Seattle celebrates Biden win, end of the Trump presidency

After days of counting, all major news organizations called the race for the former vice president. Supporters responded with relief and excitement.

celebration in capitol hill

Revelers celebrate in the streets of Capitol Hill hours after the AP called Pennsylvania for Joe Biden, putting the candidate over the threshold of the 270 electoral votes needed to become president-elect, Nov. 7, 2020. (Shaminder Dulai//Crosscut)

Within minutes of the declaration by The Associated Press and every other major news organization Saturday morning, people in some Seattle neighborhoods were honking horns, cheering and setting off fireworks to celebrate the election of Joe Biden to the presidency of the United States.

Some opened their windows to bang on pots and cheer, just as they did in the first months of the coronavirus pandemic to encourage health care and other essential workers. 

Brittney Moraski ran out of her Capitol Hill home as she heard the results. She wore a Biden-Harris T-shirt and held an election sign while blasting “Philadelphia Freedom” by Elton John on her cellphone — a reference to the projected result in Pennsylvania that put Biden and running mate Kamala Harris over the needed 270 electoral votes to defeat President Donald Trump. She said it was an emotional moment.

“It’s been a hard year, and it’s a good time to celebrate,” Moraski said as tears filled her eyes. “I have a lot of feelings and I don’t quite know how to express them, but encouraging other people to celebrate today is a good start.”

Brittney Moraski waves at pedestrians on Capitol Hill to celebrate Biden securing the election. "It's been a hard year," she said, while dancing and waving at passing cars that honked in support. She hoped a Biden presidency would help continue the work on a litany of concerns, including racial, income and health inequality, along with climate change and getting the pandemic under control. "We've got to build back better," she said. (Shaminder Dulai/Crosscut)

Kayla Gerken, 33, danced with a large American flag at the corner of Stone Way and North 36th Street in Wallingford shortly after the news broke that Biden had won.

“I was inspired by all the people in Philadelphia who were dancing yesterday, and it looked like so much fun,” Gerken said. “Music and dancing is such a great resistance to some of the hatred we have seen,” she added, referring to Trump supporters engaging in acts of intimidation in the days since polls closed.

Jackie Roessler and Kayla Gerken dance in celebration Saturday morning in Wallingford. (Melissa Santos/Crosscut)

Joining her was her friend Jackie Roessler, 32, who blew a vuvuzela and waved a miniature U.S. flag. Cars driving by honked; a Metro bus driver stopped to give them a thumbs up.

“I think I’m excited for a little more responsibility in managing the coronavirus,” said Roessler, adding she has two parents in Wisconsin who are afraid to leave their home for fear of infection.

Kathryn Leahy started her celebration with the biggest mocha latte she could buy and said she left a $5 tip. “I’m just going to go walk downtown and soak it in. I want to feel the energy right now,” said Leahy, who said her primary feeling was relief.

On Capitol Hill, at the corner of Pine Street and 10th Avenue — the heart of this summer’s Black Lives Matter protests — the atmosphere was jubilant in the hours after the declaration.

People danced on the Black Lives Matter street painting on Pine, one person playing “Celebration” by Kool & the Gang through a small portable speaker, as the crowd cheered and clapped, banged on pots and pans with drumsticks and spoons. People in rows of passing cars pumped their fists and honked. Nearby, from a car, someone played Lizzo’s “Feeling Good As Hell.” People cheering from the side held up signs: “Love wins,” “Today is a new day,” “BLM” and “Return to sanity.”

Man in star-spangled jumper
Andrew Bieber, 30, in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood celebrating Joe Biden’s win on Saturday morning as cars drive by and honk. (Lilly Fowler/Crosscut)

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan commented on Twitter that it looked like it was going to be a nice day for a historic celebration, with no rain in the forecast. She reminded people to stay mindful of COVID-19, mask up, not gather in groups “and take care of each other.”

I have waited a lifetime to see a woman elected to the highest offices in America. Thank you Kamala Harris for having the courage to make it happen. And we thank your mother who taught you to believe in yourself and treat others with respect and compassion,” Durkan wrote in a statement.

Outside of a Seattle coffee shop, Sonora Jha, who teaches journalism at Seattle University, was drinking coffee with a friend and former student, whom she called after hearing the election news.

“I told her: Let’s go out and go scream in the streets,” said Jha, 52, who became an American citizen in 2016. This was her first time voting in a presidential election. She acknowledged that there’s plenty of work to do in this country. “It’s not that complete, crazy happiness,” she said. “At least there’s a clearing in which real progressive work can be done.”

Jha said Biden wasn’t her first choice and isn’t the progressive hero she was hoping for, but added, “Now we can go back to hating the president for normal things.”

Four neighbors gather in Seattle’s Phinney Ridge neighborhood to drink mimosas and celebrate. “Mimosas for democracy!” one neighbor shouted. Another, Jeanette Engel, said she is hopeful the new president and vice president will “want to be leaders for the entire country, not just the Democrats, not just the Republicans." (Lilly Fowler/Crosscut)

Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statement with his congratulations and expressed optimism about the future of America under Biden and Harris’ leadership.

