Ben’s Chili Bowl is an epicenter of District Obama supporters. Nearly every employee wears a button—-or twelve. Everyone’s expecting a clear win for Ben’s favorite candidate. But what are they going to do if McCain wins? I spoke to D.C. residents enjoying their election day lunch at Ben’s to find out their worst case scenarios.
Carl Clark, Obama merch hawker. Clark says he’s been selling Obama buttons, which he collects from a flea market on Florida Ave. & 4th St. NW, for about a month. (Designs range from Obama/MLK “Legacy of Hope” to “Obama: First Black President.”) Clark says that if Obama wins, he’ll keep picking up some more designs to sell off before the inauguration. If McCain wins, “well, I guess it’s all over for me,” he says.
Alex Beaton and Nick Pisano, American University students. Beaton and Pisano were on their way to Obama headquarters at 9th St. & Florida Ave. NW to work the phone bank when they stopped at Ben’s for a half-smoke. Beaton voted for Obama absentee in Vernmont; Pisano did the same in New Jersey. What is Pisano going to do if McCain wins? “Be very upset,” he says. Beaton confirms. “Yes.”
James Dolo, Ben’s employee. Dolo, who is from Liberia, isn’t eligible to vote in the United States. He supports Obama, but if McCain wins, “I will support him, too,” says Dolo. “And wait for the next four years.”
Alan Gropman, Distinguished Professor of National Security Policy. Gropman, who voted for Obama, hasn’t prepared for the possibility of a McCain victory. “He’s not going to win,” he says. “Not gonna happen.” If McCain does win, “It wouldn’t be good for the country,” says Gropman. “I think his choice of Palin was sad. And I think you, as a woman, should be infuriated by it.”
Clinton Thompson, unemployed. Thompson, who lives at the Central Union Mission on 14th & R Sts. NW, is not registered to vote. If he did have a vote, it would be for Obama. “I’ll build my world around him,” says Thompson of the U.S. president-in-waiting. He’s hoping not to build his world around McCain. “He’s not the one for me,” says Thompson.