By now, the major results of the election have been plastered on every newspaper, blog, and Facebook page for two weeks: Donald Trump won, and Republicans kept both the House and the Senate.
Trump’s speech, uncharacteristically positive in tone, came around 3 a.m. EST on the morning of the Wednesday after Election Day, following what many called a “surreal” night.
“While the campaign is over, our work on this movement is really just beginning…” Trump said. But this was not a night to reinforce divisions; instead, he focused on the need to move forward and unify. Speaking about Hillary Clinton’s late-night phone call to congratulate him on his victory, he said, “She congratulated us – it’s about us … we must bind the wounds of our nation.”
Clinton, too, was hopeful in her concession speech.
“Donald Trump is going to be our president,” she told listeners. “We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead.”
Of course, the ballots included more names than just those of the presidential candidates. For voters in Haverford, Pennsylvania, it meant the election of Democrat Dwight Evans to the House of Representatives and re-election of Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.
On a national scale, several referenda deserve a mention. In California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts, recreational marijuana was legalized. In Maine, a second referendum garnered attention: the allowance of ranked-choice voting, where voters rank the candidates rather than choosing a single favorite, in both state and federal elections.
After Trump’s unexpected victory, protests broke out across the nation. Citizens took to the streets in Washington, Portland, Manhattan and Los Angeles to protest Trump’s policies.
It is far from clear what that future will hold in terms of executive action. Trump announced that parts of Obamacare, which he originally planned to repeal altogether, will remain intact, and other promised actions may see major revisions as well.
When I got up on Nov. 8, 2016, I was exhilarated. I carefully went through my clothes and chose a perfect outfit – slipping on a warm blue sweater, shrugging into a blue leather jacket, placing a blue necklace around my throat, sliding on blue origami earrings and, finally, placing my “Chappaqua for Hillary” hat on my head. I took a deep breath before leaving my room for my first class of the day.
This would be the first time I have voted, and doing so during such a historic election meant everything to me. As the memes put it, “This will either be our first female president or our last president.” As anyone who saw my hat might have guessed, I felt strongly about who should be the next president, and it was hard not to think that the world would essentially end if the other candidate won. And, I felt – or at least hoped – the majority of the country agreed with me.
I come from Chappaqua, New York, a town known for being mostly Jewish, having great public schools and being the home to the Clintons (with the nearby town of Mount Kisco being the home of Sandra Lee and Governor Andrew Cuomo). Chappaqua is not known for much else. Still, living in the same area as the Clintons has an effect on the town: it is extremely democratic. While it is not as liberal as Bryn Mawr, I still grew up with democrats comprising the majority of my classmates.
After my first class of the day, I nearly ran from Park to Pembroke Arch, my heart fluttering at the thought of finally having a say in what happens in this country – and even more of a say than I would if I had voted using an absentee ballot from one of the most democratic areas in New York. I waited in line for the shuttle graciously provided by Bryn Mawr College, internally squirming with impatience. When the shuttle finally pulled up at the church where people were voting, I barely spared a glance at the free hot chocolate and cookies being provided by NextGen Climate.
I tore inside and was greeted by two sides of the room – one with a sizable but not unmanageable line and the other with no line. You can guess which one I was told to join. I waited, again trying not to squirm, before noticing that Pennsylvania was voting on whether to make Supreme Court Judges retire at 75. With an internal sigh of relief, I started looking into what exactly that meant in order to take my mind off the line in front of me.
Finally, I reached the front of the line and, in short order, signed in, was directed to a voting booth and voted in my first election. I grinned as I exited the voting booth, receiving my “I’ve voted” sticker – which has now been placed on a flashcard with the date and my main vote on it for posterity. I returned to wait for the shuttle, grabbing a cookie from NextGen, and smiled as the butterflies in my stomach settled a little. Now, all I had to do was get through lunch, one class, and picking up some food from Acme for the BMC Democrats’ election watch party. Everything would be fine.
Until, at 9 p.m., staring at the screen in front of me, fighting the tears that threatened to spill from my eyes, everything wasn’t.
Thomas Great Hall, the site of Bryn Mawr College’s official election watch party, buzzed with excitement on the night of Tuesday, Nov. 8. Students gathered at patriotically adorned tables and helped themselves to president-shaped Pez dispensers. CNN’s election coverage was projected at the front of the room, and many people alternated between homework and watching the screen. Throughout the night, raffle prizes were announced, adding to the festive mood. As the party began, many students said they were uncertain as to the results of the night, although some said they felt confident in Secretary Clinton’s victory. By 8 p.m., the vast hall was crowded and sociable.
Early results started trickling in around 8:30, and the room responded energetically even though it was too early to definitively call any of the states. When it was reported that Trump was beating Clinton by one tenth of a percentage point in Florida, the hall rang with boos and jeers. Shouts of joy were heard when Clinton pulled ahead of Trump in North Carolina and Ohio. The room became especially elated upon seeing Clinton’s early lead in Texas. When Tammy Duckworth won her senate seat in Illinois, cheers broke out.
