Watch Party Shifts From Raucous to Deathly Quiet

Presidential Election 2016

At a mostly Democratic election watch party in Northwest Washington, the mood slowly turned from jubilation to shocked disbelief.

A partygoer at Shaw's Tavern in Northwest Washington poses with a cut-out of Donald Trump.


Tuesday night was a night full of heightened emotions for the citizens of the United States, as they awaited the results of the 2016 presidential election. Many Democrats united in the dining room and on the patio of local restaurant Shaw’s Tavern in Northwest Washington, with hopes of receiving news that they would soon be experiencing the first female president of the United States.

 Toward the beginning of the election night, the attendees of Shaw’s Tavern were certain Hillary Clinton would be named the next president of the United States. The crowd erupted with cheer every time a state was called in her favor, and did not hesitate to “BOO” at the mention of Donald Trump.

 Dennis Gibson, a D.C. resident, was very passionate and confident in Clinton’s victory. As CNN announced that Clinton had 68 electoral votes, while Trump had 48, Gibson stated, “I think it’s going to be a landslide.” He continued, “I think we are ready for a landslide, we are currently leading in Texas, and trending well in Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida. If we get one of those, it’s DONE. And we will be way better off if Hillary wins.”

When asked how he felt about possibly witnessing the first female president of the United States, Gibson responded, “AMAZING, it’s long overdue. Actually, we need more women in Congress, because they really cooperate, and talk and try to communicate. And that’s something we don’t have, especially from the Republican Party.”

 Spirits remained lifted, until the polls really started to go neck and neck. At this point, it became and remained close to silent in Shaw’s Tavern. Every once in a while, when another state was announced as a win for Clinton, the restaurant erupted in cheer before returning to silence.

Mike Arichea, a U.S. citizen, originally from the Philippines, was extremely excited to vote in the election. Since Arichea recently became a U.S. citizen, this was only the second time he has been able to vote. The first election he voted in resulted in the second term of the nation’s first African-American president.

“I’m nervous about North Carolina. After living in North Carolina for 15 years, I get excited whenever they go blue. I ugly cry. Like, this state actually understands me.” 

 When asked how he feels about the possibility of having a woman president for the first time, Arichea responded, “It’ll be amazing. I don’t even think we even know how powerful it will be until she’s been in office for like a year, and then we’ll realize –- they do things differently. I think it’s going to be — incredible!”

As the night went on, Trump gained a very significant lead over Clinton in terms of electoral votes. The atmosphere of Shaw’s Tavern was clearly shifting. Fear and anxiety took over.

Many people were losing faith in the possibility of Clinton taking the victory. Shaw’s Tavern employee Eboni-Thair Lewis was among those who were beginning to get worried. “My stomach is in knots,” Lewis stated. “It’s sad that America doesn’t see what they are doing. If [Trump] wins, we will be moving backwards as a country, instead of progressing.”

As the final results were announced around 2:40 a.m. Wednesday, a feeling of defeat swamped the restaurant. The look on people’s faces was of despair, uncertainty and fear for what the future of the United States has in store.