At Dueling RNC Watch Parties, Both Sides Say Tough Election Fight Ahead

Jul 22, 2016

Donald Trump officially accepted the Republican Presidential nomination in Cleveland late Thursday night. But hours before Trump’s victory speech, NHPR’s Paige Sutherland met up with voters in Londonderry – who were both for and against the GOP nominee.

In a crammed living room in Londonderry voters gathered not to celebrate Donald Trump’s victory but rather to prepare for next week.

These were Hillary Clinton volunteers and their eyes were set on the Democratic National Convention, which will kick off in Philadelphia on Monday.

“Tonight when we watch that we know it’s a show – it’s the Trump show," host Tammy Siekmann tells the crowd of Clinton supporters. "But in all seriousness that is what we are going to get if we don’t vote and we don’t get out the vote.”

Sean Cohen of Derry made dozens of calls for Hillary Clinton Thursday night prior to Donald Trump's victory speech.
Credit Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Although the majority of the room worked the phones all night, Siekmann made sure to keep the Republican National Convention coverage still on in the background.

“I just think it is really important to know who our opponent is and see what we are up against," Siekmann said prior to Trump's speech. "And it does help people to reflect and know why they are volunteering – that is a really big issue. If they actually watch the Trump speech tonight they will have a much better sense of why they are doing what they are doing.”

Many of the Democrats in the room, like 65-year-old Donald Schwartz of Londonderry, were not impressed by this week’s GOP convention.

“That was a convention – I thought it was a circus," Schwartz said. "But it’s just a hate thing and the Republicans, the party of no, and all they are doing is hating on Hillary, hating on Hillary and hating on Hillary. They have no plans for anything so they just hate.”

This gathering in Londonderry was one of seven events scattered across the state Thursday night and was coined by the Hillary Clinton campaign as “Better Than This” watch parties - aimed to highlight the "hateful and dangerous policies of Donald Trump.”

Meanwhile across town at Café Teresa, a crowd of Trump supporters were in their glory as their top candidate officially accepted the GOP nomination.

In honor of Donald Trump's victory speech, the menu included options such as the "Let's Make America Great Again Burger" to the "Donald's Vanilla Ice Cream Sundae."
Credit Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Rather than a canvass party – the Trump event was a celebration with dozens of balloons streamed across the dining room and even a Trump themed menu.

“I’m actually going to get the Ivanka Salad," Elizabeth Davis said laughing. 

A few tables down another couple ordered the "Let’s Make America Great Again Burger" and to their left someone ordered the "Donald Hot Fudge Sundae" for dessert.

But even though last night was a victory for Trump supporters – not all in attendance were happy with how the convention turned out including Ted Cropper of Chester.

Cropper said he was disappointed that several of the major party leaders have still refused to get behind Trump.

“He took the pledge that he would support everybody. And they all took the same pledge – Bush, Cruz, all of those people," Cropper said angrily. "But all of a sudden, Kasich, all of them. Now all of a sudden because they are sore losers including Romney they are not taking the pledge and living up to it.”

"That was a convention - I thought it was a circus," said Hillary Clinton supporter Donald Schwartz.

Republican John Palermo of Derry agreed. Party unity – Palermo said – is crucial to securing a win this Fall.

“It’s important to come out and support the candidate and it’s important to come out together -  build a consensus of people to work together to get the word out," Palermo stressed.

And this very division is likely to be a major talking point for Clinton next week when her party has the spotlight in Philly. 

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