At 9 p.m., when Clinton won New York the room again erupted with joy. Trump’s wins in Nevada, Wyoming, and the Dakotas garnered boos and yells. At this point, one student from New York predicted that Clinton would win the electoral vote while Trump would win the popular vote. She and others expressed fear and concern over Trump’s populist support –regardless of the outcome of the election.
When Trump won Texas, the hall was filled with boos and one wordless scream. One student commented that she felt “really nervous. I didn’t think that Trump would be a firm contender, so coming here and seeing how close it is very surprising.”
Throughout the evening, several optimist students led the Anass chant when CNN showed Clinton to have a lead in various states. By 9:30, the room was so full that some people were sitting on the floor, and one student noted that she was pleasantly surprised at Bryn Mawr’s apparent level of political engagement. At around 9:45, it was announced that the Republican party would keep control of the House, and students responded with disappointed yells. Fifteen minutes later, it was reported that Clinton had an early lead in Pennsylvania, which led to another Anass.
By 10:15, Thomas Great Hall had become so loud that it was difficult to hear or understand the election coverage, but the viewing party in the Campus Center, hosted by the BMC Democrats, was much quieter and focused toward the NBC coverage on the television. The lights in the Campus Center were dimmed. People sat in armchairs, on the floor, and gathered on the stairs. Some were talking quietly, but most watched in silence. There were some muted reactions to the election coverage, but for the most part it was a subdued environment. To be fair, this quiet was in large part a reaction to the shift in the election. Contrary to most polls, Trump won state after state.
Although many in the Campus Center cheered when Clinton won Virginia at 10:30, and later when she won in Montgomery County, the mood became increasingly tense as the race tightened. One student was extremely frustrated to find out how many Floridians voted for third party candidates. When Trump officially won Florida, some muffled “No!”s rang out, but there seemed to be little fight left in the group of Mawrters. When the news coverage panned a crowd of crying Clinton supporters, one student watching the TV sadly called out, “Same!”
By midnight, many students had left to watch the election in their rooms or go to bed. As the key states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania continued to be too close to call, the Campus Center was almost completely silent except for quiet groans and swearing. At several points, students became confused by the coverage, thinking that a state had been called when in fact NBC was simply showing a projection.
The energy in the room was even lower by 2 a.m.. There was some weak booing when Pat Toomey was victorious in maintaining his senate seat, and again when it became clear that the presidential race was over even though several states had still not been called. Many of the remaining students were visibly upset. Some, in disbelief, discussed the mathematics of Clinton’s loss, and others made phone calls to family and friends.
The next day, Nov. 9, dawned rainy and colorless. The campus was unusually quiet. People embraced each other in the libraries and hallways, offering words of comfort and support. Despite the difficult circumstances, there was a feeling of solidarity and communal grieving that offered some solace. Many professors took time during classes to discuss the results of the election, and it was unusual to hear a conversation that did not address the events of the previous night. A sense of shock and disbelief reigned on Bryn Mawr’s campus; there did not seem to be a consensus as to why Clinton had lost. There were numerous discussions about racism, third party voters, and economic concerns, as well as the fear and confusion about how to proceed. Many students went into Philadelphia to join protests following the election, while others found ways to attend events and organize on campus. On Friday, Nov. 11, the Bryn Mawr Dean’s Office sent a mass email to the student body, addressing the recent rise in hate crimes, and specifically the harassment of students around Bryn Mawr. The email encouraged all students to call Campus Safety if they feel unsafe.
In case you haven’t heard, it’s election season. For most students on campus, this will be the first opportunity to cast a ballot for the next president of the United States of America. But will they do it?
Historically, the Tri-College has had a less-than-stellar voting record. In the last presidential election, only 35% of Swarthmore students voted. According to Haverford College President Kim Benston, low student turnout is the result of a number of factors, including a general lack of understanding as to how important each student’s vote will be.
“As you get older, … and you start to realize your relationship to the taxation system, your relationship to the public infrastructure … you get a keener sense of how the political world affects that,” Benston told The Bi-College News.
At the same time, there are physical obstacles outside of students’ control.
“Students… have had their voting rights suppressed, to some extent,” Benston added. “Now, there’s as many of you as in my neighborhood, but I have a polling place that I can walk to and you don’t, so what’s that about? To me, that’s a political problem … It has not been made as easy for students, actually, as it could be.”
This year, however, there’s no excuse. Special Assistant to the President Franklyn Cantor has been organizing nonstop to ensure students can make it to the polls.
“The last two [voting] cycles have relied pretty heavily on students to get folks to the polls,” said Cantor. But this year, faculty and staff will be driving to ensure a constant flow of transportation, making the trip as convenient as possible.
“It’s a five-minute ride to the polls,” Cantor stressed. “We’re going to make sure folks have a chance to get there … I hope that we’ll have improved turn out, I really do.”
He’s not the only one interested in seeing an increased student turnout.
“I will be very interested to see what happens in this election,” said Benston. “This is honestly the most consequential election I’ve ever lived through. So if Haverford students don’t vote, I’ll be very, very saddened by that … It’s your world that’s going to be affected.”
