New York Democrats wake up to a Trump presidency

Shock at party intended to celebrate a Clinton victory in Trump’s home town – a resolutely Democratic city.

Trump clinched victory after securing more than the 270 electoral votes [Mark Kauzlarich/Reuters]
Trump clinched victory after securing more than the 270 electoral votes [Mark Kauzlarich/Reuters]

On Wednesday morning, New Yorkers woke up to a stunning victory as voters in the United States elected Donald Trump as the 45th president.

As women and men rush to work, children are on their way to school and pupils hurry to their classes, many wear sombre looks on their faces.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning on November 9, the Republican nominee Trump defeated his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

Unforeseen by most pollsters, he claimed victory in states that traditionally voted Democratic. He managed to flip states like Ohio, which voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

“To all Republicans and Democrats and Independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people,” Donald Trump said in his victory speech shortly before 3am Eastern Time in New York City.

“I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be President for all Americans.”

In a call for unity, the Republican, 70, said: “It will be a movement comprised of people from all races, religions, backgrounds and beliefs who want and expect our government to serve the people. And serve the people we will”.

Just as the sun is rising, electro tunes are booming inside an industrial building in Hell’s Kitchen over Manhattan’s miles of glass and steel skyscrapers.

Inside, the ground is shaking along with the beat as more than two hundred people jump up and down, throwing their hands up in the air.

As the DJ yells “hugs, hugs, hugs” people start embracing each other on the dance floor.

Strobe lights are dancing across the room as blue balloons saying “When they go low we go high” are bouncing through the air. 

Blue balloons read what Michelle Obama said at the Democratic Convention in July: “When they go low, we go high.” [Stephanie Ott/Al Jazeera]

It was supposed to be a party celebrating Hillary Clinton’s victory. But things turned out differently. Yet 240 people still showed up in defiance.

“I’m in a state of shock right now,” Daybreaker chief executive Radha Agrawal told Al Jazeera. “I knew it was going to be a close race, but I definitely didn’t expect him to win. We actually thought about cancelling it for a second.

“But Daybreaker is all about building a community and creating a safe space for everyone,” Agrawal said, dressed in a bright-yellow pineapples onesie.

The first Daybreaker started as an art project in New York in 2013, now their events in 16 cities across the world bring thousands of people together.

The concept is the same from London to Hong Kong: People come together in the early morning to do yoga and then dance, before everyone rushes off to work.

“I now want to launch Daybreaker in all red states, to bring people together and help understand each other better.”

People of all age groups and ethnicities are among the morning ravers.

Joe Liu, 26, an accountant, said he got tickets for Daybreaker to celebrate the democratic nominee, who he voted for.

Being an Asian voter he said: “The protection of civil rights of minorities in the US matters most to me. But I have to admit, New York is a bubble and this result shows just how divided this country is.”

New York, a city of 8.5 million people, is one of the largest democratic metropolises in the country. It also happens to be the city where Trump was born in 1946.

Clinton, 68, won New York’s 29 electoral votes. Statewide, 58.9 percent voted for the former secretary of state, first lady and the former senator for New York, according to the New York Times.

As New Yorkers headed to the polls on Tuesday, many said the main issues that matter to them are education, healthcare and safety.

On Tuesday, polling stations across the city were open from 6am until 9pm and thousands of people queued in line waiting to cast their ballot [Stephanie Ott]

But as New Yorkers cast their ballots, many were aware that their city isn’t representative of the rest of the country.

The underlying idea of it is the urban-rural divide “red state, blue city”, meaning larger cities vote predominantly Democratic, whereas rural areas vote Republican.

By electing Donald Trump, an outsider who upstaged the political establishment, American voters showed that they wanted change.

As the result of the election is slowly sinking in, police officers are patrolling the streets around Times Square. Both candidates spent election night in Manhattan.

The Clinton campaign threw a big election party at the spacious Jacob K Javits convention centre, which quickly turned into a sombre event as more and more states were called.

Trump held his post-election rally at the Hilton Midtown hotel just two miles away.

The city saw its largest-ever police deployment during an Election Day with 5,000 officers on duty.

Initially, the city was abuzz with excitement.

Hundreds of election parties took place across the city and many offered Hillary and Trump themed cocktails called Nasty Woman, Bad Hombre and Putin’s Puppet.

During the third presidential debate, Trump insulted Clinton by breathing into his microphone: “Such a nasty woman”.

Julia Nethero, 26, wears a glowing necklace while dancing. She voted for Hillary Clinton.

“I’m devastated and shocked, but also there’s no point in being afraid because we don’t know exactly what’s to come,” she said.

“I came here today because I didn’t want to sit alone on my couch in sadness today but instead be with like-minded people. This event is the complete opposite to all the negativity and anger of this race.”

Daybreakers embrace each other and seek comfort as the reality of an impending Trump presidency is sinking in [Stephanie Ott/ Al Jazeera]

Nethero is originally from Georgia and works for a nonprofit women’s rights organisation. She admitted thinking that Trump’s victory speech was gracious.

But like many attendees the result hasn’t really sunk in yet.

“I don’t know how we’re going to go forward from here,” she said. “A large percentage of the population is clearly upset and disappointed in the political establishment. It’s now on the new leadership to bring our country together. Looks like both the Democratic and the Republican party have a lot of soul searching to do.” 

Source : Al Jazeera


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