Five days after Donald Trump upset Hillary Clinton, some of those who live inside the Washington, D.C. Beltway and supported Clinton were still trying to figure out what happened, struggling with the results of the race for the White House that many never really imagined would happen.
“It’s not just Republican versus Democrat,” one person told me, “It’s that Donald Trump is a complete embarrassment.”
“Why were the polls so far off?” one neighborhood dad asked me as we watched our kids on Saturday, as he was still puzzled by the result.
One guy I know runs a small business just outside D.C.; he said Wednesday was like a ghost town, as only a couple people came to his store all day in a crowded suburban shopping area.
“We made $100,” he said, as he told the story of a woman who came in on Thursday to shop, and explained why she hadn’t made it out of the house on the day after Trump’s win.
“I was crying my eyes out all day,” she explained.
And that’s a reaction I’ve heard from others – multiple times – in this area as well.
Some schools in D.C. area were also still trying to sort out things out, as one local elementary school principal emailed an election review to parents – from the National Association of School Psychologists.
“The 2016 election has been long and fraught with strong emotions,” the NASP note began.
That echoed a note sent out by one county school superintendent in Maryland.
This election season has been particularly difficult,” wrote Jack Smith, the Superintendent of Schools in Montgomery County, Maryland. “It caused a great deal of emotion among many members of our community.”
This wasn’t something just sent to families by email, as the school system posted the entire letter on their website and social media:
There were scattered anecdotal reports of post election problems, like some kids giving the Nazi salute to Jewish kids at a Montgomery County high school.
And there were stories of children wondering if the kid in their class who was from another country would be forced to leave after the election.
If you look at the election results in the immediate Washington, D.C. area, it doesn’t take long to figure out why the final outcome was such a shock to so many who live around the Beltway.
Washington, D.C. voted 93 percent for Clinton.
The two immediate D.C. suburban counties in Maryland were strong as well – Prince George’s County voted 89 percent for Clinton, Montgomery County was 76 percent.
Across the river in Virginia, the immediate suburbs were blowouts for Clinton as well: Arlington County at 77 percent, the city of Alexandria was the same margin.
It was all part of the national divide that we saw on Election Day – many big cities and suburbs going strong for Clinton, while exurbs and rural areas went big for Trump.
Numbers from other urban areas were much the same, indicating that this is not a split among Blue and Red states, but really the oldest divide in our nation.
The big cities and their immediate suburbs versus the exurbs, and small town, rural America.
And in the big cities and their very blue suburbs, they didn’t seem ready for the possibility that Donald Trump might win.
As I wrote earlier this week, I came back from the campaign trail and told people here that Trump could win.
That message didn’t seem to sink in.
Until Tuesday night.