A bottle of champagne was meant to be the starter of the night, but it quickly became vodka. Inside the sweeping Los Angeles home of power couple Aaron Rosenberg and Danny Rose - the former an entertainment lawyer to Ariana Grande, John Legend, Meghan Trainor, Jennifer Lopez and Justin Bieber, the latter a Hollywood producer for Scrubs, Cougar Town and Scorpion - the two were preparing for a night of celebration, heading to what was assumed would be the victory party for California's Attorney General Kamala Harris, a U.S. Senate candidate. But instead the mood was dour: Donald Trump, who would inevitably become the victor in one of the most divisive presidential elections in American history, was starting to take hold on a lead over Hillary Clinton.
Rose, a Miami native who has only voted absentee in Florida throughout his life, wishes he'd taken a trip to the polling place in person. "If he lost Florida, good night," he says. "Now, it's a tough one." They call an Uber to take them to the nightclub Exchange LA. Rosenberg says that they initially got involved in the DNC last year and did a fundraiser for President Obama in February and first learned of Harris at an event thrown by CAA's Kevin Huvane, whom they would later see at the Senate hopeful's campaign party.
Their house is sprawling, the perfect setting to throw parties, like the one they held in Harris' honor, where Rosbenberg's client John Legend spoke. They aren't single-issue voters, but with a 1-year-old son named Gabriel and another due in April, they're contemplating how Harris winning her bid for Senate will affect their well-being. "For us, even though we're a 'nontraditional family,' when you have a child, you can't help but have certain traditional values," says Rosenberg, 39. The two married in a lavish wedding in 2012: They rode down the aisle on a horse with a unicorn horn and had performances from Ciara, Joss Stone and Legend. "You want children protected, and that's one thing she's passionate about."
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Rosenberg and Rose are now balancing life as professionals and parents, so the election has more weight than ever. The former, native to Kansas City, Missouri, has built a career as one of the music industry's top attorneys, becoming the youngest-ever partner at Myman Greenspan. He's represented Bieber since the pop star was 13 and took on Legend as a client shortly after graduating from Harvard Law School. Throughout the election cycle, he's conversed with clients about America's political future, discussing how the world could soon change. "When you have a client that's so passionate and committed to certain social causes," he says, "that makes it all the more worthwhile."
In the car on the way to Exchange LA, fear starts to set in. Rose streams CNN on his phone; Rosenberg contemplates a Trump presidency. "If you look at Germany in the early 1930s, massive economic downturn and collapse, people [were] angry, people [were] looking for someone to blame," he says. "It's dangerous, because people are angry and blindly put their faith in one person. In Germany, in the 1930s, you saw what that one person did" - that would be Hitler - "and if we don't learn from history, we will repeat it. In the 1940s, they put our Japanese brothers and sisters into internment camps in this country. What are they going to do to our Muslim brothers and sisters, which is absolutely preposterous? It is very scary."
At Exchange LA, Harris is announced as the victor, yet gloom hangs over the venue. A live feed of the election results is projected behind the podium, where Harris will give her acceptance speech later in the night. Rosenberg and Rose mingle with a few guests, including 42 West's Dvora Englefield and Troy Carter, who recently joined Spotify as its global head of creator services. Carter reflects on the moment he realized America might be in trouble, when he went to support his client Meghan Trainor a few years ago at a Pennsylvania state fair. "We stopped at one stand with all Confederate Flag stuff," he says. "That's what blew my mind. … I said, 'This is what America looks like.'"
Almost two hours after they've arrived, Rosenberg and Rose get restless. Harris has yet to appear, and they call a car to take them home. Around midnight, Trump is a guaranteed lock for president, and Rosenberg sends a text. "We are thrilled about Kamala but bummed about Hillary," he writes. "Trying to be optimistic that the country will come together and hopeful that Trump will do what he can to unify the country… Politics be damned - love conquers all."
This article originally appeared in Billboard.com.