Around 1:50 a.m. this morning, the hushed crowd outside Hillary Clinton’s headquarters — a spillover “block party” near the Javits Center — was told to go home. “You should get some sleep,” campaign chairman John Podesta said from a giant screen above Eleventh Avenue. “They’re still counting votes.”
Dozens of people stood up while “Fight Song” played one last time, the anthem now cheery and hollow. The small stage where Katy Perry and Bill de Blasio had spoken so confidently hours earlier was now empty, its large American-flag backdrop perfectly still under white spotlights. A garbage crew swept up wrappers from the nearby food trucks.
Clothing worn by the women around me seemed to question what I could not: A woman wearing a T-shirt with THE FUTURE IS FEMALE slogan tried not to cry while a reporter probed her for a final reaction. “Do you think there’s hope?” A girl carrying a tote printed with the words LGBTQ QUEER BAG started crying. The woman behind her told me she bought a plane ticket that morning to come from Michigan on a whim. She left her office in the red pantsuit she wore to vote but said she felt so disempowered as a woman she couldn’t bear the idea of wearing it again tomorrow. The pantsuit was the only outfit she had with her.
Only three women remained seated in white plastic folding chairs, as if they couldn’t move. A guy in skinny jeans broke the stunned silence around us: “It’s so crushing to have all of these dreams built up,” he said, pausing. “And then to have them shattered.”