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Americans process Joe Biden’s victory: ‘It’s the end of a nightmarish era,’ one says. But another adds: ‘It’s devastating’

In cities across the country, there are people literally dancing in the street on Saturday’s news that Joe Biden is set to become the nation’s next commander-in-chief, unseating President Donald Trump in a bruising campaign.

In Washington D.C., resident Damien Budnick told MarketWatch “it’s almost like a tailgate party on 16th Street,” with honks and cheers heard in the background. It’s a scene the 27-year-old was hoping for, after voting for Biden. Budnick says he’s ready for “different rhetoric and a way to bring us all together.”

In Wilmington, N.C., Susan Silver isn’t dancing, but she’s breathing easy. She’s relieved the vote count has finally culminated in a call, but, “in the larger sense, it’s the end of a nightmarish era in our society under Donald Trump,” Silver told MarketWatch.

In a statement released Saturday, Biden said, “With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation. It’s time for America to unite. And to heal. We are the United States of America. And there’s nothing we can’t do, if we do it together.”

Silver, who is in her 60s, voted for Biden in his first run at public office, his 1972 Senate run back when she lived in Delaware. She voted for him then because he “represented a fresh face and new outlook on the world.” Decades later, “I think he represents an image of maturity in contrast to Trump.”

‘I think he represents an image of maturity in contrast to Trump.’

— Wilmington, N.C. resident Susan Silver, who first voted for Joe Biden for Senate in 1972

Biden is scheduled to give a Saturday night victory speech, and it will be to a badly fractured nation.

More than 90% of Democrats, Republicans and Independents also consider the rights to clean air and water, a quality education, and protection of personal data “essential rights important to being an American today,” according to the survey. More than 80% of these three groups feel the same about affordable health care and an equally large majority say the same about having a job (91%, 77% and 85%), according to a survey conducted in July for the Harvard Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.

There’s jubilation and relief — but there’s also devastation from some Trump supporters who have grave misgivings about the president-elect.

That’s the way Constanza Mancilla de Areizaga feels right now. If Trump’s legal challenges don’t prevail and Biden becomes president, the 57-year-old Las Vegas, Nev. resident says she and her husband are seriously thinking about moving to Spain and living off their savings.

“This will no longer be the country that I call home,” said Mancilla de Areizaga, a businesswoman and Trump supporter who started a grassroots organization to persuade Latino voters to back the president.

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Trump on Saturday said Biden’s victory lap is premature because he’s about to press lawsuits on valid votes that could determine the victor, not news outlets. His allegation have raised the specter of election fraud among the minds of his supporters, political analysts say, but not yet substantiated the allegations.

At least 74.5 million people have voted for Biden, while 70.3 million have cast ballots for Trump, as of the latest count on Saturday afternoon.

‘This will no longer be the country that I call home.’

— Mancilla de Areizaga, a small-business owner in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Mancilla de Areizaga, a small-business owner in Las Vegas, Nevada doesn’t believe that the election was above-board. “It’s like the earthquake. You’re always told to prepared for an earthquake, but you don’t really think it’s possible, because it’s never happened before. With this actually happening and becoming a reality, it’s devastating.”

Mancilla de Areizaga says she’s not alone. In the time that she spoke to MarketWatch, she missed scores of calls on her cell phone from fellow supporters of the president who wanted to commiserate.

There were scattered protests from some Trump supporters on Saturday who are wary of the results. “This isn’t over,” one chant went at a Georgia protest, according to the Associated Press.

Mancilla de Areizaga, the co-owner and vice president of Everything Entertainment, a full service event production company that handled convention and trade shows, said life was good for her under Trump. Business was brisk and taxes decreased, she said.

Trump’s strategy for small businesses focuses on the Paycheck Protection Program, the Platinum Plan for Black America, and tax cuts designed help companies increase their income and hire more workers.

Biden, meanwhile, has said he plans to reform the Paycheck Protection Program and make it more transparent. His campaign says: “The Trump administration should reserve fully half of all the new PPP funds for small businesses with 50 employees or less, so the bigger and more sophisticated aren’t able to win in a first-come, first-served race.”

The pandemic dried up business for now, but Mancilla de Areizaga had plans to bounce back with a business making and sending healthy meals for seniors. She worries that under a Biden administration, taxes will increase on corporate clients who, in turn, will have smaller discretionary budgets for events like the ones she produces.

“I do not feel that I will be safe,” she said. “I do not feel I will have the opportunity to grow my business.”

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