WE NEED YOUR HELP — Support your hometown newspaper by making a donation.

Presidential election reactions differ in the North Shore

Locals’ reactions to election are mixed

Posted

At press time on Thursday, President-elect Joseph Biden had tallied over 77 million votes — more than any other presidential candidate in history — besting President Trump’s 72 million-plus votes, the second-most in history.

Only two states remained to be decided, Georgia and North Carolina, according to the Associated Press. A Trump win in either or both states, however, would not affect the outcome of the election. Biden had 290 electoral votes secured, the AP  reported. If he were to win Georgia — an increasingly likely outcome — he would end the election with 306 electoral votes, 36 more than needed to win the presidency.

Although reactions to the results of the election were mixed in Oyster Bay, East Norwich and Bayville, there was no shortage of passion in the opinions residents expressed.

John Napolitano, of East Norwich, said he was amazed that Biden won, because he didn’t have a traditional campaign, with crowds at rallies. Without a visible show of support, Napolitano  wondered how the former vice president could remain confident that he would win. Napolitano  also said he was unhappy that some states stopped voting at midnight on Election Day, while others, like Florida and Ohio continued until 2 a.m.

“[The election is] messed up on so many levels,” Napolitano said. “Why did Pfizer announce it had a 90 percent effective vaccine for Covid on Nov. 9? They knew before that. It would have helped Trump if they had announced it before the election.”

Matt Frisch, of Oyster Bay Cove, said he was happy, and relieved by Biden’s win, but added that he worried about the millions of people who voted for Trump.

“I’m concerned about the continued resistance to the results of the election,” Frisch said. “I saw a caravan of trucks on the Long Island Expressway with Trump flags. I went into a biker bar and asked a guy how many people he thought voted for Biden that were in the bar, and he said none. We live in a divided community with two different realities.”

Ingrid Morales said that when she found out that Biden had won, she was the “happiest person in the world.” “It’s about time,” said the Oyster Bay resident. “But I have to admit, I was shocked that he won.”

Morales prefaced her remarks by saying that she didn’t want to sound negative. Even so, she said she was certain that the country needs a new leader.

“There’s so much that needs to be fixed,” she explained. “We need a strong person to lead for all of the stuff going on in the world.”

Some residents the Herald Guardian contacted said they didn’t want to comment. A few said they weren’t political, and worried that they might be judged by their comments about the election. Others wouldn’t say why they wouldn’t comment.

Tamika Walker Hill, a lifelong Oyster Bay resident, was more than willing to share how she felt: She was happy, and said she had much hope for the future with Biden as president.

“I anticipate a great change where everyone will feel accepted, welcomed and inclusive,” Walker Hill said. “I wasn’t surprised about the outcome. We go into prayer and then the results are God’s will.”

Rob Plummer, an ex-chief of the Bayville Fire Department, said he would accept the outcome, whatever it might be.

“We have to stand by it,” Plummer said. “There are so many different viewpoints and there are valid points throughout. But we have to work together as a group and stop the hatred. We need to get behind each other.”

Ravin Chetram, the vice president of the Oyster Bay–East Norwich Chamber of Commerce, said that the election’s outcome gave him a sense of relief. He said he saw Biden’s win as the start of a new chapter that will help Chetram as he works to ensure equality for all residents and students in the hamlet.

The Chetram family went to New York City to celebrate the Biden and Harris victory.

“My family and I are going to go back into doing what we do, fighting for the cause for equality,” Chetram said. “No one is fighting [to have] more than others. We just want to have that same equal opportunity as everyone else.”

Even looking at the American flag after Biden’s and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s win feels different now, said Chetram, who is of Indian descent. “Prior to this, it felt like you were telling me to go back to my country,” he said. “Now I see the American flag and I feel like it’s inclusive. I feel like it’s saying we’re all together now.”

Biden, Frisch said, has quite a challenge ahead of him. “I don’t want him to make compromises to his agenda to appease the Republicans,” he said. “That will teach Democrats that they wasted their time coming out to vote, and he would betray Black women and people of color, who helped him to win.”

Frisch described himself as a progressive Democrat. “I believe in diversity and inclusion,” he said. “I want to give everyone a fighting shot, like Biden does.”

Jennifer Corr contributed to this article.