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November 06, 2017

Monday Hateboner: Esquire's Oral History of the Night America Became Great Again

This is like one of those solid seventh grade boners that strains your cordoroys.

Esquire talked to people about their thoughts before, during, and after The Incident. A few choice nuggets follow.

Before:

Dave Weigel, The Washington Post: I called Jeff Flake the Sunday before the election. I said, "I have one round of questions if Hillary wins, and one if Trump wins." And he just started laughing, saying, "Why would you bother asking the second one?"

...

Ana Marie Cox, Crooked Media, formerly of MTV: I was staying at my in-laws' place in New York. They're Trump supporters. They weren’t in town, but my father-in-law made a joking bet with me. He said, "The next time we see each other, there will be a President Trump." I remember laughing at him.

During -- but early, when they still thought it was a Hillary lay-up:

David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker: I thought about, and actually wrote, an essay about "the first woman president," and the historical background of it all. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the suffragettes, the relationship with Frederick Douglass...a historical essay, clearly written in a mood of "at long last" and, yes, celebration. The idea was to press “post” on that piece, along with many other pieces by my colleagues at The New Yorker, the instant Clinton's victory was declared on TV.

Bret Baier, Fox News chief political anchor: We got the exit polls at 5 p.m. in a big office on the executive floor. Rupert Murdoch and all the staff were there. It looked like we were going to call the race for Hillary Clinton at 10:30 or 11 p.m.

Steve Bannon: The exit polls were horrific. It was brutal. I think we were close in Iowa and Ohio and everything else was just brutal. Losing everywhere. Florida, Pennsylvania. I mean, it looked like a landslide.

...

Steve Bannon: Jared [Kushner] and I were out on this balcony in Trump Tower. We looked at it on Jared’s iPhone. And the numbers were so bad that we regrouped inside. We look at each other and we go, "This can’t be right. It just can't." And Jared goes, "I got an idea, let's call Drudge." And Drudge says, "The corporate media--they've always been wrong the entire time--these numbers are wrong."

Steve Bannon: Drudge snapped us out of it, saying, "You guys are a couple of jamokes. Wait until the second exit polls come out, or later." We called the candidate and told him what the numbers were and what Drudge had said. And then we said, "Hey, ya know, we left it all on the field. Did everything we can do. Let's just see how it turns out."

Brian Fallon: I was hearing from my high school principal, people I hadn't spoken to since college. Everybody is conveying thanks for taking on Trump. It was going to be a cathartic experience of him getting his comeuppance after months of representing something that was so egregious in the eyes of so many people.

...

Ashley Parker: I walked over to the Hilton for election night. At some point they rolled in a cake that was like...a life-sized, very impressive rendering of Trump's head.

During -- The Turn:

Reza Aslan, author and religious scholar: I thought, "Oh my God, how terrible are we that it's even this close?"

Brian Fallon: As I was walking off the risers [at Javits], Jen Epstein, a Bloomberg reporter, grabbed my arm and said, "Are you guys nervous about Florida?" I gave her some sort of verbal shrug. Right after that I called into the boiler room and asked for a gut check.

...


Jim Margolis [political consultant and former adviser to Obama -- ace]: I finally called Steve Schale, who ran Florida for us in the Obama campaign. I said, "Steve, what's going on here? Is this just a lack of information?" He said, "I think you've got a problem."

Ana Marie Cox: I did a couple of on-camera news hits where I was told, "What you need to do here is tell people not to panic." Meanwhile, I was panicking.

Isn't she supposed to be an independent journalist and wasn't she doing "hits" from alleged news organizations? Why are they instructing her to tell the audience "not to panic"?

And then -- dread and despair:

Trae Crowder, comedian and author: I felt very mad at liberals, you know, like my team. I was very upset with all of us for a lot of reasons.

Rebecca Traister [New York magazine -- ace]: I felt so alone, I knew it was done. I was by myself on the floor. I started to cry.

...

Rebecca Traister: I was thinking everything from, "I'm gonna have to rewrite my piece" to, "Can we stay in the U.S.?" I texted my husband, "Tell Rosie to go to bed. I don't want her to watch."

...

Neal Brennan [comedian -- ace]: Slowly but surely it dawns on us. And I had said things like, "You know, I've heard that technically Republicans can never win another presidential election." I’m just saying dumb shit, all things I'd read on Politico or fuckin' The Atlantic or whatever. And then slowly but surely it happens. It's like we...it…fucking Hillary lost.

...

Evan McMullin [wife-sharing enthusiast-- ace]: I looked at my staffers. In my mind's eye, they were all seated up against this wall. They were disappointed, they were afraid, all of that. I told them that I didn’t want to see any long faces. I told them to buck up. And it had no effect.

...

Ana Marie Cox: A Muslim colleague of mine called his mother. She was worried he was going to be the victim of violence at any moment. A colleague who is gay and married was on the phone with her wife saying, "They're not going to take this damn ring away from me."

...

Brian Fallon: Eventually there were conversations around the awkwardness. There started to be this pressure to concede even before AP called the race.


Nate Silver: I felt like if the roles had been reversed, and if Clinton had been winning all of these states, that they wouldn't have been so slow to call it. In some ways, the slowness to call it reflected the stubbornness the media had the whole time about realizing that, actually, it was a pretty competitive election.

...

Brian Fallon: We had this issue where the Javits Center needed us out by 3 a.m. The decision was made that someone had to come out and address the crowd.

Zara Rahim: There were die-hard Hillary supporters that were like, "We're not going." Folks who were sobbing and literally couldn’t move because they were so distraught. I remember pieces of memorabilia on the floor, little Hillary pins and
I believe that she will win" placards.

Rebecca Traister: People were throwing up. People were on the floor crying.

Anyway, check the piece out.

I note those last few quotes -- shouldn't they have learned from that night that valorizing, promoting, and propagating a socially-engineered state of emotional fragility was a bad thing, just like was thought for the 100,000 years of human history before the last five years?

Yet they doubled down on emotional fragility.


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posted by Ace at 12:52 PM

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