Freeps went to the local election night scene on Tuesday, November 8, and talked with many political representatives. We watched election results at Golden Hall. We wandered over to the Westin Hotel where Democrats gathered. (The Republican party at the U.S. Grant was by invitation only and — well — we didn’t request an invitation.)
Three Freep editors headed over around 9 p.m. — just when it was dawning on everyone that the presumed Clinton slam dunk victory was turning to dust. We decided to ask San Diego political figures: “Where do we go from here?”
This is what they said:
David Alvarez, San Diego Councilmember for District 8
“It appears pretty clear that Trump’s going to win, I think, but I don’t know why the polls missed it. I think in general it means that we need to put candidates up that inspire people, so that we can make sure that the turn out is going to be there. The natural sort of turn out from a grassroots level. Obviously, the Trump supporters were much more excited, right? That’s why he’s winning.
“Now we have four out of the five congressional members from San Diego who are Democrats. San Diego County is overwhelmingly Democrat. I think you’re going to see some changes in the ranks in the next two to four years. I think San Diego and California are very different from what’s happening nationwide.”
When asked why Latino voters didn’t come out for Hillary, Alvarez said, “Yeah, that’s a concern, although Nevada proves that they come out if you organize them. I think it takes people who know how to get people to vote and Nevada did that. Nevada had an operation that was very clear. Maybe the other states did not have a similar operation. It shows that we’ve got to have people on the ground to remind voters that their vote does make a difference.”
Shirley Weber, State Assemblymember for District 79
“I’m wondering what world do I live in? My expectations of the nation was a lot higher. We were optimistic that surely the lines of division were there in terms of people feeling that they weren’t a part of what was going on, but I was hoping that it wasn’t as deep as it appeared to be in terms of the divide.
“I was looking forward and am still looking forward to the first woman to be President of this country because that symbolizes so much to women in this country.
“But it is disappointing. I can’t say enough that the things I believe in were not a part of the narrative in terms of the attacks on individuals, the attacks on groups and the kind of divisive language that I saw. When you spend your whole life working on these issues, you expect the country to be further along. So my disappointment lies in that.
“We are going to have to work very hard. I almost feel like we’re starting over. That’s the most disappointing part because I don’t want to start over. I know how hard it was to move to a level of inclusion in this country and I don’t think any of us want to go back.
“I’m not sure if the leadership at the top recognizes the level of divide because I think it was all a media thing. And whether they have the skills to know how to really close the divide. That’s my greatest concern — that they may not see it and they may not work to close it. When you don’t, those things have a tendency to get even greater.”
Francine Busby, Chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party
“I really don’t know. I have no confidence at all that Trump can govern this country. He has no idea how to govern. He has no idea what the constitution actually says. All the things he’s said have been unconstitutional… So I don’t have any answers… Maybe the people who voted for him should be the ones to answer that because I don’t know.
“We’re going obviously to be looking in two years to try to win more seats back and try to get enough control of Congress and the Senate to bring some sense back to our government. We have to.”
Reverend Shane Harris, Pastor, City of Destiny Church, President, San Diego Chapter, National Action Network
“I think people need to understand that no matter who gets elected tonight and no matter how the elections turn out, that people in office will be held accountable. On the 29th of this month we’re holding a National March. Fight for fifteen is adopted. The fight for Alfred Olongo. We are not going to stop holding those in power accountable, so whoever gets elected tonight — Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, the congressional races will go how they may, the Senate races will go how they may — we’re going to hold whoever is in office accountable.
“Police reform has to be front and center and in the next four years it’s going to be front and center when the next election cycle happens. We’ve got to keep our issues out front and tonight is showing us. Hillary Clinton did not expect to be down this far in this election. She did not expect to be this challenged in this election. That’s showing us something.
“She thought she had the black vote, but you’ve got to speak to your base. She’s not speaking to her base. She’s speaking to those that are giving her enough money to run her campaign, but she needs to realize that black voters who came out in 2008 for Obama, 93% Obama in the national election, 85% he got in 2012. You’re not going to get as high as Barak Obama because Barak Obama spoke to the interest of his people. He spoke to his base. Donald Trump is speaking to his base and we can’t be shocked. He’s speaking to those constituents.”
Mickey Kasparian, President of UFCW Local 135
“I’m concerned, but I’m more concerned that we would elect somebody, or potentially elect somebody at this point that really doesn’t have any experience and has displayed a temperment that is really — with women and others, with people of color and disabled — I think it says a lot for what voters believe in our political system and our elected officials.
“There’s no confidence. And I think this election portrayed talking about emails and tax returns and all this stuff. People that live probably six blocks away from here really care about putting food on their table and care about having health care. So they don’t care about any of this stuff and I think it shows the state of our country right now. People really don’t feel good about politics. If we elect Donald Trump tonight, it looks like he’s got a pathway to the presidency, I think it just shows you that — it doesn’t say much for Trump or for Hillary — I think it says more about for the American people and really how angry they are with the state of our country.”
Brian Jones, Assemblymember for Eastern San Diego’s 71st District
On the other side of the spectrum, Republican Assembly man Brian Jones was happy with a Trump win.
He said, “I’m not sure that anybody predicted with any confidence that he was going to win today. I think that’s kind of what’s great about our system. Especially this year. Past years, you kind of knew coming into election day who was going to walk away with it. It was a coin toss today.
“I think that if Trump is able to win over the support of the American people and continue to disrupt the power base in Washington D.C. and return that power to the people of all parties, and of all different persuasions, I think that would be good for the country. I think that’s his goal. I think he really is genuine when he says he’s not in it for himself, that he’s in it for the country.”
Albondigas Political Society South County San Diego: Laura Fink Talks Gender
And another insight — just days before the election, on Friday, November 4, when the Albondigas Political Society brought together three politicos at Mangia Italiano in Chula Vista: John Dadian, Mickey Kasparian (above) and Laura Fink.
Notably, Fink said the following:
“I wanted to say something about gender and politics because John brought up the unpopularity of the candidates. I wanted to bring up in counter to that the ambition tax. Every single time that Hillary Clinton has run for office, her polls consistently go down. They go down almost the same number whether it’s from her stratospheric popularity as Secretary of State, down when she ran in 2008 in her Senate campaign. Always the exact same number.
“Here she rests just a point or two below that. So I think as we look at likeability, trustworthiness, all of that, that’s something that has to be taken into account. There were twelve women in the history of the world that have been on a ballot and won a democratically elected head of state or head of government position. That’s twelve. Seventy total if you count the Prime Ministers, but twelve that have had their name on a ballot and won.
“I don’t think we know the implications of gender in this race or their degree. I think that they’re massive. The consistency among those twelve women: almost all of them were called iron ladies. They all had powerful husbands. They were all fairly disliked and they were all political insiders.
“I’ll just leave you with this. You guys do the math and see if we require something of Hillary Clinton that we now dislike about her.”
And finally, democratic consultant Eva Posner remarked: “Well, every empire has to fall, right?”