I did not plan to be in North Platte during the election; it just fell that way. We had a social event scheduled for the third weekend in October, and my son's birthday is a month later, so here I am. Once I realized the timing, I figured it would make it more interesting.
In the two weeks I have been here, I have seen a Trump/Pence sign here and there, chatted with some Trump supporters, and hung out with members of the local Democratic Party, many of them former Bernicrats. Let me say at the beginning that even small town politics can be very complicated, and and I would have to be here much, much longer to make any kind of sense out of the picture.
I hung out with the Stalwart Dems, as I call them, for the first three hours of election returns. That's Bob, the transplant from Brooklyn in the glasses and cap waving on the left. And on the right are my new friends Susan and Sean. The gloom descended on the room early on, and people started drifting off after ten. No one in the group expected Nebraska to turn blue, but they were hoping that a ballot measure to retain the ban on the death penalty would pass; it didn't. By close to eleven, I was starting to fade, and took my leave. Luckily, I was by myself when Florida was called. After that, I was caught between my need to know and my urge to curl up in an anxious ball. I slept maybe four hours in all.
I wake up slowly on a good morning, and this was not a good morning. It was in the 20s outside and I am down to my last pair of warm socks. The friendly local coffee shop seemed less inviting, populated as it must be by cheerful Platters who voted for Trump. (And a few, very quiet folks who didn't.) Here's what it is actually like:
The staff were as cheerful as always. The regulars were all there (not the Dems; they'll be here on Saturday). Yes, they were talking about the election. But here are the snippets I overheard:
In the time remaining: more listening. Much more listening.