Trump stuns by winning presidency

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Trump stuns by winning presidency

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Students react to night of the unexpected

The race for the White House in 2016 has possibly been the most contentious election in the history of the United States presidency. Candidates running in the primary election announced their bid for president right after the end of the 2014 midterm elections. Nov. 8, 2016 was the only thing in sight two years earlier. It seems fitting that this day mirrored the election cycle as a whole: lengthy and wearisome. No matter who you asked, the consensus from the American public was that it was time this election ended. At the election night watch party, the last event hosted by SLU’s Department of Political Science during the election cycle, students seemed to be in for the long-haul.

Students flooded into the Center for Global Citizenship on Tuesday night at 7 p.m., just in time for the closing of the first polls. Results started coming in almost immediately as students found their seats. Within the first 15 minutes, all of the designated tables were filled. The upper level, stadium-style seating was the next to fill, and students did a pretty good job of doing so. Anticipation was high as the night started. Students of all majors and interests came to watch the results pour in, many wearing their “I Voted Today” stickers and supporting their candidates with buttons and articles of clothing. Food was being served, and everyone had high hopes that their respective candidate would emerge successful. As the night went on, however, these sentiments changed, fast.

At the beginning of the night, the room seemed relaxed. As results from Missouri polls came in, students paid close attention to the Senate and gubernatorial races in the state. It was almost as if the presidential election was on the back-burner. Next, members of the Political Round Table, the politics club at SLU, gave a presentation on the events they hope to hold. Dr. Chryl Laird of the Departmet of Political Science took the stage, giving a speech on the changing demographics of American voters. Despite this quiet start to the watch party, uneasy students became increasingly anxious as they began finding nationwide results elsewhere that had yet to be shown in the CGC. Eventually, Missouri results were thrown to the wayside. Polls started to come in rapidly.

Early results showed Donald Trump in the lead.More results revealed that Hillary Clinton fell further behind in key battleground states, which started to rattle some of her supporters at the watch party. Katlyn Martin, a sophomore political science major, said that she was “hopeful that Hillary Clinton will win the election, but the results are closer than I anticipated. I was pretty confident of the results before tonight, but now I just don’t know.” She was not the only Clinton supporter that felt this way. Some students began to leave the party. Others continued to watch and expressed their anxiety through argument with other students.

Clinton supporters were not alone at the watch party, and some students were sporting “Make America Great Again” hats and cheering at the results that Donald Trump was in the lead. Andrew Volz, a freshman at SLU, said that he was “slightly worried that Hillary was up in the polls”, but that “Trump still had a shot and could pull it off.” For these students, the results were delightful news. That did not stop the palpable tension felt in the room between the two sides. As the night progressed, students on both sides started to file out in droves. It was getting late, and poll results across the country had still not come out yet.

As the party died down, so did the results. It took many battleground states, such as Florida and North Carolina, hours to officially call in favor of one candidate or the other. Early in the morning on Wednesday, Nov. 9, the election results were finalized.

The watch party was long over before the announcement of the winner: Donald Trump. Nevertheless, the tension during the watch party mirrors the nation throughout this lengthy election. There was a sense of divisiveness in the room. Even though many were disheartened and others were elated, all of the students left the party with some hope that their choice would win the presidency. The reality is that only some felt the ecstasy that their candidate won. And although Clinton supporters did not get the outcome they wanted, the Political Science Department did. The Election Night Watch Party was the most attended watch party during the election cycle, something the department had hoped for and anticipated. Much like this presidential election, it was the longest party held.