Lowell High School students stand outside City Hall on Feb. 23 during a walkout protest over instances of racism at the school. (Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)
As Trump takes the oath, many voters still can’t believe it
On the morning 19 months ago when Donald Trump descended the escalator in his glitzy Manhattan tower, waving to onlookers who lined the rails, many Americans knew little about him beyond that he was very rich and had a thing for firing people on a reality television show.
No one can plausibly say they knew that the man who launched his candidacy that day would be elected the nation’s 45th president. As Trump prepares to take the oath of office Friday, many Americans still can’t quite believe that a presidency that still seems almost bizarrely improbable becomes a reality on Friday.
“I thought it was a joke. He’d run, he’d lose early and he’d be out,” said Christopher Thoms-Bauer, 20, a bookkeeper and college student from Bayonne, New Jersey, who originally backed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s Republican candidacy.
Then, Thoms-Bauer recalled, came the night in November when he joined friends in a diner after a New Jersey Devils hockey game and watched, stunned, as Trump eked out wins in key states.
“Having this realization that he was really going to become president was really just a surreal moment,” said Thoms-Bauer, who gave his write-in vote to Evan McMullin, a former CIA agent who ran as a conservative alternative to Trump. “It still doesn’t make sense.”
For all the country’s political divisions, plenty of people on both sides of the aisle share that disbelief.
“I thought there was no way he could win,” said Crissy Bayless, a Rhode Island photographer who on Thursday tweeted a picture of the
Statue of Liberty holding her face in her hands, despairing over Trump’s imminent inauguration.
When Barack Obama won the White House in 2008, the election of the nation’s first black president felt to many like one of the most improbable moments in the nation’s political history. The idea of the election of a white billionaire born of privilege feels implausible to many in
very different ways – and that may say as much about the country as it does about Trump.
When Trump announced his candidacy, Kayla Coursey recognized him as the developer who had tried and failed to build a golf course she’d opposed in her hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. She recalled him as stubborn and resistant to pressure from local residents and officials. That, she said made his candidacy for president feel like a joke. Trump’s election felt downright surreal, she said.
In the weeks since, “there was always the hope that things will somehow magically become better. However, now we know (Friday) at noon we’re going to be welcoming President Trump, which is surreal in and of itself,” said Coursey, a college student in Roanoke, Virginia.Read More