When I woke up the morning after Donald Trump was elected President, the lights in my room were still on and I was on top of my covers wearing only a shirt and socks. While I admittedly looked like Winnie the Pooh, there was nothing adorable about me; I was still drunk from the night before. And oh what a horrible night that had been.
Over the years I’d been at plenty of election parties where not everything had gone our way, but that night at El Rio, amongst hundreds of friends and allies, we experienced not just a resounding defeat but an entire paradigm shift. Somehow an unstable, authoritarian, white supremacist had just been elected to the highest office in the world. When the news broke, so did I, and I found myself weeping into a friend’s chest while a bar full of awestruck and defeated San Franciscans tried to make sense of what had just happened.
With that night in mind I went into Tuesday’s election with butterflies forming a mosh pit in my stomach. It was like I had PTSD. All through election day, while helping with both the Matt Haney campaign and the Yes on C campaign, people would ask which election party I was going to and I’d respond “I don’t know if I’m going to any of them. I don’t think I can handle another night of crying at El Rio.”
My plan was to go to a friend’s place where a small group of people would be watching the returns. If it looked like the Democrats were going to take back the House then I’d go out, hit a bunch of election night parties, and celebrate. If it looked like the Dems were gonna lose, I’d…well I didn’t know what I was gonna do, but it would most likely end with me waking up looking like Winnie the Pooh again.
After finishing up with the Haney campaign I met up with my girlfriend Kayla at the Wooden Nickel for Taco Tuesday. She was catching up with a friend so I drank with a few of mine while nervously watching the election results tumble in. And then it happened, CNN announced that the Dems had clenched the House. A big whoop went up from the crowd at the Wooden Nickel and cheers and hugs erupted everywhere. I stood on my barstool and yelled out “And we even elected a socialist to Congress!” which was met with more cheers. (Of course, my language was a bit more colorful than that).
It looked like we’d be hitting up El Rio after all.
Tuesday night was a great night to be a San Franciscan, especially if you were a progressive one. Matt Haney winning the Supervisor’s race in District 6 and Gordon Mar doing so in District 4 solidifies the Progressive majority on the Board of Supervisors, meaning they can go toe-to-toe with Mayor Breed’s pro-Tech/pro-Developer agenda. The passing of Prop C means San Francisco will have the resources to battle the homelessness epidemic the right way. And it’s even more satisfying knowing that the tone deaf tech moguls who’ve made immense fortunes, while helping displace thousands of San Franciscans, will have to pay for it. After nearly 10 years of Techsploitation, it feels like we finally have the tools to fight for the San Francisco that should be, and not just allow it to be molded into the San Francisco that small collection of venture capitalists, CEOs, and real estate developers want it to be.
But let’s hope The City will not keep putting up more hurdles as it did on Wednesday with news that legal questions may delay the implementation of Prop C.
So yes, we celebrated on Tuesday night and while there were certainly some awful losses such as the defeat of California’s Proposition 10, and in the U.S. Senate and in Governors races like Florida and Georgia, we celebrated hard. We celebrated because, for the first time in two years, there was hope. We celebrated that a bunch of rad women of color had been elected.
For the first time since November 2016, it felt like we might just be able to build the America we want to live in. And we celebrated because even though there is still a lot of work to do, we all got a little glimpse of that San Francisco we fell in love with however many years ago.
Surrounded by friends, allies, and loved ones at El Rio on Tuesday night I, thankfully, did not weep from despair into anyone’s chest. But if one tiny tear of joy escaped its duct, who can blame me? It was a hell of a night to be a San Franciscan.
Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, TV host and poet. Follow him at BrokeAssStuart.com and join his awesome mailing list to stay up on the work he’s doing: http://bit.ly/BrokeAssList. Broke-Ass City runs Thursdays in the Examiner.