As it turned out, there were fireworks on Nov. 8, but not from a barge on the Hudson River. Instead, it was political fireworks exploding after the greatest upset in modern presidential history. The degree of the upset was further accentuated by the enormity of the physical site chosen for Clinton’s victory party, the Javits Center in Manhattan.
Keeping with Clinton’s theme of becoming the first female president, Javits offered a gargantuan glass ceiling to hammer home the meaning of her impending victory.
As the New York Times reported, “The symbolism seems clear. Mrs. Clinton has referred repeatedly of busting through ‘the highest, hardest glass ceiling’ — at least figuratively — by installing a woman in the Oval Office. If Election Day breaks her way, she will address the nation beneath a literal one.”
It would have been a perfect photo opportunity. One could imagine Katy Perry’s song “Roar” playing in the background, with Clinton hoarse from yelling the names of all the famous women who helped her break the gargantuan glass ceiling that towered above.
But, as I am fond of saying, “How do you make God laugh? Tell him your plans.” God definitely had a different plan for that evening. Clinton could never have imagined she wouldn’t even enter Javits on election night.
Besides the symbolic glass ceiling, the selection of Javits signaled Team Clinton’s total confidence that victory was assured.
My first visit to Javits was on Monday when I picked up my press credential. I was astounded by what I saw. It looked like grand scale preparations for a national nominating convention with an assumed outcome rather than an event where the outcome was undetermined.
The streets were already blocked, causing traffic havoc with battalions of police ready for anything. Hundreds of journalists were already at their battle stations and rows of satellite trucks lined the streets.
In the back of my mind, I kept thinking, “What if there is a surprise? What if she loses?” The stage was lined with flags, with a predominant “H” symbol hovering over it all. The possibility of a major upset was resonating with me since that morning when a friend in Donald Trump‘s inner circle was extremely confident of victory.
Thanks to that conversation, coupled with the canceled fireworks, I looked at the activity in Javits through a different lens, with the word “arrogance” swirling in my brain.
On the afternoon of Election Day, I again arrived at Javits. It was no easy feat after negotiating my way through an armed camp and what felt like miles of walking.
The buzz in the air allowed for only one possible outcome. Defeat was not even a remote possibility. The election had already been won. Time to party!
But as we know now, voters had their say. Later that night, I saw grown men cry and staffers hugging each other for comfort. No one in the Javits Center could believe the defeat that was unfolding across Clinton’s “blue firewall” in the industrial midwest.
Maybe it was just a coincidence, but the large screens throughout Javits and in the media filing room kept cutting away from the harsh reality of actual voting results to play Clinton’s “fighting for women and children” propaganda videos. Furthermore, the election night broadcasts were continually interrupted by footage from the rally just outside. That’s where notables like Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., were leading the crowd in a continuous chant of “I believe that she will win!”
Schumer’s chanting did not make it so. More than half of the American people made it abundantly clear they did not want the Clinton family back in the White House. Trump won just enough votes in key battleground states to earn an impressive Electoral College victory while Clinton suffers the pain of winning the popular vote by the smallest margin of 47.7 percent to Trump’s 47.5.
Now, instead of planning for the transition and inauguration, Clinton is fading away from the public eye. Perhaps she is just sitting around, hoping President Obama will pardon her from any possible crimes relating to her emails.
In a matter of days, the Clinton campaign morphed from assuming a coronation to hoping for a presidential pardon. Arrogance is the word that links the two.