Nov. 11--The call from her daughter in Maine came in just before 11 p.m. Tuesday.
Elaine Goldman of Clayton said she was relieved to see Louisa's name light up her cellphone -- the same phone she'd been using all night to text with her female friends as they watched Democrat Hillary Clinton's unexpected slide into a presidential election loss against Republican Donald Trump.
Those texts, all among Clinton supporters, started out excitedly with polls projecting an easy win. Pictures of glasses of wine. Jitters about Florida. Jokes about old pantsuits that didn't fit. But as the night wore on the texts got shorter: "A horror show." "I'm in shock."
So Goldman was happy to answer her daughter's late call.
"I just wanted to feel the love and also comfort her because this was her first election and for it to be so traumatic is rough."
Goldman didn't expect to hear her freshman daughter sobbing in her Colby College dorm room. Like hundreds of thousands of other mothers who had backed Clinton and assured their children that Trump was going to lose, the disappointed cries from children were a double blow.
"I kind of joked that if he won, I was moving out of the country," Louisa Goldman said on Wednesday. "Now I realize it was not something that was a joke."
Wednesday and Thursday were days of tears, venting and confusion among many women -- particularly mothers and daughters -- who stood with Clinton. Many of them had been galvanized by Trump's derogatory remarks and actions toward women during his campaign. They loathed the seeming double standard in which a man praised for "the art of the deal" could insult just about anyone while a woman with decades of political experience was criticized about her harsh tone, her ambition and years of political dealing.
Grief and solidarity
That blow was harder to fathom among white female Clinton supporters who learned in the days after the election that 53 percent of their demographic vote went to Trump and only 43 percent to Clinton, according to FiveThirtyEight.com.
Female Trump voters expressed a variety of reasons for their decision: a loathing of Clinton's Washington-insider mentality, an embrace of Trump's anti-abortion or pro-gun rights stances.
Or as Melissa Felsenthal, 53, of Shrewsbury put it: "She's as evil as the devil and definitely not looking out for anyone but herself and her own agenda."
The election left Clinton supporters despondent.
"In the morning I thought I could be strong, but I cried when I told [my daughter] Donald Trump had won," said Laura McInnis, of south St. Louis, whose daughter is 4. "We promised to be kind that day. To be kind to our friends and strangers."
For some, it was a moment of deep doubt about what women can achieve in America despite Clinton's reassurances otherwise.
"I still don't think we can honestly tell ourselves that today's young girls should believe they can be president," said Erin Everett of St. Louis, a former supporter of Sarah Palin who became enamored of Clinton in 2008 as she spoke about trying to reach the "highest, hardest glass ceiling."
"We just watched the most overly qualified, lifelong public servant and the first female candidate for president lose to a man who has never held public office," Everett said.
The intensity of grief and solidarity among these women lingered after election night. Text and email chains remained open. Facebook posts asked how were they to tell their children that a man who bullied and criticized women and gloated about groping them had won.
Emily Cohen-Shikora, a lecturer of psychology at Washington University, said her female students were so upset many asked her to postpone a Wednesday exam. She said students worried about losing the option of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, sometimes called Obamacare, when they soon enter an unstable job market.
"They are actually scared about real, high stakes, important things -- deportation, watch lists, hate crimes, lack of access to health care."
Women's rights to abortion were on many women's minds. Kelly Banister, a lifelong St. Louisian until moving to Oregon two years ago, said on Wednesday morning that she had started stockpiling Plan B emergency contraception pills.
They were "not for me, but for my young loved ones who may someday need it after our Supreme Court reverses Roe V. Wade, as Trump promised he'd enact."
Many were confounded by the demographics of outcome in which white women nearly split the vote between Clinton and Trump, while 94 percent of black women voters went for Clinton.
Marva Robinson, former head of the St. Louis Association of Black Psychologists, said Clinton's appeal was a no-brainer for black women who believe they are generally identified by other groups by their race, not their gender. The election provided a refreshing alternative to this dynamic, she said.
"I just think for me as a woman for me to know Hillary at no point downplayed gender, I appreciated the bold stance that she took especially in light of when your opposing candidate is so vocal about how little value he places on women," she said.
'Happier than I thought'
And yet, there was a quiet movement among educated suburban and urban white women to buck Clinton.
Karin Kostich of Arnold, said she was a survivor of date rape and a mother from two unplanned pregnancies in which abortion was not morally an option. Kostich said Trump's past did not reflect his future and that Clinton had shown no warmth to her women supporters.
"I don't understand the whole crying thing," she said of Clinton supporters who waited for hours to hear a concession speech after her defeat. "She did not even have the courtesy to come down and thank you for your support."
Former St. Louisian Helen Launhardt, 54, a lifetime Republican, said she would have voted for Bernie Sanders to shake things up. Without that option, she went with Trump.
"I felt very strongly that the establishment needed a wake-up call," she said. "Hillary's loss means that the people are tired of politicians that think they can buy their office and manipulate the system."
Rebecca Splain, 37, of Wright City, said she could not abide Clinton's abortion rights platform. She also disliked Trump, and she voted for neither candidate, preferring to write someone in.
"I didn't believe him when he espoused conservative views," she said, calling him a misogynist with a marriage history not appropriate for office.
And yet, "I am happier than I thought I would be that Hillary has lost," she said.
For mother and daughter Elaine and Louisa Goldman, their candidate's loss and the white female vote that gave Trump his victory was a wake-up call. They said they need to become more political and more vocal.
"I think in our family, we really never talked about politics and never have been the ones to start up a debate," Elaine Goldman said. "I made it known that I was not voting for Trump, but beyond that it was all eye rolling."
Clinton supporter Kristen Ingenito, 33, of St. Louis said the situation will ultimately be galvanizing for women.
"I venture to guess there will be a groundswell of women who are emboldened to lean in a little harder, and pull each other up a little more."
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