Students Crowded into Crossroads to Watch as Nation Rebuked Trump

Election Party: A Midd Tradition

By SARAH ASCH

MICHAEL BORENSTEIN
Professors Dickinson and Johnson provide live commentary on the midterms.

Students filled Crossroads and The Grille to watch the results of the recent midterm elections in an unusually high showing of enthusiasm and support on Nov. 6. 

The watch party, similar to those hosted during past elections, was co-sponsored by the College Democrats and the College Republicans. The event included live commentary from Political Science Professors Matt Dickinson and Bert Johnson, as well as a big screen playing CNN in the background that updated students on the Democratic Party’s takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Republican Party keeping their hold on the U.S. Senate.

People were genuinely interested in the midterms, and they showed up in droves to the watch party.”

— Grace Vedock '20

Grace Vedock ’20, president of the College Democrats, said she was happy to keep the tradition alive. 

“Historically, midterm elections don’t generate the same amount of enthusiasm as presidential elections,” she said. “This round of midterm elections completely exceeded my expectations in terms of on-campus energy — people were genuinely interested in the midterms, and they showed up in droves to the watch party.”

College Republicans Co-President Sophia Dongas ’21 agreed, adding that she felt the event was a success for students with different political affiliations.

“We decided on co-hosting the party because we wanted everyone to feel welcome and decided that making it bipartisan would encourage people from both the right and the left to attend,” she said. “I think it is important to watch election results as they come in because I liken it to watching history unfold.”

Many students at the event said they wanted to be with other people when they heard the results. “I think it’s important to be with your community, especially because elections have become so divisive and more emotional than they have ever been to us in the past,” Elsa Rodriguez ’21 said. 

I think it is important to watch election results as they come in because I liken it to watching history unfold.”

— Sophia Dongas ’21

While some students said they were there to learn, many were also already following key races, both in their home states and nationally. Wynn McClenahan ’22 was watching the house race in her home district, New Jersey 11. “There’s a seat up in my district for the first time in a really long time, because the old representative retired,” she said. “I’m definitely interested in seeing how that will go.” 

Caroline Harrison ’19.5 is from Florida and was watching the governor’s race closely. “I don’t want to be alone when the results of that election come in, either way,” she said. “Also definitely interested to see how Texas goes, because if Beto wins that that’s a real game changer and I think that’s the closest they’ve ever been to turning blue.”

Harrison was referring to Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic nominee for Senate in Texas, a race that students from across the political spectrum said they were watching closely. Students also highlighted the gubernatorial elections in Florida and Georgia — as of press time, the latter two races remained uncalled, with Republican candidates clinging to slim leads, while O’Rourke was defeated in Texas by Republican incumbent Ted Cruz. 

Others were also keeping track of races that had the potential to yield historic firsts. “My congressional district elected Sharice Davids, the first openly gay member of the Kansas delegation and one of the two first Native American women elected to Congress,” Vedock said. “I was also watching Colorado, where Jared Polis became the first gay governor in US history.” 

It’s always more difficult to harness energy on non-election years, but in the Trump era, there are never a shortage of things to fight against. I hope that people stay informed and engaged.”

— Grace Vedock '20

Throughout the evening, Dickinson provided context for students on a national level while Johnson’s commentary focused on state and local races. 

“As the election returns come in we’ll make fun of Wolf Blitzer, we’ll try to explain what’s actually happening,” Dickinson said as he kicked off the event. He later added, “The one thing that we know historically is we are in a period of unprecedented instability in American politics. And what I mean by that is control of our major institutions, the presidency, the house, the senate, has rotated from party to party.” 

With the next national election now two years away, both Dongas and Vedock have plans for their organizations in the short term. 

“Currently we are focused on building a strong community between our club members, and inviting a conservative speaker to campus,” Dongas said. 

Vedock said that she hopes to build a bridge between her club and local community. “It’s important to get out of the ‘Middlebury bubble’ and learn about our fellow community members,” she said. “It’s always more difficult to harness energy on non-election years, but in the Trump era, there are never a shortage of things to fight against. I hope that people stay informed and engaged.”

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About the Contributors
SARAH ASCH, Editor-at-Large

Sarah Asch ’19.5 is an editor at large.

She previously served as senior features editor, features editor, and staff writer.

Asch is majoring in...

MICHAEL BORENSTEIN, Chief Photo Editor

Michael Borenstein ’19 is Chief Photo Editor.
He has been with the photos team since his freshman fall and has served as an editor since the Spring...

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Students Crowded into Crossroads to Watch as Nation Rebuked Trump