FRED PROUSER/REUTERS | Donald Trump won.
It really happened.
He said he was in favor of banning people from entering the United States based on their religion.
He believes that women he finds physically unattractive or overweight are lesser people.
He thinks that many Mexican immigrants are rapists.
He encouraged violence against protesters at his political rallies.
For years, he was the most notable person pushing the conspiracy theory that the first black president was illegitimate because he was supposedly not born in the United States.
And now, he will be America’s 45th president ― a position of power and prestige, meant to be the role model for children all over the country and offer the best of the best to the rest of the world.
Democrats and the Republicans who couldn’t stomach the idea of Trump were not prepared for this outcome. Even as the polls tightened, Democrats were confident in public and private that they had this. There was no way Trump was going to get elected.
Trump’s win also means that America lost a chance to make history by electing the first female president. Hillary Clinton has been in the public eye as a Hill staffer, an activist, a first lady, a U.S. senator and secretary of state. She’s been on the cover of Time magazine 30 times and has been named America’s most-admired woman a record 20 times in Gallup polls.
Overheard at Clinton hq: “So much for the glass ceiling.” The mood is not good over here.
— Amie Parnes (@amieparnes) November 9, 2016
As it became clearer that Clinton wasn’t going to win, some of her supporters began crying and leaving what was supposed to be a victory party at the Javits Center in New York City.
“I brought my 12-year-old daughter here to witness history,” Sarah Alexander said, walking out of the Javits Center looking stunned. Her daughter Natalie was in tears. They came up to New York from Washington, where Alexander had been working on the Clinton campaign for the past 14 months.
“We’re in total shock. … Everything he stands for is something I disagree with,” Alexander said, as her daughter listened with sad wet eyes.
There was a similar scene at a nearby block party for Clinton supporters, with a steady stream of people leaving the bars, holding hands, with tears in their eyes and American flags in their pockets. Many of them said they were too distraught to give their thoughts on what was happening.
“I don’t understand what [Clinton] projects that people find so hateful,” said Benjamin Morse, 45, as he teared up.
Over the years, Clinton has, in many ways, been the case study for sexism in politics and a reflection of the changing role of women in modern society. She has faced intense scrutiny over what kind of a woman she is: her hairstyles, her clothes, her lifestyle choices, the sound of her voice, whether she’s likable enough.
Her candidacy became a rallying cry for many women, both Democratic and Republican, who had faced their own glass ceilings.
For her supporters, she’s always had to work harder and live up to standards that her male counterparts didn’t. And so it was particularly infuriating for them that she went down against a man who had made so many sexist comments over the years and that so much of the campaign focused on these issues.
But as a presidential candidate, she failed to excite many voters who said they just didn’t quite trust her.
Trump is now the face of the GOP, whether establishment Republicans like it or not. Many Republican lawmakers didn’t want to get too close to him, but most of them stuck by their endorsement of him nevertheless. That stance alienated many Republican women, who said they spent years defending their party against Democrats’ accusations of a “war against women” only to see those accusations come true.
Trump broke every rule in the book: He didn’t release his tax returns, he lied all the time, he suggested he would jail his opponent and he encouraged a foreign country to interfere in the election process.
Because he won, more candidates will now be willing to break these rules as well. And they may come to the conclusion that alienating large swaths of the population works just fine.
“The reason I’m so upset because I’m aware of the implications of a presidency like this to people like us who are minorities,” said Moani, 25, who was also at the Clinton block party and started to cry while speaking. “We thought we were on the rise with Obama but now we’re just being pushed eight years back. It’s hard to see.”
Emma Gray, Emily Peck and Alanna Vagianos contributed reporting from New York.