How the city that resoundingly backed Clinton is dealing with Trump’s win

Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street, where the city that decisively rejected Donald Trump as president is coming to grips with his election.

What we’re talking about

Jake Bleiberg and Kathleen Pierce today documented the sense of grief shared by a lot of Portlanders today after Donald Trump was elected president. More than three-quarters of Portland voters cast ballots for Clinton in a race that many expected to go in her favor.

When it started to turn the other way last night, the anxiety was obvious:

In the West End, as more states turned in favor of the Republican presidential nominee on Tuesday evening, nervous-looking women gathered under the televisions at Ruski’s Tavern and ordered a round of drinks.

“I’ve always been a feminist, this makes me want to be one even more,” said Emma Doud, a Portland scientist. “To have a 70-year-old, lying misogynist at the helm is incomprehensible.” …

It’s a sentiment that runs deep in the typically progressive city of Portland, which had the highest percentage of Hillary Clinton voters of any Maine municipality — 76 percent, compared with Trump’s 18 percent, according to the latest tallies compiled by the Bangor Daily News. Clinton would ultimately win the popular vote across the state, though Trump took one electoral vote.

Read their full story here.

People were giving out hugs in Monument Square today — Troy R. Bennett reports:

I figured there must be some angry folks downtown who might want to vent into my video camera.

I didn’t find any of those people. Instead, I found a trio of young women, who’d just met, offering free hugs and reassuring words to shellshocked lefties in need.

“It’s what we want to do,” said Sophie McLeod, draped in a rainbow flag. “You know, spread the love.”

Later in the same square — Tonight starting at 6 p.m., a “Gathering for Unity Vigil” in Monument Square aims to provide a place to “share a message of love” after last night’s election. The public, including families and kids, are encouraged to bring candles, flashlights, lanterns and words to share during the open mic. “Let’s make tonight an event of healing and coming together,” said organizer Ariel Bernstein. More details on its FB page. Follow Kathleen Pierce (@piercenews on Twitter) tonight for live coverage.

Election recap

Here are some takeaways on what the election means for MaineChristopher Cousins and Michael Shepherd write:

— Maine split, and it’s going to significantly alter the future of Maine politics. The trenches got deeper Tuesday and it’s hard to see progressives in the south and conservatives in the north expanding their base. The wider divide will add a new dynamic to statewide campaigns. …

— Winner: Power of the people. When it came to the presidential race, pretty much all of the polls were wrong. When it came to the results, they were mixed. In legislative races, some Democrats won in towns that also chose Donald Trump and vice versa. Question 3, which would have implemented background checks for gun sales in Maine, lost despite polling that showed 70 percent or more support the concept.

— Loser: The so-called Establishment. Legal marijuana. An arch-conservative, anti-government Donald Trump in the White House. Ranked-choice voting. A rejection of background checks. Any way you look at it, election 2016 marked a sharp turn by the electorate away from government oversight and faith that policy crafted in government offices can improve people’s lives.

This marked the first time that Maine split its electoral votes — Chris writes:

Maine and its four Electoral College votes — and the fact that Maine is one of two states that is not “winner take all” — have been in the national spotlight during previous elections. About three weeks before the presidential election in 2012, Republican Mitt Romney held a five-point lead in the 2nd District, raising the possibility that Maine’s Electoral College votes would be split for the first time in history.

It didn’t happen. It never has — until this year.

Two City Council challengers beat the incumbents — Including Pious Ali, who made history again by becoming the first Muslim immigrant elected to the council. Political newcomer Brian Batson beat Edward Suslovic — who has served three terms on the council — in the District 3 race.

All but one of the referendums passedMinimum wage, ranked-choice voting, legal weed, and the tax to fund schools passed. The transportation bond did as well. The bill to expand background checks did not pass.

And the Maine Senate stayed in Republican control — Chris writes:

The balance of power in the Legislature has everything to do with what we can expect out of Augusta in the next two years, which are the final two years of Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s tenure. LePage not only needed Republicans to take the majority in the House, where Democrats have held a 78-69-4 lead over Republicans and independents, he needs two-thirds majorities to make Democrats irrelevant in votes on emergency legislation and budget bills.

The Big Idea

‘Donald Trump’s Victory Promises to Upend the International Order’ — Peter Baker of the New York Times writes:

For the first time since before World War II, Americans chose a president who promised to reverse the internationalism practiced by predecessors of both parties and to build walls both physical and metaphorical. Mr. Trump’s win foreshadowed an America more focused on its own affairs while leaving the world to take care of itself.

Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Dan MacLeod at, or tweet @dsmacleod.

As always, like BDN Portland on Facebook for more local coverage.

Dan MacLeod

About Dan MacLeod

Dan MacLeod is the managing editor of the Bangor Daily News. He's an Orland native who first moved to Portland in 2002. He's been a journalist since 2008, and previously worked for the New York Post and the Brooklyn Paper.