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“I don’t think anything is gonna change…when does it ever?”
Howard University’s Student Association hosted an election watch party where Howard students and staff sat and enjoyed food and music before receiving the results of the 2016 election. Leading up to Election Day, many Howard students expressed their sentiments toward both candidates and also talked about their trips to the polls on social media platforms, including Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook.
At the watch party, students represented several on-campus organizations, wore Black Lives Matter shirts, and many proudly showed off their recently earned voter stickers. As the event got started, students sat at tables discussing their feelings coming into Election Night, predictions as to who would end up victorious, as well as their predictions for the next four years. “I don’t think anything is gonna change” one student stated, which was answered with a frank “When does it ever?” Others expressed that in either case, a Trump presidency “probably wouldn’t last long” compared to a second Clinton term, which “would make more sense for a presidential legacy.”
These sentiments reflect those of most college-age students, a vast majority of whom are first-time voters. However, it isn’t clear as to whether or not those sentiments will be reflected in actual voter turnout. In the 2012 election, Pew Research Center found that only 46% of eligible Millennial voters said they actually voted, the lowest voter turnout of all age groups.
Millennials are the largest voter demographic, and while it is too early to tell if more Millennials have actually turned out to polls, it is certain that this election has incited much more political interest among young people
Social media platforms were more heavily utilized this election season compared to past ones, making it easier for people to discuss their opinions and register to vote and allowing students attending schools out of state to more easily request absentee ballots.
As more polls closed, students cheered as their states appeared on the screen showing Clinton victories and booed at several states that were won by Donald Trump. The room became extremely anxious when it was revealed that Donald Trump won Texas (a red state with 38 electoral votes). In several interviews, students expressed that while the current projections caused some nervousness, they were certain Clinton would pull a landslide victory in the end.