US elections: Clinton voters despair over Trump victory

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After Donald Trump is elected as the next US president, crowds gather at the White House as they look ahead to his time in charge.
Supporters of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton watch and wait at her election night rally in New York on Nov 8, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

SAN FRANCISCO (REUTERS) - Los Angeles teacher Laura McCutcheon gathered with like-minded friends on Tuesday night (Nov 8) for what she thought would be a celebration of Hillary Clinton's presidential win.

The polls had been favourable in recent days, and the party at a home in Los Angeles's hilly Echo Park neighbourhood began festively. But by 10pm, the gathering was feeling more like a wake, as one state after another went to Donald Trump. McCutcheon said she was left struggling to understand what had happened.

"I had worried there were voters out there the polls were not catching," she said. "But I cannot understand how people think Trump is the solution. If they are disgusted with the system, how is he the alternative?"

In some of America's most Democratic enclaves, Clinton supporters reported feeling blindsided by Trump's victory. They fretted about how they had been so wrong, and wondered how they would cope during the next four years.

In Las Vegas, local resident Mary Durgram was near despair.

"For the first time in my life, I'm ashamed to be American and I never thought I would say that," she said at a local resort and casino.

"I'm a veteran, I served my country for a lot of years and I'm ashamed of my fellow Americans tonight."

In San Francisco, Joey Nunez, 29, said he was having trouble processing what had happened.

"The shocking realisation is that this is what people wanted. They wanted Trump," he said. "After everything he said, how could he get people to buy into his brand?"

Nunez, who works as a clinical lab scientist, said he and his wife had spent the evening in shock. "We just can't consider him our president," he said. "It is just too surreal."

In the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale, children's author Amy Goldman Koss said she started the day on Tuesday by donning a pantsuit in solidarity with Clinton and went to the polls with her adult daughter to participate in what they thought would be an historic moment: electing the first woman president.

"It feels humiliating on several fronts," said Koss, 62. "How much we miscalculated, how pissed off the Trump voters were. It didn't matter what the hell he said."

Many Clinton backers talked about how their social media feeds had been filled with support for Clinton, and that they had little contact with Trump voters in an increasingly polarised political climate.

Deena Pioli, an attorney from San Francisco's Outer Sunset neighbourhood, said she rarely ran into people who were not supporting Clinton, and that she now regrets that. "Those of us here in San Francisco and California should not be so safe in our bubble," she said.

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