Nigel Farage’s 2016 celebration of Nigel Farage’s 2016 is a party that might never stop. And it is a jolly affair. Yesterday, at the Hay-Adams Hotel, in Washington, DC, Nigel and his pals — let’s call them the champagne populists — had a US election bash. Nigel stood up to do his usual routine about how this year would be remembered in a hundred years as the glorious moment when nation state democracy reasserted itself, and everybody cheered.
The champagne populists raised lots of glasses to themselves and talked about how they got Donald J Trump elected to the White House. Meanwhile, the American voters who actually elected Donald J Trump to the White House had had to stand in ridiculously long security queues to witness their moment of history at a concert at the Lincoln Memorial.
I met some real deplorables yesterday — not at the Farage party, of course; they never would have been allowed in. But on the Mall waiting for the police to let them in to the inauguration festivities. They were standing around a stall selling wacky Trump merchandise and reminiscing about the excitement of the election. Two west-coast boys told me about how they were nearly beaten up by some ‘gangbangers’ in Anaheim for wearing Trump hats. ‘We’re on YouTube,’ one told me, laughing. ‘It was great. The police came … there was helicopters and gas and shit.’ The stall had ‘Les Deplorables’ badges for sale. ‘Kind of a French Revolution thing going on there,’ said the seller. ‘It’s what’s happening here.’
Les deplorables were enjoying themselves. They wanted to talk about immigration and money. ‘I think California is lost to us now,’ said one man, referring to the huge Hispanic population in the Golden State. ‘We should chop it off.’ One woman I spoke to was cross with Ivanka Trump for having suggested that the state should cover childcare for women who worked. ‘I had to pay for my kids daycare,’ she said, ‘Why should I pay again?’ She fantasised about Ivanka running against Chelsea Clinton in 20 years time: ‘That would be fun,’ she said. Nobody seemed to take Trump too seriously — but they were excited about the possibility that America was changing. Like Nigel Farage and the champagne populists, they felt this could be their moment in the sun.