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Students rejoice after Obama victory

By Peter Shahin, Daily Staff Reporter
and Sam Gringlas, Daily Staff Reporter
Published November 7, 2012

Speaking only when the first returns began coming in, LSA junior Kaitlin Mikatarian, the secretary of College Republicans, said though she wasn’t optimistic about Romney’s chances, she hadn’t given up hope.

By 8 p.m., the group had disbanded and members had gone to watch the election results individually or in smaller groups.

After networks called the election for Obama, LSA junior Jared Boot, the chair of the University’s Students for Romney, said though his party lost the presidency, they were consoled by electoral success in the state Supreme Court races and the ballot proposals.

All six ballot proposals — including Proposals 2 through 6, which were opposed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and most other prominent Republicans — were defeated Tuesday.

“We put up a good fight,” Boot said. “We’ve made a presence on campus, people know we exist, and hopefully people respect our positions better.”

Boot added that the unclear outcome of the popular vote — which shows Obama leading by about 2.7 million votes as of 9:40 a.m. according to the Associated Press — is a mandate for the president to work more collaboratively with Republicans in Congress.

“We’re looking for the bright spots,” Boot said. “The governor was very proud of that — he’s worked tirelessly on those six proposals and he’s very pleased with the results that are coming in. He’ll keep moving Michigan’s economy forward, thanks to people realizing that special interests can’t have a hold on our constitution.”

Political Science Prof. Michael Heaney said that while the election was suspenseful, student participation was somewhat below average. However, he noted it was difficult to overcome the spirit and exhilaration of the 2008 campaign.

“2008 was just an exceptionally exciting election,” Heaney said. “There are two things you’ve got to keep in mind: how dark and terrible the Bush (years) were, and bringing the first African-American president and this younger man who was such a charismatic speaker. 2008 was the most exciting election of my lifetime.”

By 9 p.m., nearly 200 students and alumni filled the Union’s University Club room as results began rolling across television screens. Gathering around crowded tables adorned with colorful balloons, posters and streamers, students nibbled on ice cream bars while keeping their eyes locked on the results.

The event, sponsored by the Center for Campus Involvement, drew students from across the political spectrum. At one table, a group of Obama supporters donned buttons and cheered with each state that turned blue on the electoral map, while others donned Michigan Republican Party T-shirts.

Overall, cheers for Obama victories dominated the night, especially when networks announced an Obama win in Michigan.

“I felt elated when Obama captured the state of Michigan,” Kinesiology senior Miatta McCrummady said. “I voted for him the first time and I voted for him again today.”

McCrummady said she stood with Obama primarily due to his support for women’s rights and the middle class.

Before the election was called later in the evening, Romney supporters remained optimistic and hopeful about the Republican nominee’s victory.

“This is huge, him being re-elected,” LSA sophomore Kiana Alexander said. “As a black person, he represents the dream. America really is the land of opportunity. You really can be anything.”

Further down State Street, North Quad Residence Hall hosted a watch party event of about 30 students, where discussion focused primarily on the foreign policy stances of the two candidates — seemingly fitting for a theme community focused on international studies.

LSA junior Nora Dagher said she talked to many international students who, though ineligible to vote, said they feel impacted by the election.

“The whole world is watching at this point,” Dagher said.