The Bowld Gym was thick with tension as votes rolled in for the presidential election Tuesday night, November 8. The viewing party, put on by the political science department at Union, started at 7 p.m., and as the electoral points trickled in, so did students.
Some students sat in rapt attention, staring at the projected screen with fear and anticipation. Others patted their phone with rapid strokes, reading polling data with ferocity. Still more stood around in circles, discussing policy, cracking jokes, assuaging fears.
Sam Jones, a senior digital media communications major, was nervous with the rest of the audience. While he was worried about the election result, he also was concerned about the potential for gridlock.
“Is anything going to get done in the next four years?” he said.
This concern was shared by Trey Hall, a junior history major. He said he was nervous regardless of who won.
Hall, like many in the gym, expressed disappointment at the two choices he had for his first time voting.
“This is the first time I’ve voted, and it sucks that I have so few good candidates to choose from,” he said.
Not all shared this despair in the room, however. Michael Gordon, a sophomore political science major, was clear about his support of Donald Trump. He wasn’t calm about the election, though.
“All day today I’ve been excited, nervous and scared at the same time,” he said.
He came to watch the election with others to help him process the results and to help him be calm as the results rolled in from highly competitive states. It’s a nerve-wracking night, and other people can help relieve the tension.
Beth Adams, senior history major, was concerned, but offered perspective to the tense election, saying that the office of the president still is just one office, and the country is still the same country, though she said, “It’s a little bit of a nail-biter right now.”
Viewing the results with others was important to Adams. She sees the event as a way to see the election within the context of community and a way to see other people process the same information. College is a time of being surrounded by disparate ideas, and she finds that valuable when processing election results.
“It’s also the first presidential election I’ve been able to vote in,” she said.
The political science department had a large cake on a table, thanking students for voting, and large trays were brought in covered in cookies. For some, the cake was a victory, for others, a way to eat away disappointment.
There were many slow, sorrowful hugs, concerned laughter, and a few tears as Donald Trump was declared the next president of the United States.