An Election Aftermath in Las Vegas

by Dov Gartenberg

Written on 11/9/16

I had concluded days of canvassing for HRC and Nevada Democrats and came to my field office at around 5pm to spend some time with other volunteers before going to the Nevada Democrats campaign party of an expected Hillary victory at the Hotel Aria. I had been given a ticket to the party by the son of a colleague who reminded me in the afternoon that the party started at 7:30 with an anticipated victory speech by Hilary at 8:30pst.

The TV was turned on at 5:30 in the canvassing room as CNN was turned on. Volunteers made their final get out the vote calls while some of us ate our bag dinners after canvassing for hours in 80 degree heat. The early results were expected, but a couple of comments caught my attention. DT was amassing large numbers in rural areas in some of the early states. He had an early lead in Virginia and NC. By 6:30pm I had a growing pit in my stomach as I watched unusually close races in some of the firewalls that Hillary had relied upon.  I sent a text to my wife Joanne, “I’m concerned.”

 

The party tonight was to take place at the Aria on the strip. Eight years ago I had attended the victory party in Las Vegas when Obama carried the state and went onto to victory. He took Nevada and soon afterwards declared victory in Chicago as we watched in awe. I was recalling that moment as the polls closed in Nevada at 7pm.

It felt different tonight from the start.  I watched my fellow volunteers faces as the worry lines appeared on their faces.  Combined with our exhaustion I could feel an anxiety enveloping the room. A few minutes later I felt my mood sink further as ominous results came across the TV screen. I knew it was time to leave for the party, but I could not move away from the screen.

 

By 7:30 I realized I did not have the emotional strength to attend what would be a painful wake. It turned out that the two main down ballot democratic candidates I had canvassed for later won their races and that HRC took Nevada. But I had an early flight to catch and a foreboding mood gripped me.    I went to my Air BnB to go to bed.

 

I don’t remember feeling more alarmed and concerned in my adult life about an election result. I thought about my family I called my wife and kids and we tried to reassure each other. I thought of all those who now feared discrimination and deportation or no health insurance. I thought about the oncoming chaos in our country and around the world. And then I had to turn off my screen and go to bed. I felt like Jonah trying to sleep deep inside the ship as the storm lashed outside.

 

It is now the morning in this strange new world. I am now on my way back to my home in Seattle. How will our world change? What chaos is in store for us?   Is there a basis for hope? I need some more time to see through my shock and worry.   I thought about the phrase from the Hashkiveinu prayer in the evening service: Vtakneinu be-eitzah tovah milfanecha. “Guide us with your good counsel.” My God help all of us and our country discern good counsel in the troubled days ahead.

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