As the evening progresses, the drip, drip of bad news turns into a deluge
ptimism abounds at Clinton headquarters in New York as the first results trickle in. Thousands of people wait in lines that stretch down 34th Street and 10th Avenue outside the Javits Center. They all came for the election victory party.
“I’ve been waiting here since 8:30 in the morning,” says Nicole, 24, of New York. For Nicole, the possibility that Clinton won’t win is non-existent. “I’m excited about the first woman president,” she announces. “It worries me that Trump has so many supporters, but I still think Hillary will win.”
Inside the hall itself, the atmosphere is electric. The music blares, the energy in the room pulses, the lines outside keep growing.
But suddenly, something begins to falter. Trump is ahead in Virginia. “They haven’t yet counted the areas near D.C.,” one network explains.
As the evening progresses, the drip, drip of bad news turns into a deluge. As long as the race is tight in Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, the crowd remains optimistic. The crowd cheers Hillary’s win in New Mexico, gushes about a Democrat winning a senate seat.
But as soon as Ohio is called — a state whose vote only twice in the last century did not predict the electoral outcome — the mood turns into one of shellshock. The crowd falls silent, and the lines outside dissipate.
When it becomes clear that both Florida and North Carolina are in the bag for the Republican, the energy leaves the room. “There’s no reason to wait for the official announcement of 270,” supporters say as they head for the exits. “It’s over,” a young couple says to me at 11:00 as they walk out of the door.
The stream only grows stronger as the hours tick by and the shrieks of victory for every small win — Connecticut — seem forced and artificial.
Lucianne Thompson, a New Yorker, says she’s too depressed to stay. “It’s so sad for me. It’s a sad day for this country. I’m going home.”
Only the hard-core supporters remain and they continue to sing and wave flags. Optimistic to the last, they smile to the cameras. But when the results in Pennsylvania are declared it’s clear that it’s over.
John Podesta, Hillary’s campaign chairman, appears on stage and announces that Hillary won’t deliver a concession speech tonight. The last of the activists head for the exits. The glass ceiling won’t be broken here tonight.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 634)
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