By WES TALLEY
America’s 45th President was elected on Tuesday, and the view from campus was electric.
At Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, crowds watched as graphics of states turned red or blue on TV and speculated on the outcome.
At at MTSU’s Media & Entertainment building, the room had an optimistic energy, voters hopeful their candidate could secure victory.
Yes, the people hoped their party would win, but the event was more then just a celebration for a potential candidate’s victory. It was a celebration of being an American. Many students felt the power of having a say in who was elected, knowing that their opinion counted and their voice was heard.
I had the opportunity to speak with a few of the watch party attendees and attain their opinions on the process of this election, each candidate, and America’s future regardless the winner, among other topics
Dr. John Vile, Dean of the University Honors College
Q. May I ask you who you voted for?
A. I didn’t vote for Trump, we’ll say that.
Q. So what made you lean that way, do you usually vote Democratic?
A. No I don’t, I’m a Republican. Not this year, not for this office though.
Q. So many Republicans share your opinion. What is making them steer away from Trump? Is it because he’s not a politician?
A. I don’t think he’s a Republican. I don’t think he’s conservative, or that he has moderation or prudence. He doesn’t have most of the values that I associate with a Republican. I can understand how he has a certain appeal. It starts from the beginning. If you launch a campaign against people, instead of for something, it just doesn’t seem to be a good way to go about politics.
Q. Why do you believe this campaign has been more name calling then actual politics?
A. He’s kind of the outsider and hes tapped into a lot of apparent, rage, concern, and economic uncertainty. When you start with a field of 16 candidates, sometimes the loudest one captures the media. My thought was the more he was in the media, the worse he would do. Apparently, that is not what has happened.
Q. Is this your first time voting?
A. Yes, this is my first year to vote.
Q. Since this is your first year voting, do recall the process last election? If so how do you think this one compares to our previous election?
A. Yes, I do. One of the candidates running this year isn’t really a politician. So it’s hard to talk politics with someone who isn’t a politician. He (Trump) is preying on a certain audience and it clearly has worked for him to this point.
Q. Regardless as to which party wins tonight, do you think there will be change in the next four years? Or just politics as usual?
A. I’m not sure. Part of me feels there will be a big shift in the country, the other feels like it’s a load of nonsense. We’re going to be dealing with the same things we’ve been dealing with.
Q. So what draws you to Hillary?
A. She’s the lesser of two evils at this point. You have to vote somebody. As a country, we could have taken the primaries a little bit more serious. I don’t believe we did that.
Q. Do you believe there was a better option in the running, say a Sanders or Rubio?
A. Yeah, I liked Bernie. He seemed to be more so geared toward who I am right now, being a college student.
Ashley Myers, Music Business Major
Q. May I ask who voted for?
A. I usually vote Republican so this year I had to write in for Marco Rubio.
Q. What is it you like so much about Rubio?
A. He had immigrant parents, so he knows the American dream, coming from nothing. I agree with his policies and ideas. And he’s not a total [expletive] (referring to Trump)
Q. So, in your thought process did you ever consider Hillary or was that too much?
A. I did. I considered her, but my background and my ideologies. I just couldn’t get on the same page with Hillary.
Q. Since you didn’t vote for either Clinton or Trump, do think either of them can make real change in the next four years?
A. There are things that need to be changed. If the House and Senate can work with the elected President, instead of fighting all the time things can get done in a positive way. Both parties do have good ideas, but they’ll have to work together with the opposite party to get things to happen. That has been the issue with the Obama administration. Obama’s had good ideas, but he’s had a Republican House, so nothing could get moved forward. I vote Republican, but you have to respect other people’s ideology.
Q. What made you want to vote for Trump?
A. He stands for traditional American values. Keeping the government small, out of the private lives of citizens. I did have hesitations, but looking at Hillary made it an easy decision.
Q. So is your vote a product of disdain for Hillary or found faith in Trump?
A. I liked Trump, I would have voted for him regardless who the Democrats ran. Once I knew it was her, it just reaffirmed my choice.
Q. Why do think these two candidates had so much bad blood build up?
A. You see both parties, they’re getting so much farther apart on their core beliefs. You had Bernie Sanders, running with a more socialist platform in the primary and get about 40% of the vote. You have Trump, very pro-capitalist, Laissez-faire economics, win the Republican nomination. I don’t think the millennial generation has enough character to respect people on both sides of the aisle. Trump supporters are as guilty as Clinton’s and vice versa as becoming aggressive towards the opposite party.
Q. In the future, when millennials are running for these offices, do you think they’ll have a different out look? Will there even be a Republican/Democratic party?
A. Winston Churchill said, “If you’re not liberal when you’re young, you have no heart. If you’re not conservative when you’re old, you have no brain.”
Long after the party wore down, a winner was finally announced after 1:30 a.m. The next President of the United States will be Donald Trump.