“The Biden-Harris administration will restore our nation to its principles, with respect for the rights of each and every American, regardless of personal opinion or patronage,” Inslee wrote. “The promise of his candidacy spoke to Americans of all generations. He will bring thoughtful, compassionate and credible leadership to the White House.”

The governor also joined many celebrating the election of the first woman and first person of color to the office of vice president.

“She will be a transcendent public servant, speaking to millions of Americans who have been diminished and even villainized by the Trump administration. The daughter of immigrants, Kamala Harris now stands at the vanguard of a growing contingent of elected women of color who are shaping America’s present and future,” Inslee wrote.

U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who immigrated to the U.S. when she was a teenager, spoke of the power of people to fix institutions and work to heal the nation.

“I came to the United States by myself 38 years ago because my parents believed in the promise of America.” wrote Jayapal, the first Indian American woman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. “They believed in America’s ideals, in our democracy and that this was a place where change and progress were possible.”

She said this week’s election results show that U.S. democracy still works and that the power belongs to the people through the power of the vote.

Djenom Benjamin leads a line of revelers through Capitol Hill before making her way to a medium next to Cal Anderson Park. "Man I haven't slept in days, I've been so nervous," she said while waving a Bluetooth speaker playing Kool & the Gang's "Celebration" on repeat and sparking a dance party in the streets for dozens of people. (Shaminder Dulai/Crosscut)

Not everyone in the Puget Sound region thought a Biden win was something to celebrate. Mark Miloscia, the executive director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, predicted that under a Biden presidency Christian conservatives would be under attack for the next four years. 

Miloscia said he also thinks it is too early to say for sure that Biden has won the race, despite media outlets calling the race for Biden Saturday morning and experts saying there was no evidence of fraud. 

On Saturday, Miloscia called Biden “a puppet for the most radical forces in the Democratic Party,” including the Black Lives Matter movement, which he listed along with “Marxist ideology” as one of the things “working to destroy this country.” Miloscia previously served several terms in the Washington state House as a Democrat, but later changed his party and was a Republican state senator from 2015 to 2019.

Under a Biden presidency, Miloscia added, “The division in the nation is going to get a lot worse.”

Signs and dancing dotted the sidewalks of Pine Street, as crowds grew throughout the morning, and cars honked and waved signs as they drove by Cal Anderson Park. (Shaminder Dulai/Crosscut)

At least one Trump appointee from Washington state may be out of a job following the election. Don Benton, a former Republican state senator, was appointed by Trump in 2017 to lead the U.S. Selective Service System — better known as the draft. Benton, who previously headed Trump’s 2016 campaign in Washington state, didn’t respond to a voice message left on his cellphone Saturday.

Caleb Heimlich, the chair of the Washington State Republican Party, didn't immediately respond to a voice message seeking comment Saturday. Neither did state Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, who was deputy director of Trump's campaign in Washington state four years ago and has remained an ardent supporter of the president.

Back in Wallingford, Eden Marsicek, 33, joined strangers dancing in the street. She had been convinced Trump would win and said she was glad to be wrong.

“It just gives a little bit of hope,” Marsicek said. “The votes show at least half the country is ready for change.”

Biden is expected to address the nation later in the day. President Trump has shown no signs of planning to concede and continued to promote unsubstantiated claims of fraud with no evidence. (Shaminder Dulai/Crosscut)

Revelers of all ages were not uncommon at a gathering on Capitol Hill. Across the nation, similar public celebrations were taking place in Philidelphia, Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles and more. (Shaminder Dulai/Crosscut)

Someone drives by and gestures to people celebrating in the street near Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill after Joe Biden was projected to win the 2020 election on Nov. 7, 2020. (Dorothy Edwards/Crosscut)

Adrienne Schlatter, right, and their partner, Liz Cervantes, embrace in celebration near Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill after Joe Biden was projected to win the 2020 election on Nov. 7, 2020. (Dorothy Edwards/Crosscut)

Jamie Whalen, left, and their partner, Kelly Ngo, celebrate in the street near Cal Anderson Park in Capitol Hill. (Dorothy Edwards/Crosscut)

People wave signs and celebrate on Capitol Hill. (Dorothy Edwards/Crosscut)

People celebrate in the street in Capitol Hill after Joe Biden’s win on Nov. 7, 2020. (Dorothy Edwards/Crosscut)

Emotions ran the spectrum from relief to joy on Capitol Hill, as people celebrated. (Dorothy Edwards/Crosscut)

People celebrate in the street in Capitol Hill after Joe Biden’s win on Nov. 7, 2020. (Dorothy Edwards/Crosscut)

People watch as Kamala Harris and Joe Biden take the stage during the broadcast of their acceptance speeches at Sam’s Tavern on Nov. 7, 2020. (Dorothy Edwards/Crosscut)

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About the Authors & Contributors

Melissa Santos

Melissa Santos

Melissa Santos is formerly a Crosscut staff reporter who covered state politics and the Legislature.