SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – On the day after Election Day, some Bay Area Democrats say they are in a state of heightened anxiety, combined with disappointment and hopelessness as they wait for a final result.
Pre-election poll numbers had former Vice President Joe Biden winning the presidency by a wide lead.
But with Biden ahead with a razor thin margin in the Electoral College as of Wednesday night, and more than 68 million votes cast for President Donald Trump, Democrat Mary Jo Blazek said the disappointment piled on top of general anxiety about the close race, left her shaking her head.
“It kind of hurts my heart. There are so many people that want to continue the way we are, and continue the hate, continue the craziness,” Blazek told KPIX 5.
Donna Crane, adjunct professor of political science at San Jose State University, said both Democrats and Republicans are feeling very anxious. But Dems are feeling especially guarded with emotions, after the last election.
“It’s terrifying, they’re experiencing a lot of PTSD from 2016,” said Crane. “One phrase that I can use to describe the Democrats, is cautiously nauseous.”
Dr. Jennifer Dragonette, executive director of the Newport Institute, who specializes in anxiety and trauma, says the stress of the pandemic, and now unknown election results, can make voters feel cornered.
“Everybody in our society has been through so much collective stress and trauma that I really do want to acknowledge that it’s OK if you’re not feeling OK,” said Dragonette.
“But right now this is not a fear that you can run from, it’s a fear that we have to sit with and wait for results can come in, so we know how to feel next. And so when we’re in that place, we really need to just turn to our own self care.”
Dragonette advises the following steps to manage anxiety: get enough sleep, eat foods that reduce inflammation, practice breathing and mindfulness exercises, and be present in the moment.
Juan Diaz, who voted for Biden, said being a Democrat in 2020 is “crazy and hectic.” Diaz came to Penitencia Creek Park in north San Jose to run several miles to help with anxiety and nerves.
“Working out just makes me happy,” said Diaz.