By Christen Gall
Excitement shifted to somberness late in the evening at the campaign watch party for Hillary Clinton as it became clear in that Donald Trump will be the nation’s next president.
And the mood has prevailed.
“To all the women, and especially the young women who put their faith in this campaign and in me, I want you to know that nothing that has made me prouder than to be your champion,” said Clinton the following day in New York in front of media and her supporters.
Hours after Clinton’s concession speech, protests began near Trump tower on Michigan Ave. as thousands of Chicago residents gathered to protest his election. Their protests were matched by similar outbursts across major cities.
Catherine Sneed, a resident of Logan Square, came out to protest, holding up a sign saying, “I feel personally kicked in the pussy.” She referred to a video that captured Trump using lewd terms to describe his actions towards women.
Watching the election results come in the night before, Sneed recalled feeling as if it was a “surreal” event.
“We literary elected a bully and put him in office,” said Sneed. “And I think that’s terrible. That reflects badly on us.”
Sneed said she’s worried for her friends of various sexual orientations and of different faiths. She’s also concerned about Trump’s comments about women throughout the campaign.
“As a woman, I am always terrified that someone is going to do something,” said Sneed. “I’ve been cat-called. I’ve been followed. But now that we’ve elected someone who thinks that that’s okay, I’m even more terrified.”
In Chicago, just blocks away from her Michigan Ave. headquarters, Clinton’s Chicago staff hosted a watch party at Moe’s Cantina on 155 W. Kinzie St. on Tuesday evening. There, guests such as newly elected Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, spoke about the need for change in the justice system in Cook County.
In the swanky River North restaurant, a racially diverse group of both women and men were hopeful early on in the night. Clinton/ Kaine buttons covered the tabletops and a cutout of Hillary Clinton stood in the back for attenders to take photos with throughout the evening.
“I believe in breaking the glass ceiling,” said Norma Williams, a 68-year-old business-owner in Chicago. “And I believe that it’s time. It’s just time for a female president.”
In her concession speech, Clinton had talked about her failed effort to crack the nation’s highest glass ceiling. “I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but some day someone will and hopefully sooner than we might think right now.”
Williams said that she’s always supported Clinton, calling her a strong candidate that “knows how to leap over buildings in a single bounce.”
“She’s a damn good leader,” said Williams. “All the way from back in the day, before she got married. She fought for what she believed in.”
Pete Steinau, wearing a baseball cap and suspenders with a Hillary Clinton and Tammy Duckworth pin on each shoulder, could have easily been mistaken for a stereotypical Trump supporter. But the casually dressed elderly Clinton supporter always votes for Democrats, saying he’s a recovering Bernie fan.
“I’m here to cheer on the next president of the United States, of course Hillary Clinton, and all the strong women that are running nationally and in Illinois and in Chicago,” said Steinau.
The mood shifted from cheers to anxious stares as supporters watched results come in from key swing states like North Carolina and Florida. Then the room turned quiet with only CNN newscasters as audible sounds in the background.
Stephanie Hernandez, a Chicago school principal who lives in University Village, grew worried as the watch party went on.
“This is incredibly personal to me,” said Hernandez. “As a Latino person of Mexican descent, when I hear the rhetoric around immigration, I think of my own family.”
Hernandez thought Clinton would win by a landslide, and as a Florida native she wasn’t surprised that the state went for Trump, pointing to conservative Latino voters in the region. As a principal she was thinking about how the choice of candidate would impact her students.
“I think about what this could mean to students of color and how they see their place in our country,” said Hernandez. “That’s very concerning to me.”
Hernandez also expressed her fears for the United States after Trump becomes president.
“What does this mean for our country? What does this mean for diversity? What does this mean for immigration?” said Hernandez. “What does that say about our future?”