It’s not just administrators who are working to get the vote out. Students have been tabling in Haverford’s Dining Center for weeks to register voters, and there have been a number of efforts to increase awareness throughout the election season.
Now that the campaigns are finally coming to a close, the only thing left to do is cast your ballot!
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and running mate Tim Kaine held a rally at a chilly Dunning-Cohen Champions Field, at Penn Park on Saturday, Oct. 22. Numerous Haverford College students took advantage of the opportunity to experience the campaign in person.
Sophie Frank ’19 and Magdalena Yeakey ’19 said they had initially planned to attend an earlier event for Hillary Clinton at the Haverford Community Recreation Center, but were unable to attend due to classes. Rebecca Hickey ’19 added, “I just wanted to see her.”
Frank’s attendance at the rally was not her first interaction with 2016 presidential campaign.
“Earlier this year, I protested at a Donald Trump rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico with some other Haverford students,” said Frank. “But, I really wanted the experience of participating not in opposition to something.”
Despite the huge numbers of people, most Haverford students said they did not wait in line for more than hour. The Clinton campaign estimate that around 7,750 people attended the rally.
Ali Corcoran ’19, who is involved on campus with the group No-Labels registering Haverford students to vote, explained that she was incredibly excited to be voting and participating in the process. She offered that, “I’ve loved watching the debate from the sidelines, but I really wanted to experience a campaign event.”
Yeakey noted before the debate that she was hoping to hear something more upbeat than much of the current political rhetoric.
“I look forward to hearing a different tone from the debate,” she said. “I’m looking for positions of positivity.”
Before the arrival of Clinton and Kaine to the stage, State Representative Dwight Evans, a candidate for Pennsylvania’s Second Congressional District, Josh Shapiro, a candidate for Pennsylvania Attorney General, Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, and Senate candidate Katie McGinty spoke to the crowd.
Although Clinton’s consistent and significant lead in Pennsylvania polls has seemingly pushed any hope of Donald Trump victory in the state out of sight, the race between incumbent Republican Senator Pat Toomey and Democratic challenger Katie McGinty is significantly tighter. All of the night’s speakers, including Clinton and Kaine, worked to connect Toomey with his party’s nominee’s controversial statements. Democrats view a victory in the Pennsylvania race as key to retaking the Senate from Republicans in November.
McGinty explained the importance of removing Senator Toomey from office in order to enact the agenda of Hillary Clinton, telling the crowd, “Our mission is urgent”. Throughout her remarks, McGinty relentlessly attacked her opponent and connected him with Trump. She told an energetic crowd, “What does Pat Toomey need to hear? You failed!” She continued to point out that Toomey’s failure to fully back away from Donald Trump mean that he could no longer be trusted to represent Pennsylvanians. McGinty maintained that, “Pat Toomey has failed the test of leadership. He has failed the test of political courage.”
After a brief break, shortly before 9 p.m., Kaine and Clinton took the stage to raucous applause. Kaine introduced his running mate and explained the importance of Pennsylvania voters participating in the election offering. “If we win Pennsylvania,” he said, “this race will be over. We need your help. If we win here, you can guarantee it.”
As well as taking the opportunity to remind Pennsylvanian voters of the importance of voting and highlighting the qualifications and policies of Clinton and McGinity, Kaine repeatedly attacked Trump, asking the crowd, “Has Donald Trump even read the United States Constitution?” He added, “You all would know a bit about that here in Philadelphia.”
Kaine also emphasized many of Trump’s controversial statements. Discussing Trump’s comments about Clinton not having “the look” of a president, Kaine explained of his running mate, “I think she looks damn presidential.” He continued that, “Hillary has heard from people her whole life that this might not be the time, and she has never let that stop her.”
During Clinton’s portion she continued to urge Pennsylvanians “to spend the last seventeen days doing everything to send Katie to the Senate.” She also attacked Toomey, questioning whether he would be able to stand up to special interests given that he seems unable to stand up against Donald Trump’s more controversial remarks.
Clinton continually attacked her opponent on his business career, joking to the crowd about Trump’s losses from his casinos, “I don’t know how smart it is, losing a billion dollars on a casino. I thought the house always won.” She also questioned whether Trump’s claims that he may not accept the result of election disqualified him from being president. She offered that, “We’ve always had a peaceful transfer of power in the United States. We’ve always had democracy over dictatorship, rule of law over a strongman. The United States is bigger than Donald Trump.”
She even joked to supporters who might know people considering voting for Donald Trump, “You know, it’s not too late to stage an intervention. Friends don’t let friends vote for Donald Trump”
Listing a variety of issues from immigration and criminal justice reform to college affordability, Clinton stressed the significance of the participating in this election. She added, “This is a crossroad election. There could not be two different agendas and visions than between me and Donald Trump.”
Ending her speech, she told the crowd, “You’d better vote. Think about the future we want, think about the future we can create and remember love trumps hate.”
Haverford students were overwhelming enthusiastic about the evening. As she left the event, Corcoran said simply, “It was just amazing.”
Pardon our appearance as we move to a new site! Access to archives is unavailable currently.