Local Democrats prepare for the future

Published 10:53 am Friday, November 18, 2016

After Donald Trump won the presidency last week, the Lafayette County Democrats gathered together to discuss the results of the election and plan for the future.

On Thursday night, the group met on top of the Courtyard Marriott in the Green Roof Lounge overlooking the Oxford Square for their monthly Thirsty Thursday event.

In a short speech to the crowd who assembled for the event, the Chair of the Lafayette County Democrats, Cristen Hemmins joked that, “It’s risky to have this meeting the first week after the election on a rooftop bar.”

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Hemmins, like many Democrats, was “devastated” about the election results as they slowly came trickling in to news outlets.

“I was thoroughly shocked, I expected a landslide,” Hemmins said. “People talk about the shy Trump voters who said they weren’t going to vote for him, and I think that played a big part.  Many people are feeling the need to commiserate with like-minded friends. We have a bigger-than-usual turnout here tonight I think because people need to talk with other people who are feeling what they’re feeling.”

Hemmins has been an admirer of Hillary Clinton for some time, stating that the former Democratic candidate has been fighting for women and families for 30 years.

“She’s clearly a person who cares about other people and that’s something that’s really important to me,” Hemmins said. “Her message of Stronger Together really resonated with me especially juxtaposed with Trump’s message which was about deportation and building a wall.”

Oxonian resident Randy Wadkins was equally surprised by the results.

“I was in disbelief when the results first started coming in because I, like many people, kept checking polling aggregate sites and it seemed like a cruise to a win for Hillary Clinton,” he said. “The United States of America just elected a reality T.V. show host to be president. I’m not sure how that’s even possible.”

Hemmins believes that President-Elect Trump could be swayed by public opinion and wants to be viewed as a good leader of the American people.

“I think it’s going to be really important to Trump what others think of him,” she noted. “Public opinion supports gay equality, pay equity for women and not deporting 11 million immigrants who are paying taxes and helping to sustain our economy.”

Wadkins is more nervous about how a Trump Presidency will play out.

“Many people who are smarter and savvier than I am, who have been around Washington are terrified,” he said. “Not only because of his past statements. They just don’t know what to expect. This is the first time in my lifetime where we’ve elected a candidate where no one knows what his real positions are on issues.”

To boost the morale of the Democrats who gathered, Hemmins said, “In two years we need to try and flip the House and the Senate. There is hope and a lot of work to do. We need to stay strong.”