Elizabeth Warren would win. Beto O & # 39; Rourke would lose. She's a lot, he's a bit. On Tuesday, here in their respective corner pockets of the American billiard table, the results seemed predestined, but in some way, aside from the point. In the desert cold of El Paso there would be a destiny in the defeat. In the rainy Boston the prologue would win. Tuesday may not have been a massive wave, but for the Democrats it felt like a foretaste.
"I am just as hopeful as I have ever been in my life," said Rourke, after he came within 2.6 points to Sen. Ted Cruz to kill, perhaps the most taunted man in Congress. O & # 39; Rourke & # 39; s fearless supporters chanted "2020! 2020!" In the baseball stadium of the minor league of El Paso.
"Tomorrow we'll be right back in the fight," Warren said at the end of her re-election speech in downtown Boston, after defeating a senatorial candidate that no one has ever heard of on the way to a possible campaign against the man that nobody can think.
Finally, the first temperature control since Trump's victory. Everyone had been warm. The red hats showed up during MAGA rallies. The Women & # 39; s March, the travel ban, Charlottesville, family gatherings at the border, the Kavanaugh hearings – all in the last 22 months, each a flame under a simmering resistance. And then people voted in record numbers for an interim election.
For Democrats it felt like a nationwide call for a hero from 2020, for someone (everybody) who may have the guts and skills to hire a seated mechanic who is armed with a good economy. It was the last day of the 2018 elections, the 1,240th day of the 2016 campaign that just did not seem to shake America, and zero day before 2020.
In Ohio, Sen. Sherrod Brown stated that his re-election victory was "the blueprint for our nation in 2020." Pundits shamelessly admired the healthy margins of Sen. Amy Klobuchar in Minnesota, a state that the Democrats had lost almost two years ago – would she turn Trump into a head-to-head? Senator Bernie Sanders used the opportunity of his easy victory to polish a new root speech ("This is a crucial moment in American history … The American people, led by the state of Vermont, will stand up and fight back." ), As also Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand ("we refuse to let what is not good win"). Sen. Kamala D. Harris spent the day in her home state of California, an interruption of campaigns for candidates in places such as Iowa and South Carolina. Senator Cory Booker spent the day in his home state Twitter, cheered Democratic colleagues with races and did his best to stay on your radar.
That brings us to the corner pockets. Massachusetts, Yankee incubator of John Adams and John F. Kennedy, only dissenter against Richard Nixon in 1972 ("Do not blame me, I am from Massachusetts" went the bumper stickers). And Texas. Well, El Paso, anyway. El Paso is not quite Texas, and two years ago El Paso was not entirely in national politics.
In February 2017, just before he announced his long shot bid for the Senate, Beto O & # 39; Rourke, after an early morning walk, was a third-party minority party congress on a hill in West Texas, saying this about his hometown: " It has a chip on his shoulder, and for a long time it was a place where people passed. & # 39;
Not anymore. This week there were no rental cars at the airport in El Paso. Hotels were booked solid. Mediaplegen descended from the whole country and the world, from Paris and Tokyo and Berlin, just in case the Gen Xer in the blue shirt with the rolled up sleeves did the impossible.
At 08.53 Tuesday on the east coast, when the fog made way for rain, Sen. Elizabeth Warren entered a rickety gym in primary school in Cambridge, her regular polling station for years. Outside, children clung to a gate fence and sang: "Thanks for feeling, thanks for feeling, thanks for feeling." Kate Leach, a graduate from Harvard, held a Warren sign. "I would like to see her run for president," she said.
Seventeen minutes later, and two time zones to the west, O & # 39; Rourke and his family arrived at their polling station near Sunset Heights in El Paso. Followers had already expanded banners along viaducts above the Interstate 10. The sunrise was gold in a light blue sky.
Did he expect to win?
& # 39; Yes, & # 39; said O & # 39; Rourke, holding a mug of coffee in the middle of El Paso street.
"I can feel it," he said.
The border town held his breath, crooked, did the work. In Northeast El Paso, Ann Singer smoked a Marlboro at her dining table and planned the last hours of her pop-up operation to get the mood out. Women came by to call and to go outside to save doors. Regardless of the outcome, Singer, 72, thought that the rest of the country had something to learn from El Paso, which has a deep financial and emotional relationship with Ciudad Juarez, the Mexican city across the Rio Grande.
