Members of the Tufts community gathered in the Mayer Campus Center’s Hotung Café Tuesday night to watch, discuss and celebrate the results of the 2018 midterm elections. Energy levels were high throughout the night, and many students stayed until 11:00 p.m., the end of the event.
The event, entitled “Election Night Watch Party,” was planned and organized by JumboVote with the help of the Tufts Democrats, Tufts Republicans, Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life and Andrew Goodman Foundation, according to JumboVote member and event coordinator Caroline Enloe. These groups worked together to fund the event, as well as to spread awareness and draw a variety of students in, according to Enloe, a junior. She said that the goal was to give students a place to watch the election and a space to talk about the results and learn more about polling.
Before the event, Enloe said that she was unsure about its turnout.
“This is a midterm election and people aren’t going to be as excited,” she said. “People aren’t seeing [this election as being] as momentous as it was in 2016.”
But Enloe’s concerns proved largely unfounded. Hotung was packed from 9:30 to 10:00 p.m., and those in attendance were heavily invested in the polls. Many students had their computers out and were looking up live results of key races, as well as those in their home states. Enloe stood at the front of the room and filled in a map of congressional districts in real time. Hotung’s televisions were tuned to CNN for the returns.
First-year Parker Killenberg came to track the election results, especially the heavily contested gubernatorial election between Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams in her home state, Georgia.
“I am from a state that has a really important election so I wanted to find out more about what other people thought and have some support as I watched the results,” Killenberg said.
The Georgia gubernatorial race had yet to be called Wednesday night, though Kemp, a Republican, was leading with 100 percent of precincts reporting, The New York Times showed.
Also present at the watch party was Brian Schaffner, Newhouse Professor of Civic Studies in Tufts’ Department of Political Science. Schaffner explained to students how polling works, clarifying some misconceptions.
“[Schaffner] had a little presentation made up for the students to break down what polling is, how you can intelligently understand what’s happening, because polling is very confusing and people take it many different ways,” Enloe said.
First-year Zosia Stafford attended to learn more about the elections and share her emotions with a group.
“I felt like I wasn’t quite as educated about a lot of the races this year, and I think it’s a super important year to be educated about it, so I wanted to hear people talk about the election, and get a little closer to the results,” Stafford said.
As races were called through the night, the crowd alternately erupted in cheers or let out a chorus of boos, depending on the winning candidate. The overall mood of the room constantly shifted as students joined and left the watch party and as more races started to get called later into the night.
Peter de Guzman (LA ’18), student outreach coordinator at Tisch College, said that it is sometimes very hard to tell early on how the results will swing, leading to shifting emotions throughout election night.
“I think it is cool this year that there’s a lot of enthusiasm, but it’s easy to become too optimistic in politics a lot, depending on your politics,” de Guzman said.
As the watch party drew to a close, major news outlets began reporting that Republicans would hold the United States Senate and Democrats would flip the House of Representatives. First-year Neerav Gade shared his feelings about the election results.
“I do still think that there is a lot of work to be done, and there [are] some votes that I feel like the Democrats lost [that] they shouldn’t have,” Gade said.