Hofstra community gathers to watch midterms unfold
Amidst the tension surrounding the Democratic Party’s pursuit to take back the House and the Senate, Hofstra students gathered in the multipurpose rooms in the Sondra and David S. Mack Student Center to witness democracy in action. The Hofstra Votes campaign held a watch party on Tuesday, Nov. 6, organized by the Office of University Relations, Division of Student Affairs and the Student Government Association (SGA).
The watch party featured live broadcasts by CNN, Fox News and Hofstra Votes Live. “The whole purpose behind the Hofstra Election Watch Party was so that students could all come together, regardless of their political affiliation and be civically engaged and watch what’s happening across the nation in terms of the results, issues that are really relevant to people,” said Deandra Denton junior, sociology and public policy and public service major, and vice president of Student Government Association.
Freshman political science major David O’Brien used the watch party as an outlet to stay involved and informed. O’Brien is from West Haven, Connecticut, where his father was the former mayor. “I submitted an absentee ballot for this election ... I was very excited to hear about all the speakers coming,” he said. “This is the first election cycle that I’m not home to be a part of, and I thought in some way I would be able to help out.”
For many students in attendance, engagement at the watch party resulted from the direct impact the 2016 presidential election left on their respective states.
“I actually voted in the 2016 election, I came out to see the turnout for Florida because when it turned red during the [presidential] election it was very disappointing because, ‘How could a sexual predator be in office?’” said Jasmine Dang, a freshman undeclared major. “I definitely want to see how they’ll vote this time after the whole Parkland shooting that happened in Florida and with the whole Brett Kavanaugh case. I have high hopes for Texas and Georgia and I hope Florida will make me proud this time.”
For both Dang and John Mesko, a freshman undeclared major, coming from a swing state added an increased level of uncertainty. “Pennsylvania politics are interesting. You have a big swing state who’s voted Democrat in 2008 and Republican in 2016. It’s always messy because you really never know who’s going to win and no matter who wins, no one ever seems satisfied.”
According to some experts, the changes that the country has endured since 2016 have also impacted voting trends. Public Relations Professor Jeff Morosoff observed this shift. “When you look at the trends ... young people are identifying far more as left-leaning and far more as Democrats, or they’re identifying as independents,” Morosoff said. “The Republican Party has a lot to worry about if the youth continues to be active.”
Earlier on in the night, political science professor Richard Himelfarb gave his own predictions for the election. “It appears that the Republicans are going to hold the Senate and are going to lose more than 35 seats in the house.” Himelfarb said he believed Republicans could lose 30, 25 or 20 seats. “It’s not really clear at this point. The hopes the Democrats had for the evening to win 40 seats in the house and take majority control of the Senate and that, at this time, is not materialized,” Himelfarb said.
The watch party concluded shortly after midnight, but politically active students say that they will carry the results with them long after the election. “People are getting more involved,” said Leslie Roldan, senior economics, business and marketing major. “It’s creating a new generation of voters, but I think we still have to work on it.”