The Ole Miss College Republicans’ election party audience dwindled in numbers all night, but Donald Trump’s electoral count kept rising.
When Trump won key battleground states like Ohio, Florida and North Carolina, applause erupted from College Republicans in Bryant Hall as a Trump victory grew more likely.
Finally, at 1:31 a.m. on Nov. 9, The Associated Press called the election for Donald Trump via Twitter.
Hillary Clinton conceded the election to Donald Trump over the phone within minutes of The Associated Press’ projection.
Like the rest of the nation, the College Republicans sat on pins and needles all night, as national polls predicted that Hillary Clinton would easily fly the W in this election. Just last week, The New York Times predicted that Clinton would win the election with more than 80 percent, saying that Trump’s chances of winning were like an NFL kicker missing a 32-yard field goal. Well, apparently, the election night kicker was Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Roberto Aguayo.
Across town, the mood at the Lyric was starkly different where The Lafayette County Democrats and the Ole Miss College Democrats staged their watch party. The event was advertised across campus and Oxford with posters titled “HRC For The Win.”
Unlike the College Republicans, the Democratic camp attracted approximately 200 people. Elizabeth Romary, a senior international studies major, arrived at the Lyric before 8 p.m. and described the scene as having a “generally positive, yet anxious mood.”
“People were excited,” said Romary, “people were taking pictures.”
But as the night wore on, that excitement turned into anxiety, especially when Trump won key battleground states, like Romary’s home state of North Carolina.
“The excited jitter throughout the room just kind of stopped, “said Romary. “I was just in a state of ‘heck, how did this happen?’”
As Donald Trump made significant gains, more and more people trickled out of the Lyric as a Clinton defeat seemed more and more likely.
“The complete, honest truth is that I’m disappointed,” said Romary.
But Clinton’s loss was as just as surprising for Democrats as Trump’s win was for Republicans.
“It’s truly astounding,” said Sam Rhodes, treasurer of the Ole Miss College Republicans, “It’s almost hard to believe.”
Now that a Trump presidency is certain, many share conflicting views on what it will entail.
Romary believes it’s a step back for the country.
“I think we could wake up to a world in January after he’s inaugurated, to a place that does not value love and equality and that hates for no reason,” said Romary.
But others, like Republican Jesse Schmitt, a freshman engineering major from Picayune, think Trump’s win is a step in the right direction.
“I think it’s crucial to the future of our nation,” said Schmitt. “I think Mr. Trump has what it takes to be a good leader.”