NEW YORK – Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton once again found herself beneath a glass ceiling.
The Democratic presidential nominee lost to Republican challenger Donald J. Trump early Wednesday morning in a surprise upset. Polling agencies FiveThirtyEight, The Upshot, RealClearPolitics and others all predicted a Clinton advantage in the election as recently as Monday.
Standing beneath the latticed steel beams and bluish glass of the 1.8-million square foot Jacob K. Javits Center in Manhattan, Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta told the thousands of supporters who attended the event to go home early Wednesday morning. He said the campaign would have no further comment until later in the day.
“They’re still counting votes, and every vote should count,” Podesta said. “Several states are too close to call so we’re not going to have anything more to say tonight.”
But CNN said Clinton called Trump to concede ahead of Trump’s victory speech around 3 a.m.
The metaphor of the glass ceiling has been used by Clinton and many supporters throughout her presidential campaign as the barrier that has historically kept women from attaining the nation’s highest political office — and, after a Trump win, will continue to do so.
Guests began trickling out of the Javits Center doors even before key states had been called. Supporters and staffers wept openly in the cafeteria, held their faces in their hands, rubbed one another’s backs and exchanged hugs throughout the night.
Clinton’s camp began the night confident, dispatching Democratic legislators and campaign surrogates just after 8:30 p.m. to talk to the Javits Center crowd. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., appealed to enthusiastic crowds even as networks and news organizations showed Clinton’s projected lead crumbling.
As the former manager for Hillary Clinton’s 2000 New York Senate bid, de Blasio recalled her victory in that race and said he expected a repeat result Tuesday night.
“I was so proud that we were about to make Hillary Clinton our state senator from New York,” de Blasio said. “Tonight, I’m here as a New Yorker feeling the same pride, the same hope, the same inspiration knowing that America is going to make that same woman the president of these United States.”
Some of Clinton’s most influential surrogates, the Mothers of the Movement — mothers of unarmed black youth killed by law enforcement or in incidents of gun violence — and Khizr Khan, father of fallen Muslim American soldier Humayun Khan, also took the stage in support of their candidate.
Khan, the last surrogate to speak at the Clinton event as of 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, delivered measured, cautiously optimistic remarks.
“I want you to feel so proud,” he said to a dimly cheering crowd, “not only that you have been part of this election but you have been part of a mission … that embodies our values, that embodies our future.”