Though the final result for the presidential race between incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden was not called on election night, many Americans watched to see who might come out on top.
Members of Auburn University's College Republicans and College Democrats were among those watching on Tuesday, Nov. 3, not only for the presidential race, but the Alabama Senate election between Sen. Doug Jones and Tommy Tuberville, former Auburn Tigers football coach as well.
The College Republicans congregated in a large room in the Student Center as multiple TVs analyzed each state in senate elections and the presidential election.
"We've met with [Tuberville] multiple times on multiple occasions, [he's] a great guy willing to help us out," said Jordan Parker, senior in business analytics and vice president for the College Republicans, shortly before Tuberville's win was called later that night. "I hope he's active, I hope he represents us well and hope he represents Republicans well and follows through on what he said he's going to do."
Parker expressed hope in a Trump win based on the president's wins in Florida and Texas. However, he said if Biden were to win, the Auburn College Republicans would accept the results and set their sights in voting for the Republican candidate in the 2024 election.
"If Joe Biden happens to win, you're not going to see us burning stores and looting buildings and peoples' businesses," Parker said. "The sun will rise, life will go on [and] we'll go back to our jobs. Not going to be the outcome that we had desired but we've got four more years to flip it."
With a Trump re-election, Parker said he would expect to see continued tax cuts, brokered peace agreements in the Middle East and economic recovery once a reliable COVID-19 vaccine is available to the public and can be distributed efficiently to Americans.
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"We saw a record third quarter growth – 33.1% GDP growth – which is a historic record in this nation," Parker said. "That's the kind of the thing President Trump is focused on."
Davis Deimund, senior in finance, said he hoped for a Trump win for similar reasons, as the president's approach toward economics would be more favorable to his career as he graduated from college.
"I'll have greater confidence in my business ambitions because I think the market economy would be friendlier to most opportunities [under Trump]," Deimund said.
He also said he is a proponent of continued military funding as he believes it has allowed Trump to maintain good diplomacy with Middle Eastern countries.
Toby Boyd, senior in industrial and systems engineering, said he voted for Trump in part because of the president's desire to reopen businesses as the pandemic carries on. Biden, he said, would opt to close things down if elected.
"People who are actually at risk [for COVID-19] like the elderly need to take steps to protect themselves but for the rest of us when it's got a [low] death rate and when a lot of people don't even have symptoms or very mild symptoms, then you don't shut the entire economy down for that," Boyd said.
Some members of the College Republicans, such as Adam Lether, junior in pre-building science, were content in seeing Tuberville take Alabama's senate seat, but approached the results with a degree of reluctance.
"[Tuberville] doesn't have a whole lot of experience in politics," Lether said. "I'm not sure how it's going to translate over to his administration. I'd personally rather there be a candidate with more political experience."
On the national scale, Lether said there was a feeling of tension as the College Republicans watched Trump and Biden compete for electoral votes. He compared this year's race to the 2000 race between George W. Bush and Al Gore because of mail-in voting.
Over on the east side of campus, the Auburn University College Democrats hosted a watch party in the Mell Classroom Building. The party was socially distanced and masked, with a green screen required through the GuideSafe Healthcheck screener to attend.
Carsten Grove, senior in industrial and systems engineering and president of AUCD, cited COVID-19 as one of his main concerns going forward, and why he hoped Biden would win.
“I want us to get an actual response to COVID, and not just keep trying to sweep it under the rug,” Grove said. “If we keep trying to pretend it’s not a problem, it’s just going to get worse and continue for longer. The way Donald Trump has been saying that the cure can’t be worse than the disease, it’s clear he’s trying to move on from this when the disease hasn’t moved on.”
Joelle Woggerman, sophomore in biochemistry and director of the Biden campaign on Auburn’s campus, shared similar concerns regarding COVID-19. In addition to getting the virus under control, Waggoner hopes that with a Biden win, politics will be able to return to some sense of normalcy.
“Under the Trump administration, so many norms that we never thought about have been broken,” Waggoner said. “I think one of the first things we should do is make it legally binding that you don’t break those unspoken rules and just reinforce it because he’s really tested the structural integrity of our institutions.”
Both Woggerman and Grove were fairly confident that Biden was going to win early in the night, despite the surprising win for Trump in Florida.
“I’m pretty confident that he’s gonna win because there are so many people who are lifelong Republicans that said they’re going to vote for Joe Biden and that’s across the country,” Woggerman said. “I think that makes a really big difference in swing states.”
Aahil Makhani, senior in supply chain management and a member of AUCD, is a DACA recipient. He said he hopes for and is confident in a Biden win, but he also has some concerns in the event of a Trump win.
“If Biden wins, I hope to become a citizen,” Makhani said. “I have a job lined up after graduation. I have to potentially give that up to go live in a place that is not my home if Trump wins. I have lived here for 18-19 years and being forced to leave my home is not something I want to do.”
Woggerman also shared her concerns of protests and violence in the event of a Trump win or loss.
“Whether he wins or loses, there’s expected to be an uptick in white nationalist and supremacist violence, and I can definitely see that happening,” Woggerman said. “Hopefully not here in Auburn, but you never know.”
Despite their faith in a Biden win, they anticipated Jones losing, although they had hoped for the opposite.
“I hope he wins,” Grove said. “But Alabama tends to vote red pretty frequently, and this is a presidential election year. It would be tough for Jones to win this one.”
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