Tough Night at the Dems' Results-Watch Party

From left, Rona Klopman, an active member of the East Hampton Democratic Committee, along with Betty Mazur, the committee's vice chairwoman, and Audrey Gaines, an East Hampton resident who heads the East Hampton Town Anti-Bias Task Force, were among those who watched the election results at an East Hampton Democratic Committee gathering on Tuesday night at LTV Studios. Christine Sampson

The atmosphere at LTV Studios in Wainscott, which the East Hampton Town Democrats rented Tuesday night for an election-watching celebration, was far from celebratory.

Some people paced, frowning. Others sat huddled in small groups, whispering to each other, eyes glued to the giant screen tallying the counts. They cheered a few of Hillary Clinton's victories in key states, but booed Representative Lee Zeldin after someone changed the channel to show his victory speech. And when it was announced that Donald J. Trump had won in Ohio -- the state considered the strongest predictor of presidential victory for the last several decades -- a murmur passed through the crowd of about 40. They remained hushed afterward, as the prospect of a Democratic defeat grew more and more certain. Even the free cookies went mostly uneaten.

"I'm really patriotic, and I love the democracy in this country, but I'm really sad for it right now," Cate Rogers of Springs said as the evening wound down and Mr. Trump's victory became imminent. "There's this us-versus-them mentality. Whoever 'us' is or whoever 'them' is, it's just not the America I grew up in. That's all I can say."

Few people were eager to speak on the record, preferring to keep their thoughts about what was happening to themselves.

Betty Mazur, the vice chairwoman of the East Hampton Town Democrats, who helped mobilize about 100 Clinton volunteers this year, called the idea of a Trump presidency unfortunate and frightening. "We really have to find out what is possessing these Trump supporters to make them so susceptible to people like him," she said. "They are not reasonable or logical. We have to try to understand them."

Jeanne Frankl, the town Democratic chairwoman, said many committee members felt that "there really has been an existential crisis for America. This is the most challenging election for many of us in our lifetimes, and East Hampton has a lot of people who have been around a long time. I don't think they have seen anything like it."