Elections

One Coast Democrat can look at the election and laugh

Felix Gines welcomes Hillary Clinton supporters to The Almanett Hotel & Bistro as Democrats gathered to watch election returns Tuesday.
Felix Gines welcomes Hillary Clinton supporters to The Almanett Hotel & Bistro as Democrats gathered to watch election returns Tuesday. ttisbell@sunherald.com

At least Felix Gines could laugh.

He’s the chairman of the Harrison County Democratic Executive Committee and he spent Tuesday evening watching his plans to celebrate the election of the first female president unravel.

When asked if he wanted to talk about the election, he laughed heartily again and again as he talked about the Donald Trump presidency.

But to Gines, who’s also a Biloxi city councilman, after the shock of Trump’s victory wore off, Wednesday was a new day with a silver lining.

“I was just shocked,” he said. “You look at projections. You look at all the statistics they put out there. And this tells you people are real. People have feelings. And sometimes statistics don’t give you what people are thinking.

Michigan was one state that surprised Gines. He thought President Barack Obama’s bailout of the auto industry early in his first term would have voters looking favorably at Democrats.

They decided they wanted a major change. That’s what they actually got.

Felix Gines, chairman of the Harrison County Democratic Executive Committee

They didn’t.

“They decided they wanted a major change,” he said. “That’s what they actually got.”

He said the final revelation just over a week before the election that the FBI was looking anew into Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and another set of emails hurt.

“The Republic candidate stayed on message for 11 days,” Gines said. “After the investigation was reopened for 11 days, you had a candidate stay on message for 11 days. And I believe that was the last dagger put in there.”

Now about that silver lining.

“This will eventually show that we all need to work together in some fashion or form or manner,” he said. “Otherwise, we just swing back and forth back and forth (between Republicans and Democrats in power). I look at the days of Tip O’Neill and Newt Gingrich, those guys worked with the other parties. Those guy worked it out and did what was in the best interests of the country.”

He said there also are divisions in both parties that could drive people together.

“Not all Republicans were on board and not all Democrats were on board,” he said. “And the silver lining is this could make us have to work together.

“We’re all along for the Trump ride.”

Renick Taylor, an LGBT activist from Biloxi, said the Democrats have to work with Trump.

“They have no choice,” he said. “Republicans control the presidency, the House, the Senate and the Supreme Court. It’s their ball; there’s no one left to blame.”

He said he doesn’t believe Trump is anti-LGBT, although his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, is.

“(LGBT) is one of the few groups (Trump) didn’t alienate,” he said. “But Mike Pence is funding conversion therapy. Our task now is to convince Trump that (Trump’s) way was right.”

Taylor is fed up with the Electoral College, which actually elects the presidents. Voters simply vote for electors who are committed to voting for the candidates. Each state gets the same number of electors as it has members of Congress.

When the person the most people vote for is not elected the process is broken.

Renick Taylor, LGBT activist

“What makes this one different is that for the second time in the last 20 years a president was elected even though the majority of Americans voted for someone else,” he said. “When the person the most people vote for is not elected, the process is broken.”

Clinton did in fact get more votes than Trump: 59,796,311 to 59,589,821.

While Gines and Taylor saw hope, others saw fear. Some, even though they spoke of giving Trump and his policies a fair chance, were afraid to do so publicly. One woman said her husband feared retaliation at his job.

And there was a lot of intra-party bickering on social media, particularly among Democrats who say Sen. Bernie Sanders would have defeated Trump. Neither Taylor nor Gines pointed fingers, though.

“I will say that despair is not for the fighters of injustice,” Taylor said. “We've seen these tides come and go.”

And if there is anyone sorry to see the acrimony and recriminations of the past campaign go, BuzzFeed has some solace. An election clock. Seems we are in Day 1 of the 2020 campaign.

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