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2016 Election: Americans Watch From Hong KongIt was just after 11 in the morning on Wednesday in Hong Kong when Donald Trump was predicted to win Ohio, but it was not too early for the scrum of middle-aged Democrats holed up in a Belgian beer bar to order tequila. Theyd rented a private room here, with a projection screen on which was cast a stream of NBC News. It was supposed to be a good morning. I thought Id come here for a nice morning, as a formality, then go on my way, says Anthony Solimini, who like so many of the 60,000 American expatriates in Hong Kong works in finance in his case, wealth management at UBS. He had a Leffe beer in front of him, and also the dregs of a Bloody Mary in a glass goblet, which he said was his wifes. And now Im physically sick. Im so depressed. Get The Brief. Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know rig

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For your security, we've sent a confirmation email to the address you entered. Click the link to confirm your subscription and begin receiving our newsletters. If you don't get the confirmation within 10 minutes, please check your spam folder. And so they drank. Buttons that the Democrats Abroad had handed out featuring the name Hillary in Chinese characters and the Hong Kong skyline superimposed within Clintons forward-pointing H logo were forgotten on wooden tabletops beneath the stems of mimosa glasses. The atmosphere in the room was one of vivid dissociation, as if everything that had just happened was at once real and hysterically unreal. Folks were furi

ously sketching in the margins of the electoral-college maps that had been distributed around the room, trying to work out the math that would lead to a Clinton victory. Bankers checked on the Dow, which was in free fall.

In a corner, one woman stared down at her phone, bl

inking back tears.

Buttons in support of Hillary Clinton, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, sit at an election-watch party organized by Democrats Abroad in Hong Kong on Nov. 9, 2016 Bloomberg/Getty Images  Solimini says hes a Republican at heart I dont want to pay taxes, I dont want the government to spend money wastefully but that nearly three decades of living overseas had brought the American shift [towards] racism, ignorance, and violence into sharp relief.  I dont apologize for being an American, but it gets tougher to defend it, he says. Everybody that I work with has been over at my desk in the last six months, asking how? Why? And I just dont know. By 1 p.m. local time, Trump had 244 electoral-college votes; Clinton trailed with 209. During a commercial break, conversation at one table turned to the massive anti-China demonstration in Hong Kong three nights earlier, prompted by Beijings decision to intervene in the political fate of two local legislators who support Hong Kongs independence from China. Since the British returned Hong Kong to China in 1997 as a semiautonomous territory, Hong Kong has been the only Chinese city with even a facsimile of democracy. In recent years its people have taken to the streets to clamor for more. They are trapped between the democratic institutions bequeathed to them by British rule a legislature, freedoms of speech and press and Beijings ultimate sovereignty. Those who scoff at the pro-democracy activists have pointed to the U.S. election as a litmus test of Western democracys merits, or rather its lack of them.



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The Chinese state media has had a particularly gleeful time during the U.S. election. An Oct. 8 editorial in the Global Times, a mouthpiece for the Communist leadership, crowed at the chaos that was burgeoning across the Pacific. All this weirdness not only clearly shows the predicament of the U.S. political establishment, it read, it also points straight at the corrupt practices of the U.S. political system. 

 I guarantee you that T

rump hopes he loses, one man in the Democrats barroom said, moments after Clinton took Nevada, bringing her to 215 electoral-college votes still trailing Trump. Across the table, Solimini was speaking into his iPhone. Youve reached

the voice mail of Anthony Solimini, he said. Ive officially retired from the human race.

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