at The Hill

Hillary Clinton’s shocking loss in the presidential race rattled the political world and shattered the dreams of thousands of longtime Clinton aides and supporters who hoped to follow her to the White House.

Perhaps more than any politician in American history, legions of politicos—from her husband’s administration to her second presidential campaign— had hitched on to the Clinton train.

This week, the Clintonworld train went off the rails — this time, seemingly for good.

In interviews with more than a dozen former Clinton aides, they expressed a grief and pain akin to losing a member of the family.

“I think she’ll continue on as a public figure but there was a finality to her concession speech that had me thinking back and realizing that most of my last 10 years had been somewhere in her orbit,” said one former aide. “I spent so long thinking about ‘What if?’ and ‘What happens if she becomes president?’ and I think there’s a little part of you that dies when you realize it’s not going to happen.”

Another campaign aide, who had been in Clinton’s orbit since her 2008 campaign, summed it up this way: “It’s a difficult thing for a lot of us because there’s no longer a next time with her. That’s tough. She was weaved into our lives.”

When Clinton lost the Democratic primary in 2008, those in her world mourned the loss for weeks and months and long after President Obama was sworn in. But because Clinton had a Phoenix-like narrative, they expected her to once again rise from the ashes.

During her tenure as Secretary of State, they looked ahead to 2016. A superPAC called Ready for Hillary— comprised of Clinton diehards— even sprouted up in 2013 to help lure her into running for president again.
And there was always the lingering thought that she would once again be “in it to win” even as she wouldn’t commit.

This time, the loss blindsided Clintonites. Even through a bumpy primary against a relatively unknown challenger in Sen. Bernie Sanders and then an ugly and raucous general election against Donald Trump, they thought they had this. They filed into the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center with its enveloping glass structure on Tuesday night thinking they would finally break it.

One former aide left a bottle of champagne chilling in the fridge on Tuesday. Another scoured real estate listings in Washington. They posted pictures on Facebook of themselves with a woman who became more than just their boss.

“For many people Clintonworld is life,” said one former aide…. read more here