Kent State political parties watch election results together

College Democratic Political Director Claire Goebel and her friends Madison Rowland, a fashion merchandise major, and Samantha Scozzaro, an education major, react to Donald Trump’s escalating electoral votes on election night Nov. 8, 2016 at Brewhouse in Kent. 

The 2016 election has finally come to a close, and Kent State’s two political parties celebrated as one. Kent’s College Republicans, Democrats, Ohio Together and Undergraduate Student Government joined together at Brewhouse in downtown Kent for an election watch party.

Brewhouse, catering to both political parties, had three election-themed drink specials to make any voter feel welcome: the “Trumptini,” “HERnKAINE” and a voters shot.

Televisions blared CNN and Fox News, filling the noisy bar with constant updates. People sat excitedly around the televisions and cheered when their favored candidate won a state. Eyes were glued to the screens.

The Democrats

The College Democrats formulated the idea to host the watch party event; however, the College Republicans had to agree for the event to be permanent.

“I’m hoping that after this election, people won’t be scared to get involved,” said Hana Barkowitz, president of College Democrats. “Our goal is to get students involved and active and be an advocate in something they believe in.”

Hounding ‘boos’ came from Democrat supporters when Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump won a state, and satisfied cheers arose when Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won another.

Barkowitz expressed this election to be empowering as well as disheartening.

“This election does not just affect one group of people. It affects everybody,” Barkowitz said. “The election has empowered people to become an advocate, but it was also disheartening to see people not give a crap about voting.”

Barkowitz pointed out the television news broadcasts throughout Brewhouse.

“I think it’s impacting to see that the majority of people here are a part of the Democratic party,” Barkowtiz said. “Only a few people are viewing the television showing Fox News channel, while the rest are watching the television showing CNN.”

One of the major issues College Democrats expressed that they’ve noticed throughout the election is the divide in our generation.

“We are the future. Why are we not more involved?” Barkowitz questioned. “Why don’t we care more?”

Democratic supporters believe the divide to be because of the media.

“There are so many false headlines that our generation reads only on social media,” said Nina Bianco, junior human development and family studies major. “We need to be properly educated instead of bashing other people for not supporting other political views.”

A few of the College Democrat members who attended the party were not always Clinton supporters.

“My parents are Republicans and (Barkowitz) has definitely woken and educated me, in so many ways,” said Erin Dovishaw, freshman crafts major. “As a woman in this race, it’s kind of common sense to go the democratic party.”

Attendees at the watch party had mixed emotions about the way the election was beginning to unfold, when Clinton did not win the Ohio vote.

“I am shaking,” said Brenna Parker, senior public relations major. “If Hillary doesn’t win I feel like all the work we have done will be thrown out the window.”

Attendees from both parties sat staring at the televisions biting their fingernails.

“Hillary will win,” Barkowitz said. “And I will be ecstatic.”

The Republicans

When it was announced that Donald Trump won Ohio, a range of emotions spread. Kent State’s College Republicans president Jennifer Hutchinson gasped in excitement, while a chorus of boos echoed from angry Democrats.

“No matter what, at the end of the day, I’m so proud to be a Republican,” said Hutchinson, a senior political science major. “I’m so proud of what our party has done.”

At 40 members strong, the College Republicans fought the entire election to get people involved. Members went door to door, made phone calls and spoke directly to citizens to urge them to vote and have their voice heard.

“This is an election that we’ve never seen before,” Hutchinson said. “I have seen so many people work incredibly hard over the last year and a half. It has been an amazing learning process. I’ve learned to stick to my beliefs and voice my opinion, but take everything with a grain of salt.”

Instead of endorsing Trump, the College Republicans enthusiastically backed Senator Rob Portman who was running for re-election as senator of Ohio.

The College Republicans came to the watch party after celebrating Portman’s victory and all of the work they put into his campaign.

Christian Pancake, a senior political science major and chairman of the Ohio College Republicans Confederation, was proud of Portman, but was also thrilled to see the results of the 2016 election.

“It’s interesting to see,” Pancake said. “I don’t think anybody expected Trump to do as well as he’s doing right now.”

Jeremiah Sagula, a freshman business management major and member of the College Republicans, agreed with the complexity of the 2016 election.

“It’s going to be a close race,” Sagula said. “Whoever wins.”

Republicans and Democrats watched who took what state, reacted, but then accepted the other party’s political views.

“We’ve always had a great relationship with the College Democrats,” Pancake said. “It’s important for us that they have a strong chapter just as it’s important for them that we have a strong chapter. We simply are here to give people two different options and help them explore political beliefs. When we’re both unified and strong and not combative, that’s very good for our campus community.”

“I always tell people that our club is in the business of promoting our ideals and our party,” Hutchinson said. “We’re not in the business of tearing down other people’s. At the end of the day, we should be able to do something like this and be able to say congratulations.”

Nicole Zahn is the recreation and wellness reporter. Contact her at [email protected], McKenna Corson is the international and graduate affairs reporter. Contact her at [email protected]