Trump expanded his support in Beverly Hills, a rare spot of red in blue L.A. County
Hours after the U.S. presidential election was called for Joe Biden on Saturday morning, an older, dark-haired woman clutched her ash-blue jacket tighter in a chilly shadow cast by the Greystone Mansion in one of the priciest areas of Beverly Hills. She wasn’t feeling festive.
“What do you want me to say? I’m not happy,” said the woman walking on Loma Vista Drive in the 90210 ZIP Code and who, like many Beverly Hills residents asked about their perspective on the election, declined to give her name. Without going into policy specifics, the woman said that although she did not dislike Biden, she didn’t support “what he’s going to do.”
The woman lives in the Trousdale Estates area, where the average home sale price is currently more than $15 million. It’s also in one of two adjacent neighborhoods in Beverly Hills where a majority of voters chose Donald Trump over Biden in the recent election.
On a Times map of election results, the two precincts — both above Sunset Boulevard in the areas synonymous with wealth — stick out like a red thumb among the blue sea representing what has traditionally been seen as Los Angeles’ liberal stronghold on the Westside. They are some of the county’s most affluent areas, yet they backed Trump more than neighboring luxury areas such as Bel-Air, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades and Holmby Hills, which went to Biden along with other parts of Beverly Hills.
About a mile and a half southwest of Trousdale Estates, Shane Steel passed the Beverly Hills Hotel on his way to a celebratory breakfast with his uncle.
The 24-year-old resident of the same precinct that backed Trump, Steel said he was “very happy” with the results. He supports Biden.
But neighboring precincts — which run roughly from Trousdale Estates to the Los Angeles Country Club, with the Beverly Hills Hotel in the middle — voted for Trump 56% to 44%, according to data from The Times.
When it came to light that one of the same neighborhoods, or precincts, in 2016 voted for Trump over Hillary Clinton, it was seen as an anomaly. This time around, no one seemed shocked to learn that an even wider swath of the small, affluent city of about 34,000 went red.
“Trump has been very good for rich people,” Steel said, “and I think that sometimes people forget to think about human life and human policies versus what’s good for your wallet.”
Walking his dog near Will Rogers Memorial Park, just south of Sunset Boulevard, resident David Shapiro said he voted for Trump for the first time this year — abstaining in 2016 — because of his economic and tax policies, as well as his support of Israel and tough stance on China.
A Jewish emigre from Moscow, Shapiro, 65, said that Trump was not cozy with Russia as many people thought and that America was not seen as a friend in his home country.
“He’s good for international relations,” said Shapiro, a businessman. “We don’t have any war — the problem is there will be war in the Middle East. And he’s good to Israel.”
For Trump supporters feeling alienated from family and friends, the Beverly Hills rallies are a chance to commune with like-minded people amid a festive atmosphere.
Beverly Hills Mayor Lester Friedman said he didn’t see the expansion of Trump voters to two neighborhoods as indicative of a trend.
“I don’t really sense a big change in political outlooks, just that they’re more vocal,” Friedman said by phone Friday afternoon.
As some residents noted, pro-Trump supporters have gathered every week for nearly four months along one of Beverly Hills’ main thoroughfares to proclaim their support for the president. Rally organizer and resident Shiva Bagheri said in late October that the events empowered people like her to go from “the silent majority” to the “loud-lion majority.”
On Saturday morning, a handful of Trump supporters gathered at a park where the rally usually kicked off at 2 p.m. A man and a woman who declined to comment were standing behind a sign calling for the recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom, as neighborhoods just a few miles away were celebrating Biden’s victory by dancing in the street, cheering and honking their horns.
Contrary to the notion of a louder electorate, many Trump and Biden supporters said they felt they could not speak fully on the record for fear of retribution from neighbors or potential negative impacts to their business. One man from Bel-Air went off on Trump but then declined to give his name, saying, “I have to work in this town.”
Despondent Trump supporters say they can’t accept Biden-Harris win
Longtime Beverly Hills resident Adrienne, 81, would give only her first name. The lifelong Republican who immediately switched to independent when Trump became the nominee said she hoped Biden could bring back a sense of normalcy and common sense. Several people in her condo support the president and don’t wear masks, something she thinks is a mistake.
“The world is laughing at us,” she said. “We need to get back to calmness. We need to get back to where we were the strongest nation on Earth.”
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