Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Tuesday, November 20, 2018

How AU students reacted to the 2018 midterm results Tuesday night

Eagle reporters staked out watch parties from SPA, AU Dems and Republicans and Young Americans for Freedom

How AU students reacted to the 2018 midterm results Tuesday night

Students celebrate election results at the AU College Democrats midterm election watch party in SIS Founders Room on Tuesday night. 

As midterm election results rolled in on Tuesday night, AU’s student-run political organizations, as well as the School of Public Affairs, hosted watch parties that attracted students of varying political and geographical backgrounds. The Eagle sent reporters to speak with students about the issues that brought them to the polls, the races they were following and their experiences with voting this election cycle.

AU College Democrats

Reporting from Dan Papscun and Emily Seymour

Freshman Julia Larkin, who attended the AU Dems party in SIS Founders Room, burst into tears when her district in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn flipped from red to blue. Max Rose, a Democrat for New York’s 11th District, won 52.6 percent of the vote. Larkin said she voted for Rose because of his stance on issues like health insurance and gun control.

“Max Rose is definitely someone who will keep the president accountable and someone who will fight for everyone in Bay Ridge, not just his voter range,” Larkin said. 

Olan Trosky, director of communications for AU College Democrats, voted for all Democrats in her New Jersey swing district. Aside from New Jersey politics, Trosky was excited for election results for Beto O’Rourke in Texas and Stacey Abrams in Georgia. But the issues that brought Trosky to the polls were health insurance and immigration.

“For me, health care and immigration are big ones with the Trump administration really targeting those things,” Trosky said. “And I think those two issues have led the election.” 

Tom Lebert, a School of Public Affairs sophomore, voted in Connecticut for the same reason: healthcare.

"I'm voting because my mom is on Medicaid right now and I feel like her healthcare could be threatened if Republicans continue to hold on to the House and the entire government," Lebert said. 

AU Young Americans For Freedom

Reporting from Emily Lytle and Vincenza Belletti

Jenna Brink, a sophomore from New Jersey, said she voted for who she believed in this election. Brink serves as the communications director for AU’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom, a new conservative group on campus.

She interns for her congressman, Chris Smith of New Jersey’s 4th District, and was confident that he would be re-elected. He finished the night with 55.8 percent of the vote.

“He’s very bipartisan,” Brink said. “He votes for the people of New Jersey and votes for what’s right, and if that means crossing party lines, he will do it.”

Several students said they were paying a lot of attention to the Senate races in Texas and New Jersey, which ended up being won by incumbents Ted Cruz and Bob Menendez. Erik Hanson, a sophomore from New York, said he was drawn to the populism of the races this year.

“I’m interested in watching because of how populist it’s become and how many companies have incorporated politics into marketing strategies,” Hanson said. “I’ve never seen such blatant advertising, it’s unprecedented.”

Raj Dhage, a sophomore from Connecticut who attended the Young Americans for Freedom party, said he was raised Republican but decided to vote for all Democrats this election.

“I feel like it’s not the same party anymore,” Dhage said. “This election is important because ever since Obama took office, I’ve seen the party become more and more about social issues, and I’ve seen more and more racism from that party. I feel alienated by the party I grew up on.”

AU College Republicans

Reporting from Evan Margiotta and Anna Donohue

Robert Wines, the president of AU College Republicans, is from New York and tried to vote via absentee ballot. But he had issues with his ballot, forcing him to take extreme measures to vote.

“I went home last night on a Greyhound at 5 o’clock,” Wines said. “I woke up at 6:00, took a Greyhound right back and got back in time for class.”

Another student at the College Republicans party, sophomore Daniel Heine, said he voted in his home state of Massachusetts because he thinks being “civically engaged is a duty as an American.”

“It’s unique about the United States to contribute and have voices heard in the democratic system,” Heine said. 

Madeline Beitz, a freshman from California who attended the watch party, said she voted because of her family history.

“I voted because my ancestor signed the Declaration [of Independence] and I’m in Daughters of the American Revolution,” Beitz said.

School of Public Affairs

Reporting from Kelsey Carolan and Maria Carrasco

Graduate student Franklin Zyriek, a native Arizonan, interned for senate Democrat candidate Kyrsten Sinema and was excited to keep up with her race against Republican candidate Martha McSally.

“She is very bipartisan, a moderate, and she's voted for some things that I didn't like, but it's our chance to flip a Senate seat in Arizona to make it a Democratic seat,” Zyriek said. 

Dan Klein from Ohio and Scott Wheeler from Connecticut are both seniors who vividly remember the election night of President Donald Trump in 2016. Klein said events on campus were more toned down this year, but still felt big for a midterm election.

“I feel like that one was such a big deal because they had like three different parties and there were so many people, and they had it in the SIS lobby and it felt like such a bigger deal,” Klein said. “I definitely feel like this was a bigger deal for a midterm election.”

Wheeler added that he felt a similar vibe with the 2016 presidential election and the 2018 midterms.

“I feel like the vibe is still kind of the same but it’s not a national seat like the president, locally in a state level so that’s more reassuring me,” Wheeler said. “Connecticut is such a Democratic state and the only way it’s not going to win is if Democrats don’t vote.”

AU Residence Hall Association

Reporting from Julia Gagnon and Isabella Goodman

The RHA also held a small watch party in the Don Myers building which drew Taylor Griffin, a native Pennsylvanian in the state’s 11th District.

Griffin voted for representatives that refused PAC money and are “focusing on an American for all of us.” She said she will always vote in the midterms because they’re a “referendum on the President.”  

mcarrasco@theeagleonline.com and hsamsel@theeagleonline.com


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