Jermaine Lassiter sat on a stool inside the Mayfair Diner on Wednesday morning with a hot tea in his hand and a 1,000-yard stare in his eyes. He never imagined Republican Donald Trump would beat Democrat Hillary Clinton and become the country’s next president.
“I’m sick — sick to my stomach to fall out and pass out,” said Lassiter. “If I was rich and could move, I would move. I would literally leave this country.”
Lassiter isn’t alone. Many voters across the Democratic stronghold of Philadelphia wanted, even expected, Clinton to be the country’s next president.
Mayor Jim Kenney sounded almost as if were delivering a eulogy when he spoke to city government workers.
“Take your time to mourn and take you time to heal,” he said. “Then let’s get back to work and let’s make our children smarter and more educated, our communities stronger and more employed and our people more happy.”
Many are not sure what to think. And some say they’re afraid of what will happen next.
“I feel like the whole world is just going to be set on fire,” said Russ Hickman inside La Colombe Coffee Roasters in the Fishtown section of the city.
Fairmount resident Carmen Febo San Miguel isn’t letting her mind wander that way just yet. She said she’s concerned about Trump, but she’s trying to be optimistic.
“I’m trying to follow Michelle Obama’s example and message: ‘When things are low, we go high,'” said Febo San Miguel. “I’m really hoping that the democratic process allows Mr. Trump to really govern for the whole country, not just the one-sided vision that sometimes he expressed during the campaign.”
City Councilman Curtis Jones also prospected for a silver lining.
“We had presidents that have come from stranger places,” he said. “We had an actor … become a fairly good president. History suggests — and we can only hope for my grandchildren — that [Trump] can do that too
Other city residents were pleased albeit a bit surprised that Trump won.
Back at the Mayfair Diner, Bill Brennan had another customer snap a photo of him holding up the front page of Wednesday’s newspaper. To him, Trump has the right resume to make the country a better place.
Brennan enumerated the qualities he sees in the president-elect: “His business attitude, the fact that I think we finally needed someone who is not into politics, his magnetism.”
From a booth nearby, Laurie Sanchez called Clinton corrupt and a bad choice for change.
Trump, however, “will take control of the problems that are going on in America today,” she said. “I think that, politically, he may not be intelligent, but financially, to bring us out of debt, he’s the one that will do it.”
Saying that she hopes the president-elect will stay true to the words in his victory speech that he will be president of all the people, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell said she is resolved to follow Kenney’s advice, “to accept it and move on together.”
Clinton won Philadelphia and its suburbs, but she narrowly lost Pennsylvania before Trump was declared the next president.