US election 2020: Dubai's Trump supporters hope for victory
Americans watch the drama unfold at Trump International Golf Club
The US presidential election hung in the balance on Wednesday but supporters of President Donald Trump in Dubai were hoping for the best.
Trump International Golf Club proved the perfect place to watch the US presidential elections results pour in.
What started as a few like-minded Americans gathering for a morning coffee to watch the drama unfold, soon transformed into an election party as Mr Trump appeared he might be able to cling on to power for four more years. But nothing was certain.
The experience was considerably different to four years ago, with people following physical-distancing regulations and wearing face masks.
There are more people out there like me than you would realise
As the excitement began to build, much of the chatter among Americans was which way their home states had voted and who would win 270 Electoral College votes.
“Texas is always red,” said Daniel Edwards, 35, from Houston.
“It looks like it will go down to Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina and Wisconsin. Those swing states look like they will be crucial.
“It will be interesting to see how fast it will get to 270.
“We will stay here for most of the day but we may have to go home to watch the final results come in.”
By 10am, Florida, one of the key states in the election, had retained its Republican status with Trump winnning about 51 per cent of the vote. Iowa and Ohio also backed the president.
Less than an hour later and Pennsylvania looked to be heading the same way with Mr Trump taking 56 per cent of the vote with time running out for his Democrat rival, Joe Biden.
By noon, Mr Biden looked to be regaining more states for the Democrats but most analysts had Mr Trump as a favourite to remain in the White House.
It was not only Trump supporters who turned out to watch the coverage on Fox News.
They may have stood out from the crowd in their striking Trump uniform of red caps emblazoned with the slogan "Make American Great Again", but there were also supporters of Mr Biden from South Carolina, Virginia and Louisiana.
Mr Edwards, who works in the oil and gas industry, was not surprised by the huge turnout of Trump supporters to vote on election day.
“It shows a lot of people supported Trump from the closet," said Mr Edwards, who lives in Arabian Ranches.
"The turnout has been huge. Everyone thought Biden was going to win but it looks like the same situation as in 2016.
“For Americans, the economy is so important.
“Trump is probably the most hated man on the planet and when he first took over there was so much negativity, not just from Americans.
“Americans living overseas definitely see him more in a positive light now with the impact he has had on the Middle East.
“America is the world police, it has to be. Trump is a strong leader who can keep things in perspective.”
Mr Biden may have started election day as the overwhelming favourite but early on a repeat of the 2016 election when Hillary Clinton found herself at the wrong end of a similar upset looked on the cards.
Both were claiming to be on track for victory but nothing was guaranteed.
Mr Trump cried foul on postal votes, called the situation fraudulent and told the nation he was heading to the US Supreme Court to challenge the result if the Democrats were voted in. But Mr Biden struck a different tone telling people to be patient and ensure all votes were counted.
Much has changed in the way Mr Trump is viewed at home and abroad, according to Texan Amber Morris, 34.
“I did not used to support Mr Trump,” said Ms Morris, who moved to the UAE five years ago. “The Covid-19 lockdown gave me time to do all my own research on him and what he stood for.
“I realised he had done a lot of work for minority communities, the general media view of him being a racist just wasn’t true.
“When I was a kid he was in all the rap videos so I wondered how he could be this kind of person.
“There is a lot of misunderstanding if you just take what comes out of his mouth [but] when you read what he has actually done it is very different.”
Women and Latinos were happy to pile their support behind Mr Trump, despite a view he alienated many with reports of poor conduct.
“Suburban women have not been unsupportive of Trump. As a woman I have never felt my rights or liberties would be restricted under his administration,” said Ms Morris.
Prior to polling day, more than 100 million Americans cast their ballot and with millions more turning out on the day the election was set for the highest participation rate in a century.
“In America people are being verbally and physically attacked for being Trump supporters. Luckily here in the UAE there is more tolerance so we found each other to watch the high drama,” said Nikki Cruz, 42, who moved to Dubai from California eight years ago.
“I am a Hispanic Latino woman and I like his policies, particularly in the Middle East.
“There are more people out there like me than you would realise. We just want someone to fight for us who is not a standard politician.”
The Latino vote proved crucial in Florida and was a state Mr Trump had to win.
Mrs Cruz, who lives in Al Barsha, was expecting to put celebrations on hold as the final result may not be known for some days.
“Trump has not got involved in the swamp politics," she said. "We don’t want someone who has been there for 47 years [like Biden].”
Updated: November 5, 2020 12:51 AM