Election watch: Atmosphere at start Trumped by surprising results

By Liz Polomsky

Election watch party at John Carroll University. Photo by Liz Polomsky.

I’m very frightened because we don’t know. We are all frightened by uncertainty,” said Ben Goodman, president of the Student Union at John Carroll University, as the election results started to come in on Nov. 8.

This appeared to be a universal feeling among students who attended the election watch party in the Lombardo Student Center conference room Tuesday night. CNN was on the big screen as results poured in. Head shaking, eye rolling, loud yells, swearing, pacing and tense closed fists were among the reactions of students. Walking into the room, one could instantly feel the energy and intensity among the crowd, watching closely to see which presidential candidate would win the next state and claim those Electoral College votes.

Attendees could not keep their eyes off the screen. Every time a “Key Race Alert” was announced and appeared on the screen, the room was so silent a needle would be heard if dropped. Pizza and popcorn were put down and all attention was placed on the announcement and incoming results.

Many students were asked for their reactions immediately following Trump’s win in Florida, 49 percent to Clinton’s 47 percent.

“I am very very surprised so far. Completely shocked,” said Joseph Murmame, an active member of the audience.

Murmame wasn’t the only one who couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

Andre Alamina, seeing the Florida result, stated, “This has been absolutely the craziest event! I haven’t seen anything like this before. I am kind of going to be sad when it is over. This is very entertaining.”

Clinton and Trump went down two different paths to secure votes to win this election. Three viewers had different responses when asked who did a better job trying to earn every vote possible.

“I think Trump did a better job because he worked on trying to build himself up and tell people what he was going to do, rather than trying to attack Clinton in his campaigns as she did,” Nicolette Bourlas responded.
On the contrary, Natalie Bourlas, stated, “I think Clinton did a better job because she advertised herself as experienced and more polished. Her commercials were constant attacks on Trump’s character, feeding into peoples’ concerns regarding Trump. I was surprised Trump did not do more attacks on her with facts concerning numerous scandals involving her and her tenure as Secretary of State.”

Interestingly, the third student had a view right down the middle.

“I don’t think either of them did a good job trying to earn votes,” Connor Jones answered. “I thought both campaigns were not very effective. I heard more personal attacks than I did debate about actual issues during the whole election season and, for me personally, I thought that was a poor way to try to earn votes. They should have discussed their stances on major issues rather than focus on personal attacks.”

Trump took over key states such as Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin (which is usually a Democratic state), North Carolina and, finally, the state that clinched the presidency, Pennsylvania.

According to research done by CNN Politics, Clinton was projected to win by 91 percent to Trump’s nine percent. This projection was done the Monday before the election.

What was it that changed various states from blue to red, Clinton to Trump? Was it campaign tactics or Trump’s lack of involvement in politics that voters liked? Whatever it may have been, it created a shocked response from voters at John Carroll University.