The 'pussy' chanting Trump supporters we encountered in Sydney 4 years ago

That day 4 years ago when hope turned to dread and Australian Trump supporters made ‘pussy’ chants in a Sydney bar

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When Juanita Phillips asked who remembers where they were as the results came through from the 2016 election, I didn’t take long to recall the moment, the faces, the chants and exactly how I felt.

I was sitting at a bar at Sydney University with my colleague Georgie Dent, at an ‘election party’. I don’t know that you could call such a gathering a ‘party’ now, not as an unscalable fence is literally erected around the White House and the current president’s indicated he won’t accept the results.

That day, November 9 2016, was the day that the hope and optimism disappeared, as Georgie put it that evening.

We had a drink. We had our laptops out. At one point we had our website backend set up ready to fill in the gaps as we reported on the moment, we expected, that would see the first female US president elected.

We didn’t have the words to express the alternative. Never could we have imagined the next four years to come.

I recall the large cut out posters of the presidential contenders and the giant screen beaming the results from CNN. Some in the crowd were wearing MAGA caps. Some wore candidate T-shirts. This was a party, we initially thought nothing of it.

An hour or so in, it became clear that a large group of young men had arrived there to stir up the mostly university and media crowd, and particularly to support and celebrate the most disgusting details and words of Trump.

As they drank more, they became increasingly hostile. And as the results came through showing an increasingly likely path to victory for Trump, they really found their voices.

They chanted “Build the wall, build the wall!”

Then they moved on to “Lock her up, Lock her up.”

And “drain the swamp, drain the swamp”.

And then to “Grab her by the pussy. Grab her by the pussy.”

It was utterly disturbing. It was as if this moment — and particularly as states turned red — gave them more confidence to shout their slurs and no doubt to leave that room with a new sense of even more entitlement. Who knows where that entitlement’s taken them in the four years since.

And of course, these chants in a bar on the other side of the world, as well as the results coming in from the election, showed more on what we dreaded. That actually the world was not as ready for female leadership as we naively believed. Indeed, the majority of white women (53% according to exit polls, something Trump would repeatedly boast about) favoured the alternative, despite knowing he sees women as inferior.

Today, I will sit at home with a few colleagues as the first results come through. We can not call it a ‘party’. We’ll anxiously pace the living room, watching, hoping for something to indicate a shift in a new direction — not a perfect shift, but a shift. The alternative is too much.

If you’re also following along from home in Australia, this thread shares some key timings on what to watch for: Particularly note Florida, where polls close at midday AEST and the state is expected to be able to count votes fast (having improved their processes following the 2000 debacle). And remember that we may not have a result today.

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