"Do you think we are scared from a caravan? "said Singer." When immigrants come here, they work hard, they stay at periscope depth. They clean our homes, they take care of our old people, they build our ways. These are honorable people. & # 39;
Warren's offices in Lynn, Massachusetts, were run by women and manned by women – older women with brooches, younger women with pens behind their ears. Bambi Snodgrass, 58, has been knocking on the doors since May. She hit 167 houses at the weekend.
"I've been in Washington for Kavanaugh, I've been arrested five times, and I went for family separations," she said. "I am here because I put my money where my mouth is … I am furious every day and have used that indignation to stir up change."
Hers was not a close bond, so much time Warren spent on calling candidates across the country to offer support and advice. Her staff was also dispersed, working in major presidential primary states such as South Carolina and Nevada. Republican opponent Warren, Geoff Diehl, is a representative in the head of state of Massachusetts, and her independent challenger, Shiva Ayyadurai, had plates with signs saying "It will cost a real Indian to defeat a Nepian Indian."
In El Paso, the bet signs – four white white letters on black – were everywhere. Yards. Cars. Stickers on the cheeks of people. There were at least two small signs for Ted Cruz, both at the entrance to the headquarters of the Republican Party of El Paso, at the back of a business park, but there was a quiet trust in Cruz because Texas is Texas. O & # 39; Rourke "makes many promises," said GOP town council president Adolpho Telles, who was sitting in his office at lunch, "but he does not talk about how he gets it done."
Just after 15.00 local time, native to Houston, Beyoncé placed an endorsement of O & # 39; Rourke on Instagram. It would not be enough.
Warren's race was called when polls are closed at 8 pm Eastern time, so hundreds of Democrats gathered in a ballroom of a hotel in downtown Boston to worry about other parts of the country. They served 11 glasses of white wine and stared at their phones.
"I am optimistic but terrified."
"I am nervous but excited."
"I need a Xanax."
"These white wines must be a lot cheaper for the amount that I plan to drink."
Meanwhile, Karis and Ed Stansbury were in line at the center of El Paso to take O & # 39; Rourke's rally into the stadium. It seemed as if everyone in El Paso had a personal relationship with the O & # 39; Rourke family – the son of the Stansburys played on the same baseball team as the candidate's daughter – and so the race looked like a family affair on Tuesday night.
"We've been used up," said Ed, 39, when "Beto" chants broke into the line. The stadium was usually full by 7:30 am, as Fox News predicted that the Democrats would take control of the house. There were no TV's in the stadium, so visitors sat in a booth above their phone and counted refreshingly, while the mobile service became slower.
The news spread just after 8pm like a miss: Cruz seemed to have defeated Rourke, but not so much. People stayed anyway. They smiled and danced anyway. The result was not the end.
At 11:11 am Eastern time, Warren bounded on the stage in Boston and held her arms wide, letting the cheers wash over her.
"Thank you, and thank you to the women who lead Massachusetts!" She cried. "And let's make sure nobody rewrites history: this resistance started with women and that is being led by women tonight." 39. At the top of the front a woman in applause collapsed a pair of black shoes with high heels.
She spoke 20 minutes, 26 times the word & # 39; fight & # 39 ;, and concluded with a promise: "Tonight we send a message to the world: we have just started."
"2020!" Shouted a man from behind.
It would be a new day in less than half an hour.
"Well, that was definitely a presidential speech," said Lindsay Crudele, 36. "She has the kind of fight we need now."
About an hour later, in El Paso, O & # 39; Rourke took the stage without introduction. The infield was harassed with cheering fans. Songs from "2020" broke out.
& # 39; We'll see you there, & # 39; he promised, then left the stage and walked to an exit in the left field while John Lennons "Imagine" echoed through the stadium. Javier Paz followed O & # 39; Rourke until a gate stopped him and then he shouted: "You will win! You will win!"
He was talking about what everyone thought about.
"Beto is the next president of the United States," said Paz, 41, a teacher of El Paso, after O & # 39; Rourke had disappeared. "Because he almost won Texas, he only needs Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, and he can win if he can win Texas, it's his when he wants it."
Tuesday was not over yet. But a new Day One was just over the horizon.
Zak reported from El Paso. Terris reported from Boston.