Euphoria for Team Trump, gloom for Clinton supporters

NEW YORK — Jubilation. That was the overarching mood at Donald Trump’s midtown Manhattan celebration on Tuesday night as several battlegrounds, including Wisconsin, went for the GOP presidential nominee.

Wisconsin had not been on most people’s list of serious battlegrounds, but victory there was the most dramatic example of the Trump tide sweeping across the nation. He had earlier been projected the winner of Ohio, Florida and North Carolina.

ADVERTISEMENT

Supporters who had arrived more in hope than expectation of victory grew more and more exuberant as Trump moved to the cusp of the White House. Soon, they were fist-bumping and exchanging embraces, while the cheering became more raucous as each brick in Clinton’s “blue wall” fell.

Political figures who had backed Trump from early on, and had been derided for doing so, were euphoric about the earthquake that had taken place.

“This is the end of the old establishment that has been running this country for years,” exulted Carl Paladino, a former gubernatorial candidate in New York and a Trump supporter. “This is about an uprising of the middle class in America and about saying ‘Enough is enough, we’ve had enough of your bullshit.’”

Across Manhattan, at Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE’s election headquarters, the difference was stark, the mood funereal.

Supporters stood in chilling stillness, simply staring at the screen above them. Outside, a “block party” which was planned inside the convention center perimeter was also quiet. 

A planned program — which featured two New York Democratic Senators, Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump slams Sessions in exclusive Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation MORE and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandTeen girls pen open letter supporting Kavanaugh accuser: We imagine you at that party and 'see ourselves' Poll: Most Massachusetts voters don't think Warren should run for president in 2020 The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — GOP again has momentum on Kavanaugh rollercoaster MORE, and even singer Katy Perry — had ended before 11 p.m., and there was nothing left to boost them. 

Aides who trickled in and out of the various rooms at the convention center had disappeared. 

Other aides expressed shock in emails and texts. 

“We never saw this coming,” one aide said. 

Midnight was the cutoff for many Clinton supporters, and they quickly filed out of the convention center. 

"Oh boy, our work is cut out for us tomorrow," said Angela Wilkes, who came to New York from Washington to celebrate what she thought would be a Clinton win. 
 
"The projections were good," Wilkes said. "Obviously there's a ton of backlash. This was not what I expected. There's nothing to do here. Nothing to celebrate.
 
“I'm dumbfounded,” said one Clinton surrogate.
 
Wilkes was holding on to hope that Clinton and Trump would tie at 269. 
 
Supporter John Ryan also filed out with his grandchildren in tow. He said they had to leave because the kids had school in the morning. 
 
Still he held out hope. 
 
"It's not over yet. It isn't over till it's over."
 
Early in the night, though, it was already becoming obvious to supporters who crowded inside the Jacob Javits Convention Center that things were not going according to plan for the former secretary of State.

Virginia, a state they thought Clinton would win handily, fell to Trump

Trump led early returns in Michigan, a state that hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988.

When Schumer took the stage at 9:30 p.m., the crowd needed a pick-me-up. 

“I believe that she will win. I believe that she will win,” Schumer led the crowd in a chant. 

Behind the scenes, allies had already grown nervous. 

“I'm holding it together but definitely worried,” one longtime friend said. 

“What the f---?” one aide said. “This wasn't part of the plan. This is making everyone nervous. I think everyone is biting their fingernails here. I don't think anyone anticipated this.” 

During that same earlier period of the evening, across town, early Trump backer Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsHillicon Valley: Trump cyber strategy lets US go on offense | AT&T urges court to let Time Warner merger stand | Conservatives want wife of DOJ official to testify | Facebook, nonprofits team up to fight fake news | DC camera hacker pleads guilty Vote Democrat in midterms to rein in Trump, preserve justice Sessions limits ability of judges to dismiss deportation cases MORE (R-Ala.), had already grown bullish.

A smiling Sessions told a gaggle of reporters gathered around him that Trump “was not out of touch with reality” when he had predicted victory.

Sessions noted the size of the crowds who appeared at Trump rallies and that “there is really something going on here.”