I just never thought he would get this far.
It's possibly the most repeated phrase of 2016. We said it when Donald Trump became a serious contender for the Republican nomination, and again when he clenched it. Then there's the sad horror of having to say it again, once we knew without a doubt he'd won enough electoral votes to become president of the United States.
In the wee hours of November 9, I walked out of a midtown Houston bar where I'd been pre-celebrating what I'd thought would be Trump's embarrassing defeat. I'd been at the bar since 6:00 pm on Election Day, watching the results with my husband, Matt, and a few friends. As the night wore on, like-minded strangers gravitated to us and we assembled into a party of sorts in the semi-private upstairs room. We watched the electoral votes come in; each number added to Trump's tally subtracting from us a little of our cheer and confidence. As our anxiety grew, we comforted each other with false hope. "It won't happen," we said. "It can't." It would become the night's refrain.