Why you should care

Here’s how it all went down in Nevada.

Reporters Matt Foley and Taylor Mayol have been in Nevada over the past four days, reporting on everything from surrogates to get-out-the-vote campaigns. Election night found them tag-teaming the GOP and Democratic election parties in — where else? — Vegas.

7:15 PM
MATT & TAYLOR

The GOP election party in Vegas is electric. The tables are packed with Trump supporters, and every time his numbers flash across the two giant projectors, the crowd erupts in cheers. Attendees are on the older side, but their enthusiasm rivals any first-time voter. Most are dressed informally, in jeans, T-shirts and baseball caps. l overhear in the restroom, in a thick accent, “I really hope Trump wins!” When Ohio is called and the GOP crowd goes nuts — suddenly, maybe, it looks like their long-shot candidate might have a chance. One supporter, in army fatigue pants and a “Make America Great Again” hat, starts shouting at the top of his lungs; reporters rush to capture him on camera.

8:00 PM
TAYLOR

As the race suddenly tightens, I jump in a cab to head to the Nevada Dems election-night party, leaving Matt at the GOP party. In the cab, I hear one outlet call Florida for Trump. I will the car to speed up.

8:15 PM
MATT

Now that Trump has claimed Florida, the Nevada GOP party balloons with confidence. Some folks are surprised; others, though, believe the Trump movement is simply too strong. I meet former New York Mets second baseman Brian Giles, his wife, Ivana, and their two teenage children. They love Trump and want a candidate who is truthful and will fight ISIS and help the economy. “There are too many of us in this country to fail,” says Ivana. Plus, “We love Alex Jones. You can’t watch that and like Hillary.” This much I know is true. Giles informs me that they have never been contacted by a pollster.

8:15 PM
TAYLOR

For a minute I’m disoriented. The Democratic election-night party is in a massive convention hall at the Aria casino, and it’s a formal affair — several bars, food stations and many supporters dressed in suits and heels. It’s a world away from the GOP party. A soundtrack blasts through the air instead of commentators’ voices, and despite the ominous news for the Dems, the party feels, dare I say, upbeat. Nevadans erupt with joy as early tallies favor down-ballot Dems: After all, the state’s future is at stake too.

8:40 PM
MATT

Wisconsin going to Trump produces more celebration at the GOP party. “That’s all we need!” screams one bolo-tied Trump supporter. “We’re doing it! We’re really doing it!”

8:45 PM
TAYLOR

Four women — members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Democratic Congress — are leading the cheers up front at the Dem party in Vegas. They voted yes all around on the ballot initiatives (background checks and marijuana) and are still holding out for a Clinton win. “We know she’s going to win,” says Kate Recto.

9:00 PM
MATT

Brent Peterson is a truck driver who campaigned and voted, early and for the first time, because he wanted to “join a cause for change.” Like most, Trump’s large lead surprised him, but he says he’s encouraged that the rest of the country seems to want positive change: “We don’t need more of the same. This is a movement. I never do this, but I wanted to be part of history.” Peterson became a fan of Trump because “he speaks his mind, he’s not afraid and he’ll support Middle America.” As we talk, Brent’s home state gets called for Clinton. Boos rain down, but the mood stays high. Brent is optimistic.

9:30 PM
TAYLOR

Suddenly a stream of people in red shirts marches into the Dems’ election-night party. It’s the Culinary Workers Union, and they’re chanting “Yes we can” as the rest of the auditorium chimes in. It’s a moment of joy for an anxious crowd. The 57,000-person union is responsible, in many ways, for turning out the vote for Democrats in Nevada.

9:30 PM
MATT

Grand Ballroom B just got a whole lot bigger: With Trump’s lead holding, staff at the South Point Hotel has opened up the connecting room. Nevada’s GOP campaign braces for an influx of Las Vegas Republican partygoers. All casino patrons are welcome, after all.

10:00 PM
TAYLOR

A 12-time Grammy Award–winning band takes the stage and plays, fittingly, in Spanish. They’re celebrating a big win for Nevada Dems, at least inside state lines. This has to be the strangest election-night event for the Dems nationwide — elation, chanting, some distress and hugs.

10:22 PM
TAYLOR

The weight of a Trump presidency is beginning to sink in for some Clinton supporters. Joey Marzinsky, 29, leans over and puts his arm around Sean Vangorder, 30, head of the Las Vegas Steering Committee for the Human Rights Campaign. They’re trying to stay optimistic, but it’s “disheartening,” says Marzinsky. “You hope America is smarter than that.” Vangorder says he thought a campaign that ran on love instead of hate would win and that he had “so much faith.” But as an LGBT organization, he says they’ve now got to “go forth with a fight.” Moments later the song “One Love” starts playing in the background.

10:30 PM
MATT

Trump’s surprisingly cushioned lead has the Grand Ballroom bumping when Nevada GOP campaign chairman Michael McDonald takes the stage. A crowd that was chanting “Call It” mere minutes ago inches closer, ready to bask in the now-expected glory of an upset. Instead, McDonald announces that “while we’re here for a celebration, and it is a great night,” the GOP has some bad news. A quick, paranoid hush takes hold, partygoers fearing the worst. Instead, out comes Crescent Hardy, the incumbent U.S. House Representative for Nevada’s 4th District. He’s conceding defeat to State Senator Ruben Kihuen, a Democrat. Paranoia over. Most partygoers go back to watching the Fox News presidential coverage, chuckling with relief as Hardy summarizes his life’s achievements.

10:30 PM
TAYLOR

I’m watching from the crowd as Ruben Kihuen, son of a farmworker and a house cleaner, speaks as the crowd chants “si se puede.” Nevadans are sending their first Latino to the House of Representatives and the first ever Latina to the Senate, Catherine Cortez Masto. Despair might be reigning among Democrats nationwide, but right here, right now, Nevadan Dems are celebrating big wins for their party.

11:25 PM
TAYLOR

This is the moment the Democrats have been waiting for: Senator-elect Catherine Cortez Masto walks out on stage. If you just piped in from another planet, you’d think Democrats just won the presidency, or at least that the race was leaning in Clinton’s favor. For the crowd, the moment is a huge one: the first Latina elected to the U.S. Senate. And Cortez Masto relishes the moment. Though it’s pretty clear the presidential race is over, we just got word that Hillary’s campaign won’t concede tonight, so Cortez Masto walks a fine line. If there is a President Trump, she says, there are checks and balances in place. Then she adds: “And I will be one helluva check and balance.” The crowd goes wild.

11:45 PM
MATT

The GOP crowd starts heading for the door, growling that “they” should have called it. “Budweiser or beat the traffic?” I think. I head for a cab.

12:00 AM
TAYLOR

Exhausted and suddenly hungry, I get in a cab for the hotel. I guess what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas.

OZY2016

The route to the White House: news, stories and analysis from on and off the presidential campaign trail.