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Sunday, September 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Trump’s ‘deplorables’ embrace Clinton’s jab; Clinton backers dread future under a President Trump

By Jonathan Glover and Kip Hill The Spokesman-Review

The Clinton and Trump backers who watched the debate found much to cheer, as well as jeer.

Here’s a look at debate watch parties hosted by the Spokane County Democratic Party and Northwest Grassroots, which backs Trump.

The ‘deplorables’

The roughly 80 people who filled the banquet room of Darcy’s Restaurant and Spirits in Spokane Valley for a pro-Trump party reveled in their candidate’s barbed asides and embraced his politically incorrect identity.

Debate watchers donned nametags labeled “I’m Deplorable…For Trump,” lampooning Clinton’s recent suggestion that many Trump supporters belonged to “a basket of deplorables” because they are “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic.”

“I love it, that’s why I saved it,” said Patty Wright, a Wenatchee business owner who said she recently sold her home and started traveling east. “I’m going to put it up in my motor home.”

The crowd, hosted by the tea party-allied group Northwest Grassroots, guffawed when Trump repeatedly, at several points while Clinton was talking, interjected with “wrong, wrong, wrong” to her charges he initially supported the war in Iraq and other claims. The loudest cheer of the night came when Trump responded to Clinton’s demand that he release his tax returns with an order of his own – that she release the “33,000 emails” that were held on her private server related to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Wright said she believed Trump won the debate by restraining himself in attacking Clinton and pointedly interjecting when she spoke.

“I like that he just spoke from the heart, and he wasn’t practiced,” Wright said.

Ready to vote in 2020

Hundreds of people young and old filed into the Lincoln Center banquet hall, ready to show their support for Hillary Clinton on her big night – her first presidential debate.

Some wore T-shirts reading “Love Trumps Hatred.” Others showcased their “I’m With Her” buttons. A display in the corner, with a cardboard cutout of Clinton and an inflatable clown with Trump’s printed face taped to the front, topped with a “Make America Great Again” hat, was the focus of many selfies and family photos.

Fifteen-year-old Claire Simmons, however, opted for a more subtle approach: she wore a bright red dress with medium-length sleeves. Rather than shouting her support, she sat quietly, listening intently while munching on her croissant and cheese sandwich. When the crowd around her clapped in support, she joined in – even if she was talking mid-sentence.

“I think it would be a disaster if Trump won,” she said, her mouth colored blue from the candy she ate moments earlier. “Next election cycle, I’m definitely voting against him, no matter who’s running.”

Some didn’t watch

While most people in the Lincoln Center banquet hall were focused forward on the giant projector in the corner displaying the debate, Coral Wallace was instead staring up at her mother, Dominique Wallace, as she gently rocked her in a semi-quiet corner in the back of the room.

“I think it’s a crapshoot,” the older Wallace said of the debate, taking the time to adjust the purple slouchy beanie atop her head. “It’s a lot funnier than I think it should be.”

Dominique Wallace is 29, and like many people her age is under a mountain of student-loan debt.

“I still have a bunch,” she admits. Her daughter is only 8 months old, but that hasn’t stopped Dominique from obsessing over her educational future.

When Hillary Clinton lays out her plan to make college debt-free for many Americans, by making community college tuition free and making public colleges and universities tuition free for some, the crowd cheers loudly and begins clapping. Coral Wallace winces for a second but is quickly lulled back to a restful peace.

“If there is any way for her to go to college and not have a bunch of debt, that would be great,” Dominique Wallace said.

Yes, some are undecided

Not everyone who attended the pro-Trump event in Spokane Valley had made up their minds about whom to support. Mike Lynch, a resident of Spokane’s South Hill, wore a shirt bearing the slogan “McCartney/Starr 2016,” indicating a preference for the moptop popsters of the Beatles instead of the two candidates appearing onstage Monday.

“My tendency is toward Trump,” said Lynch, who said he was also eyeing third-party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. “Hillary is part of the problem.”

Lynch, who returned to the other side of Darcy’s Restaurant to watch the end of “Monday Night Football” when the debate ended, wasn’t swayed either way.

“I’ve got to see another one,” said Lynch, walking to another table to finish his beer.

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