"I think it was racism that allowed Donald Trump to win," Carol Evans said. "I'm not saying that everybody that voted for Donald Trump is a racist ... but I do believe that they allowed racism to move into the White House. Let's say that racism reacted against an Obama presidency, and that racism won."
Evans was part of a panel of Clinton supporters who sat down with CNN's Alisyn Camerota in an interview that aired Monday on "New Day." They offered a list of reasons for Trump's victory and acknowledged that to move forward, they need to make an effort to understand those people who cast their votes for the President-elect.
Everyone on the panel said they are politically active, whether it was through direct involvement in the Clinton campaign or vocally supporting other Democratic candidates. Evans is a co-founder of the group Executive Women for Hillary.
Other reasons for Trump's win?
"This election was stolen from the American people by Russia," said Sally Rosenwasser, who volunteered for the Clinton campaign.
"Donald fought like he was going to lose, and Hillary kind of relaxed and said, 'I got this in the bag,'" Sonia Payton added.
Jacob Schwartz argued that Clinton's campaign should have done more in Michigan and Wisconsin, and said the eleventh-hour letter from FBI Director James Comey about Clinton's emails played a role.
Harvey Hurdle thought that Trump had a clearer economic message. Evans also cited the media's coverage of Trump, claiming that news networks did not cover Clinton as much. Monica Djerassi called it all a "perfect storm."
Regardless of how it happened, everyone on the panel said they were shocked on election night.
"It felt like a punch in the gut ... a nightmare," Rosenwasser said. "I think by 10:15, I was upstairs with my head in the pillow, crying. I think I cried for the next couple of days."
Understanding the opposing side
Looking ahead to 2017, the panelists said they plan to try and better understand the people who voted for Trump. Several of them told Camerota that they're starting to do that by reading J.D. Vance's book "Hillbilly Elegy," which illuminates the concerns of working-class rural America.
"We've got to be a little more open to what's going on outside our bubble," Hurdle said. "And just start by listening and hearing. That's step one."
"We have to go out and talk to them (Trump voters) now," Djerassi added. "We really do."
These Clinton supporters said they also must decide what's next for the Democratic party and its leaders on Capitol Hill.
"[The Democrats] can't be the party of yes," Hurdle said. "You have no power at the moment. All you can do is obstruct, and slow down. And Republicans have given us the exact model in how to do that."