Crayons and maps are scattered across tables in Upper Gwinn and two screens at the front of the room project CNN’s report on the presidential election as students, faculty and staff eat snacks, take pictures at the photo booth and filter in and out of the room.
It’s the start of the Political Union’s Election Viewing Party.
The returns are just starting to come in from eastern states. Trump starts off strong, taking Texas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas and Nebraska for a total of 123 electoral votes.
Associated Press reports on Trump’s substantial beginning as unexpected.
As the results come in, Clinton supporters such as sophomore global development major Ethiopia Ephrem begin feeling discouraged.
“I’m terrified,” says Ephrem, who believes Trump is a racist candidate. “With the results that I’m seeing right now, I think it’s a 50/50 chance.”
While Ephrem is afraid, she prays that Clinton will win.
The panel of four political science professors including professors Bradley Murg, Caleb Henry, Ruth Edigar and Reed Davis answer audience members’ questions about the candidates’ policies and their general thoughts on the election, and they continue to do so throughout the night.
Panelists signal that the night will not go as expected.
Trump’s lead has still not faltered.
Approaching 7 p.m, the New York Times’ forecast of Clinton and Trump’s chance of winning the presidency begins to take a turn of events. Clinton’s likelihood drops from 60-80 percent to 40-50 percent and Trump’s increased from about 20 percent to 50-60 percent.
As the results continue to roll in, sophomore marketing major Jacob Shelton remains hopeful that Clinton will win.
“I think she has a lot of political experience, and I personally am strongly Democratic, so I believe that Hillary Clinton is at least a better fit for our country,” Shelton said. “I feel like she’s not going [to send] us into as much conflict in the world as Trump would.”
While Shelton’s hopes remain high, he notes that Trump’s likelihood of winning Florida is scary because Florida has been one of the main states that helps determine the winner.
“I’m pretty nervous … but I think Clinton will clutch it out, and hopefully she’ll come through and win,” Shelton said.
In contrast to Shelton’s perspective, junior political science major Alex DeSoto hopes that Trump will win the election.
“It’s going to be way too tight for me to be comfortable until 10 p.m.,” DeSoto says. “Donald is going to be everything he’s claiming to be, or he’s going to be a total loss. In either case, I still think he’d be a better choice than Hillary would.” DeSoto believes Clinton is “actively trying to be belligerent with Russia.”
Senior global development studies and communications major Ginger York says, “I like to hear facts and policy; I don’t like to hear slander about the other person, no matter which race or office they’re running for. I vote for the candidate; I don’t vote for what they have to say about the other person … that’s why I voted [for] Hillary Clinton.”
Trump wins Montana, now at 132 electoral college votes. Clinton at 104.
Clinton wins New Mexico, now at 109 electoral college votes. Trump at 140.
“I feel very strongly about immigration rights,” junior global development studies major Abigail Jensen says. “I’m frustrated that the Republican Party is so ignorant when it comes to the refugee resettlement process.”
Trump wins Missouri, now at 150 electoral college votes. Clinton holds steady at 109.
Trump takes Ohio, now at 168 electoral college votes. Clinton at 122 after winning Virginia.
Though it teetered between Red and Blue all night, Trump ultimately claims Florida just before 8 p.m., racking up 197 electoral college votes in the process.
Shortly after, cheering erupts from the crowd as it’s announced that Clinton has won Colorado for a total of 131 electoral college votes.
“I’m really stressed because I really hope Trump doesn’t win,” sophomore nursing major Grace Hamlow says. “I just think that he doesn’t have experience … in leading a country, and Hillary has over 30 years of experience. I don’t agree with everything that she supports, but I agree with a lot of it. Part of me really hopes that Hillary will just pull it out in the very end and win.”
Sophomore engineering major Leanna Temple sees the election results as unexpected.
“I didn’t think … that Trump would take the lead so quickly,” Temple says.
She still has hope that Hillary will prevail in the west coast states who still have yet to vote.
Senior Jordan Tranter says at the end of the day, regardless of who is president, God is ultimately the one in charge.
Shouts of approval from the crowd fill the air as Clinton wins California and Hawaii. These two triumphs add 59 electoral college votes to Clinton’s tally — her at 190 still behind Trump’s 201.
As the polls continue to roll in, circumstances do not look good for Clinton. Reports are made on Canada’s immigration website crashing.
Clinton takes Oregon, now at 197. Trump at 201.
Another big win for Trump as he wins battleground state of North Carolina and its 15 electoral college votes, bringing him to a total of 216. Clinton not far behind at 197.
First-year theology major Ryan Ferries feels the election results are too early to be determined.
“I’d be surprised [if Trump takes Washington],” Ferries says. “I personally would be happier if he won Washington since I voted for Trump. It won’t happen, but it would definitely be a shocker. Depending on who wins Michigan and Wisconsin, I think that’s really where it’s going to come down to — the Midwest.”
Ferries predicts Trump will win Utah and Arizona and that Clinton will win California, Oregon and Washington.
The last panel session discusses scandal and policy propositions.
“Trump and scandals. I don’t know if we can use the word scandal,” Henry says. “If I walked up here and threw a pie in my own face, would you call that a scandal?”
Henry believes that if Trump doesn’t come with specific policy proposals he’ll have to work with ones that have been written by someone else.
“I think it’s going to be a lot more moderate,” Murg says. “I don’t see any reality that includes mass deportation or the building of a wall.”
Davis affirms that Trump will be the kind of president who wants to bring troops home.
“In my view, we’re more likely to see something less extreme,” Davis says. “The bloodbath starts for you Democrats tomorrow.”
First-year Ryan Loudenback believes the U.S. has a Congress and a House for a reason.
“[Trump] is not going to single handedly ruin our country,” he says. “Sure he might be a bad guy, but I’m not worried … I have a lot of faith in our government and in our country.”
“[I’m] a little shocked, but I’m not surprised,” junior exercise science major DJ Williams says. “This country is built off the kind of the mindset that Trump has, so this is what you see. We hear a lot about postmodern racism and how this country came so far and is so equal, but we haven’t, it’s showing.”
Williams believes Trump as president will allow people the freedom to discriminate against people based on their race, religion, sex and otherwise.
Despite the absence of King County votes, Clinton wins Washington.
Clinton has 209, Trump is at 216.
Trump takes Georgia, at 232. Clinton at 209 still.
Trump wins Iowa, now at 244. Clinton at 209 still.
Clinton takes Nevada adding six electoral votes. She is at 215 and Trump is at 244.
The roughly 87 in attendance are sitting in groups on the floor
and in the aisles discussing the progression of tonight’s events.
ASSP Executive Vice President Mara Kramer announces that the viewing party ends at 10 p.m., but people can remain watching the results if they wish, adding that she is too sad to say any more.
Attendees begin to shuffle out of Upper Gwinn.
Trump wins Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes leading many to predict that he will be the next president of the United States.
Associated Press announces Donald Trump as the winner of the 2016 Presidential Election.
Assistant news editor Aliha Strange, features editor Athena Duran and multimedia editor Justina Brown contributed to the reporting for this article.