NEW YORK—They had lined up for hours in lines that stretched city blocks, and they streamed into the Jacob Javits Center by the thousands, all trusting they would be witnesses to history and celebrants of the election of the first woman president.
They witnessed history alright, these most devoted Hillary Clinton fans. And they left the building in shock and in tears.
“No part of me expected this,” Laura Andrews, 69, said as she departed the Javits Center around 11:30 p.m. She was, like just about everyone who fled Clinton’s election-night party as the evening went sour, ashen and shell-shocked. Andrews had flown in from Clinton’s hometown of Park Ridge, Illinois, along with her husband, a high-school friend of the Democratic nominee. Mike Andrews, 69, was at a loss for words. “It seems like there’s so many people who wanted something different,” he said.
Election nights are always agony for the losing side, but defeat at the hands of Donald Trump left Clinton supporters all the more stunned because they believed, deeply, it could never come to pass. The Clinton campaign, too, had not prepared for any of this. Weeks before the election, it had booked the sprawling convention center along the Hudson River for two apparent reasons: It had space for thousands of fans, and it would allow for the dramatic symbolism of Clinton claiming the presidency under a glass ceiling. The only hint of concern had come a few days before the election, when a fireworks show planned for Election Night was cancelled without explanation.