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Democrats Still Aren’t Giving Up on “Fight Song”

Photograph by Evy Mages

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Welcome to the morning after. Sorry, I didn’t make you any eggs.

I spent my very long evening at the Hyatt Regency Washington with the House Democrats. Their suits and dresses? Pressed. Their glasses? Warby. Their bar? Cash. This was the reality for all happy Democratic warriors who packed the basement ballroom where the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee held its election night returns party. Last night, the libs did most of the owning; the energy was present…but it still wasn’t quite the electric insurgence some Democrats had predicted over the last several months.

With a playlist akin to the one played at my Sweet 16, with “good feeling” tunes like “Walking on Sunshine” and “Beautiful Day,” Democratic supporters and sipped drinks and ate hot pretzels with cheese, cheering every time Beto O’Rourke‘s smile graced the big screens (which were showing CNN and MSNBC). The Texas charmer seemed to receive more love than the leadership, who offered clichés about blue waves and ripples. There were no shortage of water metaphors last night, folks.

I ran into Jonny Madison, a 40-year-old Washington resident and lifelong Democrat. He was wearing a shirt that said “The Pee Tape Is Real” a hat that said “Make America Great Again” in Cyrillic. A buddy got an invite and took him along. “I’m here to party and be part of the energy,” Madison said.

Photograph by Brittany Shepherd.

Gabrielle Viens and Serengeti Timungwa were also there for the energy. The two early 20-something policy analysts said they weren’t fazed by the “own the libs” ideology of young conservative DC, telling me that Dems have answered the hot right wing internet rhetoric with record breaking celebrity involvement in campaigns. Viens pointed to Oprah, Billy Eichner‘s “Glam Up the Midterms” campaign, and Taylor Swift‘s recent social media messages as a way Democrats could engage and energize young liberals. Timungwa added that young people have been more vocal about minority representation, too.

Not everyone was exploding with delight. As many attendees shook and, dare I say, shimmied to “Get Lucky” and “Run the World (Girls),” two Democrats who did not wish not to be named told me that they weren’t feeling especially jubilant. “I wish my expectations were lower so I could be more excited” one said as the mixed returns came on the screen.

Honestly, this entire thing felt far more like LollaPelosi than Blue Wave’s Rocking Eve. Later in the evening, attendees exclaimed “Yaaaaas Speaker” as Nancy Pelosi entered to “Simply the Best” for her final remarks. She even brought a hype man of sorts in Keith Ellison. But as she recycled some applause lines from her opening speech, including a bit on the importance of “E pluribus unum” and a promise to “find our common ground where we can, stand our ground when we can’t,” those whoops subsided some when she exhorted the crowd, “Let’s hear it more for preexisting medical conditions.”

Notable too, was that the party was really two parties. VIPs and their friends and family mostly watched in a separate soiree called the “Speaker’s Cabinet” next door.  People at that party had a roped-off area to prance around in the main room and swish their $12 glasses of wine. Hey, at least they didn’t play “Fight Song” last night. Just kidding—they did that too.

SOMETHING YOU PROBABLY KNOW: Jennifer Wexton won with 55.1 percent of the vote in the much-watched 10th District race, kicking GOP incumbent Barbara Comstock to the curb.

SOMETHING YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: Virginia got even bluer when Elaina Lura beat Scott Taylor and Abigail Spanberger beat Dave Brat. BUT, A PLOT TWIST: the Bigfoot Erotica guy won.

A haunting reminder: Just 730 days until we do this all again for the general.

How did you spend your election night? Celebrating? Three sheets to the wind? Let me know at bshepherd@washingtonian.com—and I promise not to judge you too much.

What we have cooking at Washingtonian:

• Grilled cheese and tomato soup. Oxtail pho. French fries. Our food team rounds up the 21 best comfort foods around DC right now.

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• If your idea of a fall weekend involves a butler and lions, do we have a resort for you.

• DC chef Eric Adjepong is on the new season of Top Chef. So you should read this interview with him simply out of local pride and not because he’s also been named one of People’s Sexiest Chefs Alive.

• Tail Up Goat will launch a brunch service next month. The $40 prix-fixe menu isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s easier on your bank account than dinner at the Michelin-starred restaurant!

Our pick for things to do around town:

LECTURE Explore art criticism at a lecture by New York Times critic Roberta Smith at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Smith will reflect on her career and how art criticism has evolved in the last four decades, especially as art by people of color has become more prominent and celebrated. Free, 6:30 PM.

Good reads:

• “Republicans have lost the suburbs.” Tim Alberta puts the Republicans’ House loss up on the table and begins cutting. (Politico Magazine)

• More like HQ3, amirite? Denver says it’s still in the running. (The Atlantic)

Big events from Washingtonian

Enjoy these photos from our swanky Top Doctors event!

Would you like to get personalized advice from a food critic? Ask Ann Limpert a question now and she’ll try to answer it during her weekly chat this Friday.

We’re bringing back our series in which locals track the food they eat, the money they spend, and other activities they enjoy over the course of a weekend (we don’t want any trouble with spam filters, so you’ll have to click this link for more details). Email ideas@washingtonian.com or reach out to me directly if you’re interested in learning more and submitting. (And check out some of my fav past submissions.) (PS—JOURNALISTS, YOU CANNOT SUBMIT ONE OF THESE.)

If your can make your dog an Instagram, you can submit your pup for DC’s cutest dog contest.

Let’s drink whiskey together! Our annual Whiskey & Fine Spirits is Thursday, November 15. Head to Union Market’s Dock 5 for a festive evening of tasting whiskey, bourbon, gin, vodka, rum, tequila, and more. Tickets are selling fast, but you can still score some here. For the loyal Washingtonian Today readers, here’s a 10 percent discount code just for you: POURITUP

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Staff Writer

Brittany Shepherd covers the societal and cultural scene in political Washington. Before joining Washingtonian as a staff writer in 2018, Brittany was a White House Correspondent for Independent Journal Review. While she has lived in DC for a number of years now, she still yearns for the fresh Long Island bagels of home. Find her on Twitter, often prattling on about Frasier.