They cheered when Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump won Alabama. They smiled when they saw Rubio win Senator of Florida. Like the rest of America, they shifted nervously back and forth in their seats. Some gripped their phones as they received notifications of results.This was how some of the University of Michigan’s Republican students watched the 2016 election unfold Tuesday night.
Over 50 students from varying University of Michigan conservative groups gathered in Rackham Assembly Hall Tuesday night to watch Fox News’ coverage of the 2016 election — until 10 p.m., when they had to leave because they had only reserved the room until then.
As of 10:45 p.m., Trump is winning in Michigan with 49.0 percent, behind Clinton’s 46.0 percent.
Students from campus-sponsored groups, such as Young Americans for Freedom, Students for Life and Campus Republicans all gathered around tables in the hall awaiting the result of each state as the polls closed, cheering when Donald Trump took hold of a state. The event was sponsored by Fox News.
LSA junior Grant Strobl, who organized the event, said he wanted to promote engagement with the process.
“I put on this event because I think it’s important that students are engaged in the electoral process,” Strobl said. “It’s a lot more fun to be engaged in this process when you’re with peers.”
Given that Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan have historically swung left at the polls, many students in these conservative groups said they found solidarity in watching the election with like-minded peers, such as LSA freshman Nicole Hocott, a member of Michigan Students for Life.
“I think Michigan is a very liberal place, so to be in a community where other people are like-minded or open minded is really refreshing and nice,” Hocott said. “Otherwise I would probably feel really lonely that I’m rooting for one thing when everybody around me is rooting for the other.”
Of the students in the crowd, the majority said they predicted Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton would win the presidency, though many students believed the election would be close.
“I think it’s gonna be a toss-up. Right now the polls say Hillary is gonna win, but the challenge is going to be, are Hillary supporters going to turn out?” Strobl said.
Hocott said she attributed media bias to why she believed Clinton is likely to win.
“I think Clinton will probably win just because the media has misrepresented Trump as super racist and misogynistic,” she said.
Though many students at the event were reluctant to share their political views, some were open with why they support Trump. LSA junior James Brown explained that it was not the candidate’s ideas that won him over, but rather his overall disdain for Clinton.
“Really it’s not because I wanted Donald Trump to be president, but because I wanted Hillary Clinton to be president less. It’s really choosing between the lesser of two evils in this election for me,” Brown said.
Music Theater and Dance senior Bret Patterson said he wore his “Make America Great Again Hat” to the event to display his loyalty to the nominee.
“I voted because of his outsider status and just to try to break the system of special interests and how much influence they have on politics,” he said.
Other students said they voted for Trump because of specific issues that he supported.
“One of my most important issues is abortion, and so that was really important to me that we have a pro-life president,” Hocott said.
Regardless of their reasons, most students admitted that they would be disappointed if Trump lost, but said the Republican party would recover from the defeat.
But no matter what the result, Patterson said he was very tempted to wear his Trump hat on campus Wednesday.
“I probably wouldn’t wear the hat to my classes,” Patterson said. “I would not sit in an auditorium in Angell Hall wearing the hat.”