The crowd was energetic, but anxious about Election Day.
Over the course of the last year, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his running mate Mike Pence have made a number of stops in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Most of the supporters waiting in line outside the Lackawanna College Student Union on Monday afternoon knew the routine.
But that doesn’t mean they weren’t excited. There were “Make America Great Again” hats, “Hillary for Prison” buttons and the new hot item for sale: t-shirts bearing the Trump name emblazoned over the presidential seal. On the day before the election, Trump’s most ardent supporters were energized — and eager for the campaign to be over.
Mike Keilor, of Hawley, Pennsylvania, said he’s enjoyed the election season so far, but “I’m ready for it to be over. This is … my last hurrah, coming to this one.”
Keilor hadn’t been much involved in politics before this election, something he was proud to have in common with his candidate of choice. He said he was “optimistic” that Trump would win on Tuesday, but he was prepared to accept the results either way.
“If Clinton is elected, it’ll be four more years of the same bad policies, the same bad government, the same, like Barack Obama,” said Keilor. “We’ll have to find a way for everyone to work together, because we have to move forward. But maybe, for me, it’ll be like when your team loses the Super Bowl, and I’ll have to do a media blackout for a few days.”
Jackie Dougherty drove up from Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, to see Trump one last time before the election. She was proudly wearing her “Deplorables for Trump” shirt, and was less confident about how well the country could come together after the election.
“I’m kind of worried about what’s going to happen because either way, there’s going to be problems, maybe like riots,” said Dougherty. “Bad things are going to happen no matter who gets elected.”
She said both candidates would have a “hard time about it” after the election, but thought Trump would be better equipped to handle the first few months of the presidency.
“Think about it: He’s handled so much so far, of people saying mean things about him, people making up lies about him,” she said. “If he can get through this campaign so well, I think he could get through the presidency well. He’s ready.”
Pat Serra has been discouraged by the quality of discourse during this election season. He says he’s “exhausted” by the campaign, particularly the last few weeks.
“There were some things [Trump did] I didn’t like. I didn’t pull away from him because of it,” said Serra. “In my opinion of him, it’s a counter-punch. He’s always attacked first, and then he punches back. He never goes on the offensive.”
Serra says the job of the president will be to unify the “very divided nation” and he can’t imagine a better banner to come together under than “Make America Great Again.” He’s willing to accept the outcome of the election, though he’s hopeful it’ll be an easy pill to swallow.
Not everyone is on board. One man standing in line, who asked not to be identified because of his work with the government, had some advice for Clinton if she was elected: “Move to Canada. Or let her go to Mexico, she’d like that alright.”
That’s a different take on the all-too-common threat of voters who don’t get their wish. If you’re not happy on Tuesday night, but don’t want to move to Mexico or Canada yourself, perhaps you can convince the winning candidate to do so instead.