Politics

TK’s Pub turned in to a Republican stronghold late Tuesday night.

Election Day withered into Wednesday and the bar off Bardstown Road played host to Louisville Metro Councilman Robin Engel, Kentucky state Representative-elect Dan Johnson, a cadre of Trump supporters and a few others.

The speakers in the dimly-lit bar blared Fox News as the final votes were tallied. The clock ticked into the early morning hours and patrons tamped down yawns with beers and smoke breaks.

They’d come to celebrate an Election Day dominated by the GOP. Hours earlier the last bastion of Democratic power in the south fell as Republicans gained a sweeping majority in the Kentucky state House.

The party also held onto majority power in Congress and the U.S. Senate.

“That’s unbelievable,” Engel shouted above cheers as the news flashed across the bar’s big screen television.

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The night’s keynote, though, was the top of the ticket: the next President of the United States.

By the time voters hit the polls on Tuesday, the campaigns of Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton had left deep divisions across the country.

Evan Wright, who paced near the television as the vote count began to stall, said he’d been ridiculed by classmates at the University of Louisville for being a Trump supporter.

“Cussed-out, called all types of names,” he said.

Yet his support never wavered. And his hope was fulfilled shortly after 2 a.m. Wednesday, when the Associated Press announced Trump as the winner of the presidential election.

Some in the bar, like Tony Camilli, wanted a Trump victory, but didn’t expect it.

“What I have found is people are misguided, ill informed, naive, psychologically damaged, stupid, if you will, and just stoned,” he said. “I thought Hillary was going to win.”

Now, with a Trump presidential inauguration set for January 20, 2017, the focus is on reconciliation and unification.

But Camilli, 43, doesn’t hold out much hope for harmony between Clinton and Trump supporters.

“Too many people in this country have lost their way,” he said.

Others, like Colby Noe, don’t see much common ground on which the two camps can converge.

“We’re speaking two different languages,” he said. “I would extend an olive branch but there’s no getting around the hypocrisy of supporting Clinton.”

Noe, 25, called Trump “the real deal” and his victory proof that “real Americans are taking the country back.”

“And they’re going to have to deal with it,” he said.

Some, however, are more hopeful. Richard Weaver said coalescence is key, but it’s going to take work.

“You want to see everyone come together,” he said. “It will be tough, it will take quite some time.”

There are Clinton supporters who also want to see the country unite.

Well before the polls closed, outside a fire station in western Louisville, Marva Williams shared her message with the next president, which, at the time, was unclear just whom it would be.

“Just get everybody together,” she said.

Jacob Ryan is a reporter for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.