On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, a now historically significant day, dozens of ETSU students packed into the Cave to anxiously and finally watch the results of the 2016 Presidential Election.
Students milled around the room wearing “Make America Great Again” hats and “I’m With Her” t-shirts as they grabbed free pizza and found friends. The mood was tense but excited as people huddled around TV’s and computers watching the electoral votes roll in.
As each candidate won victories students cheered for their candidate of choice, and sometimes booed for the opposition. As the night wore on faces became more serious as the race remained neck and neck. Like much of the nation, many gathered had anticipated an easy win for Clinton, but as Trump maintained a consistent lead many began to consider the alternative.
One anonymous student was shocked by the turn of events.
“I voted for Trump because I am pro-life and I felt it was the moral thing to do but I didn’t actually expect him to win,” said the student.
Meanwhile Clinton supporters expressed shock and concern as Trump’s numbers began to rise.
Zoe Hester, an ETSU student in the FPA program, reacted in surprise as Hillary lost Florida, a key battleground state.
“How is this happening? I expected her to win by a landslide,” stated Hester.
At midnight the Culp Center closed down and students relocated in small groups to dormitory common rooms and study rooms across campus. Many students were holding out to see the results in Pennsylvania, a key battleground state, in particular. As the state gave its support for Trump many cheered and some cried.
Trump supporter Josh Broschinski expressed excitement and hope at the results of the election as his pro-Trump friends cheered around him.
“This is a step forward for the country, and I am so excited,” Broschinski said.
On the other side of the political aisle, Shelby Maiden, a student and Clinton supporter, was discouraged by the results of the election. Her comments were almost the exact opposite of Broschinski, revealing the polarizing nature of this election cycle.
“If Hillary had been elected that would have been a step forward in the right direction but with Trump it’s a step back,” said Maiden.
SGA Vice President Nathan Farnor remained fairly neutral as he expressed his acknowledgement of the historical nature of the race.
“This is still a historic election as a political outsider has entered the game; it says a lot about people’s lack of faith in their government,” said Farnor.
The results of the election were unexpected for members of both parties and the race was incredibly close. While Trump won the electoral votes 279 to Clinton’s 228, according to a tally Wednesday night, Clinton won the popular vote by roughly 200,000 votes. This led Broschinski to marvel at the unexpected success of his candidate.
“You know what they say—you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take and Donald Trump proved that today,” Broschinski said.