Hillary Clinton: Voting for myself was the ‘most humbling feeling’
Fresh from a midnight rally with Bon Jovi and Lady Gaga in North Carolina, Clinton flew home early in the morning and voted at an elementary school in Chappaqua, New York. “So many people are counting on the outcome of this election, what it means for our country and I’ll do the very best I can if I’m fortunate enough to win today,” she told a reporter.
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Trump spent the night before addressing a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, with no celebrities, but claimed he had the backing of the New England Patriots star quarterback, Tom Brady, and their head coach, Bill Belichick. Trump
entered his polling station in midtown Manhattan to a chorus of boos outside but a warm welcome from a supporter inside.
A few blocks south in Manhattan, Jessie Chaffee was voting in Greenwich Village, the neighborhood she’d grown up in and voted in for years. Chaffee, author of the novel Florence in Ecstasy, had tickets for Clinton’s election party in the Javits Center that night. The moment she saw a woman’s name on the ballot was incredibly moving, she said. “It was not unlike the feeling eight years earlier, when voting for Obama. Being able to vote for a black man for president,” she recalled. “That morning there was hope and excitement.” She took a moment to sit down in a park after voting and soak it all in.
In Rochester, New York state, many chose to mark the milestone by placing their “I voted” stickers on the grave of suffragette leader Susan B Anthony.
Across the country, Maurice Cheeks, a city councilman in Madison, Wisconsin, put a shirt that said Future Feminist on his 10-month-old daughter. “I was excited because … she was going to have the opportunity to grow up in a world where she was going to get to see,” a female president, he told the Guardian.
Polls close and the pundits go into overdrive
As the polls closed, Americans left work and gathered with their friends and family to watch the results pour in. Panelists from all the major networks gathered for the night they’d been preparing for the past 18 months. They all began by explaining how incredibly difficult it would be for Trump to win the election.
As pollsters reminded people throughout the night, in order for Trump to win he would have to first win Florida, which he was predicted to lose, and then destroy the “blue firewall” of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, three states a Republican had not won in a generation, and Trump was also predicted to lose.
Clinton supporters were hopeful of a
landslide victory and the beginning of a liberal zenith brought about by shifting demographics in the country.
The pundits for each network were all providing their analysis, with CNN’s John King jumping around the interactive map, zooming in and out of counties to explain their significance.
In Washington, Elizabeth Williams and her boyfriend went to a watch party in the Adams Morgan area with friends. The atmosphere at the bar, full of Clinton supporters, was buoyant. “I heard she had a glass ceiling,” Williams recalls her friend saying about the expected Clinton victory party. People were ordering rounds of drinks, as five TVs above the bar were playing the results.
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Penny Dailey came home from work in Sacramento, California, full of joy and anticipation to see the first woman being elected US president. “It was close to what I felt to my son being born. It was that joyful.”
The first few states were called in the direction that most people expected. Trump winning West Virginia, Tennessee and other solidly Republican states, and Clinton winning reliably Democratic states such as Connecticut and Illinois.
In CNN’s situation room, John King was becoming more and more breathless as he explained that Florida was a lot tighter than people had expected. Just hours before, analysts said the early signs looked good for Clinton but now she was neck-and-neck with Trump.
At the bar in Adams Morgan, Williams said the place suddenly got a lot quieter as people stopped joking with one another and became glued to their phones. “People stopped going to the bar, they wanted to be attentive and sober.”
A huge surge in the Latino vote was not enough to give Clinton the state of Florida. Trump won and defied all expectations, which sent pundits, analysts, and pollsters into a headspin to try to calculate what Clinton’s remaining path to victory might be.
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