‘FOUR MORE YEARS’
The majority of Washington University students voted contrary to Missouri voters but in accord with the nation in re-electing Barack Obama to the office of United States President.
Greeted with cheers of “four more years” and “USA,” news outlets including CNN, NBC and the New York Times named Obama the victor Tuesday night after declaring Ohio for the current president.
In his acceptance speech Wednesday morning, the re-elected president insisted that the nation “keep reaching, keep working, keep fighting.”
“He really is a great and inspiring leader, and I think a lot of people are right in rejoicing tonight for the face that he puts on America to the world and [for] what he tells America about ourselves,” senior Anna Applebaum, co-editor-in-chief of the Washington University Political Review, said. “To me, it’ll never be quite the same situation that it was in 2008, but I’m still so proud of my president and to have worked to have made Barack Obama president [again] for another four years.”
According to New York Times figures updated Wednesday morning, Mitt Romney won Missouri 53.8 percent to 44.3 percent, though Obama emerged as the clear national winner with 303 electoral votes (with Florida’s result still pending).
The Times also confirmed that incumbent Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill defeated republican Todd Akin and that incumbent Jay Nixon had won over Dave Spence for governor, with both democrats winning by more than a 10 percent margin.
About 500 students attended watch parties held in College Hall and Tisch Commons Tuesday night.
“It was fun to have a big community event for a very singular moment in our time here at Wash. U.,” senior Peter Birke said.
A survey of 270 students outside of the Ursa’s Fireside polling place indicated that 86 percent of students voted for Obama and 12 percent voted for Romney.
“I think we were expecting it to be closer than it was, a harder fight than it was,” junior and College Democrats President Leigha Empson said of Tuesday’s national race. “But when the states came rolling in blue…it was over a lot faster than we thought it would be.”
She attributed the Obama victory in large part to the campaign’s grassroots nature.
“If you have thousands of volunteers reminding their neighbors to vote, it’s really going to add up and make a difference,” she said.
About 1,300 students voted at Ursa’s on the South 40, according to the St. Louis Board of Elections. Adam Flores, junior and intern at the Gephardt Institute for Public Service, said that he was pleased with the student voter turnout.
“Throughout the entire day, it just seemed like there were constantly people [voting],” he said. “As the night went on, it got more of a kind of stadium atmosphere…it was really energetic.”
While many publications have spent the past several months declaring the presidential race too close to call, history professor Peter Kastor said little has changed in recent weeks.
“Nothing in the last two months has truly driven this election in a significant way,” Kastor said. “It was clear that the principal concern that would determine whether people voted and how they voted was the economy. That has not changed. It’s not as if some other factor has emerged that has garnered greater attention than the state of the domestic economy.”
While Obama’s victory was greeted with applause that resounded throughout the Danforth University Center, not all members of the Washington University community were pleased with the results.
“I don’t think anything’s really going to change,” senior Jordan Wagner said. Wagner has supported Romney since the latter’s 2008 presidential bid.
“I think it’s going to be a very, very slow-moving economy,” she said. “I think Obamacare is going to continue…and I just don’t see how that’s a feasible option right now with the other social programs barely being able to survive.”
Professor Alan Lambert, who has been studying the overly-optimistic attitudes of under-informed political supporters, said he is curious to see how Republicans handle the loss.
Still, Wagner said she remains optimistic for the future.
“I am so excited for 2016 already, and I will be out there tomorrow, already trying to get Republicans to vote for 2016.”
“I’m going to turn the radio on tomorrow and see what Rush Limbaugh has to say,” Lambert said. “When people’s expectations are violated, they try to make sense of the outcome, and this is a really interesting case.”
“Some people are going to be [gracious] losers…other people are going to perhaps claim there’s been some problems in the process,” he added. “It has nothing to do with being Republican or Democrat. It’s general human nature to come up with explanations for why their expectations haven’t worked out.”
With additional reporting by Sahil Patel.