By 2 a.m., most people knew it was over, but a few were still holding out—at the Javits Center, Hillary Clinton's campaign chair John Podesta told tearful supporters the race was still too close to call. "We can wait a little longer, can't we?" he asked. Meanwhile, at a watch party in Tampa, Florida hosted by the Hillsborough County Republicans, Donald Trump's most ardent supporters were sick of waiting.
"All you fucking liberal networks are so scared to fucking do it," one man shouted at the television. "Let us celebrate and burn the fucking streets down! What are we waiting for? Seal the fucking deal!"
The energy at the Hideaway bar in Tampa's Channelside district was more than triumphant—the 60 or so people in the bar were ecstatic, but that didn't stop their anger from shining through.
Since 8 p.m., every time a state was called, or even predicted, for Trump, the crowd would erupt into a cheer. Sometimes, the cheer was interrupted by a chant: "USA! USA!", "Drain the swamp!" and "Lock her up!" were the most common.
The bar's patio entrance was full of red and blue balloons, Trump campaign memorabilia, and even a Trump/Pence flag. Inside, supporters were decked out in red, white, and blue. Some wore "Make America Great Again" hats. One man wore a balloon hat twisted into the shape of Donald Trump.
Another woman wore a similar hat, but hers showed a handcuffed Hillary Clinton in prison attire. That woman, another reporter later told me, had referred to refugees as "rape-fugees." She was ecstatic over the prospect of a Trump victory.
Unlike New York's Trump supporters—many of whom are "closeted" and fear being outed or photographed—almost everyone at the Hideaway wanted to get their picture taken. They wanted their victory to be documented.
"I want someone who doesn't apologize for the U.S. being strong. Obama's been doing that for the last eight years," Rosana Celder, 47, told me. Originally from Marlboro, New Jersey, Celder had moved to Tampa 16 years ago. "We shouldn't apologize for being successful—other countries should try to be like us!" she added. "Hillary should not be the first woman president. She's an embarrassment to women. Smart women, we vote for Trump."
"Yeah, Trump!" a woman standing by the bar told Celder. "Sorry to interrupt, but you just made such great points. Smart women vote Trump!" They high-fived.
Amy Schramack, 66, agreed. Schramack said she was a lifelong Democrat but refused to vote for Clinton. "I switched parties to vote for Trump in the primaries," she said. "My husband and I have been married for 48 years, and we had never worked on a campaign until now."
She noticed the "I Voted!" sticker on my chest. I planned to take it off before arriving, but had forgotten.
"Who did you vote for? I hope you didn't vote for Hillary!" she said. "She wants to do so many bad things—are you worried about our national security? She wants to let more refugees in! And you know, there are a few bad apples in every religion—but only Muslims have sharia law."
Around 11 p.m. they brought out a cake. It was simple; vanilla with white frosting and "Donald Trump 2016" written on it. Schramack and other volunteers handed out plates to anyone within reach.
Hillsborough County's Republicans were celebrating a win that, despite their hopes, was unexpected and unprecedented. The county itself—a bellwether which has predicted all but one presidential election since 1928—went blue. But you'd never know that from inside the bar. Projections, polling, and expectations were all proven wrong—and Trump and his supporters were finally being validated.
"That part of Florida," a man said while pointing at a shot of the electoral map broken down into counties, "and that little bit of south Texas. The northeast. California. We should just bomb all that shit."