Within the first 30 seconds of Monday night’s Zoom meeting, members of the University of Michigan’s chapter of the College Democrats began discussing possible presidential election results. With anxiety regarding Tuesday’s election and the additional stress of mail-in ballot counting delaying results, the student group struggled to stay calm. 

LSA senior Carolyn Chen stated frankly: “I am recklessly optimistic. I am ready to be hurt again.” 

Chen said she was proud of the University’s high early voting turnout, emphasizing the effectiveness of the satellite voting location at the University of Michigan Museum of Art. 

State Sen. Jeff Irwin, D-18, spoke at the Zoom rally. Showing excitement about tomorrow’s election, Irwin also emphasized what rights are at stake.

“I’m riding with Biden,” Irwin said. “We all know what’s at stake. The world’s burning, we’re facing climate change and have no national strategy. We’re lagging behind on education and labor rights. The rights of women in this country are tremendously under pressure.”

Irwin reminded attendees of the importance of getting in any last votes, saying voter turnout has never felt more important due to the polarization of Tuesday’s election. 

“We need to squeeze out those late voters, those maybe voters, and let them know why it matters,” Irwin said. 

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, D-Mich., spoke after Irwin, reiterating the necessity of voting and inspiring young voters to prepare for a generational change.

“Young voters are a decisive factor in this electorate,” Gilchrist said. “We need to take advantage of this generational opportunity.”

Next to speak was U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., who was unafraid of hiding her own election anxiety. 

“I’m scared shitless,” Dingell said. “I was really scared four years ago, I thought Hillary Clinton was going to lose, nobody believed me.”

Dingell told participants to expect hazardous rhetoric to come from Trump this week.

“Donald Trump’s going to be shoveling fake news tomorrow, and we need to shovel it back up his blank. I won’t say it, but you know what I’m saying,” Dingell said.

Dingell then introduced her fellow representative, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., whom Dingell referred to as her “sister.” 

“She really is my sister,” Dingell said. “You don’t want to screw with the two of us.” 

Tlaib shared the other speakers’ concerns and emphasized her desire to see the end of the Trump administration. 

“I don’t want to win by a little bit, I want to win a lot,” she said. “I want to see his face. You can’t be a racist, white supremacist and get away with it.” 

Tlaib also expressed her frustration with Trump’s past remarks, specifically regarding the severity of the pandemic and his handling of it.

“When there’s that much lack of empathy with folks who have died in the pandemic, who have lost their jobs — the fact that there’s this real disconnect is just so dangerous for this country,” Tlaib said.

Her closing remarks encouraged the rally’s attendees to participate in one last push for increased voter turnout. Tlaib reminded participants that everyone has someone in their lives to reach out to, even if it’s a distant relative or an acquaintance-level classmate.

“You know there’s that one cousin, that one classmate,” Tlaib said. “I’m one of 14, I know which sibling I need to stalk tomorrow.”

The night’s final political speaker was state Rep. Yousef Rabhi, D-Ann Arbor, who began by encouraging attendees to reflect on the past four years’ political events. 

“The first thing I want to encourage you to do is think about the last four years and what it is the Trump administration has been doing,” Rabhi said. “Think about the children separated from their parents, who (has) been appointed to the SC, the state of our planet and the generations of damage he’s done.” Rabhi reminded participants that Biden is only the first step to America’s repair. 

“There will be no America,” Rabhi said. “It will be burned to the ground. Biden and Harris are the fire department. They will put the fire out, but they’re not rebuilding the house.”

To conclude the event, Rabhi emphasized the hope of Biden’s victory leading to progress. 

“We’re in it because we believe in a better America,” Rabhi said. “It’s not about an election, it’s about a fight that has spanned generations.”

Daily News Contributor Emily Blumberg can be reached at emilybl@umich.edu

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