the electoral college votes from Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania as well as a few others. Mathus sang three songs including “This Land is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie with the crowd joining in with him.
Throughout the night the election got more nerve-wracking and the crowd became more emotional. The crowd showed strong emotions when a state was announced to have voted for Clinton or Trump and everyone would stand up and cheer for Clinton and boo at Trump.
As the night wore on it became clear that Clinton was going to lose the election after she lost key swing states like Florida and Pennsylvania. The crowd started to leave the closer Trump got to the 270 Electoral votes needed to win. The Lyric closed around midnight and the crowd had to leave without the final election result, even though it was obvious that Clinton was far behind Trump at that point.
“This election is different because it taught me that there’s a large chance that my country wasn’t ready to nominate the most qualified candidate in the history of our nation over an incompetent bigot, simply because she was a woman,” Adam Flaherty, the president of the College Democrats at the University of Mississippi, said.
Hemmins and Flaherty gave a touching speech at the end of the night about not giving up hope and that in the future they hope that a Democratic President will be elected again and Mississippi will turn blue. The audience members all looked sad and comforted each other when they realized that Clinton was most likely not going to win.