Additional reporting done by Heather Willard, Marilyn Icsman and Amanda Ehrmantraut.
Ohio University College Republicans pounded the tables of Copeland 104. They screamed, they chanted Donald Trump’s name and they reveled in the monumental upset that was their chosen presidential candidate’s Election Day victory.
“I’m ecstatic. This entire election cycle, we’ve been told we can’t win,” Vice President Ryan Evans, a junior political science major, said. “We’ve been told that we are a multitude of phobias and we that we are a minority culture conducive to racism and hate. But this election showed the truth. This nation showed that it’s time for change.”
We have been a minority around OU and now everone who hated us has to face the reality WE WON!!!!! WE DID IT
— College Republicans (@OUCRs) November 9, 2016
As the sun rose over Athens County on Nov. 8, polling predictions indicated a clear path to electoral dominance for Hillary Clinton. By the time she lost battleground states of Florida and North Carolina, and slid below Trump’s numbers in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, it was clear that something had gone terribly awry for the Democratic Party.
“I was tremendously surprised, I could not believe it. And this was partly my ignorance, because I was looking at the polls,” Jacob Hoback, president of anti-abortion student organization Bobcats for Life, said. “They had her winning at double-digit margins. But I guess it just goes to show that the polls were wrong.”
Judith Grant, chair of the political science department, named Nazi sympathizers and Civil War instigators as historical precedents for the populist rise of Trump supporters.
“What is I think different about Trump is people didn’t really take him seriously, he sort of came out of nowhere, he had almost no on-the-ground support,” Grant said. “Hillary Clinton outspent him, people said she was the most highly qualified candidate we’ve maybe ever had. Up until last night Nate Silver’s website was predicting a 78 percent of Hillary winning. So not only were the polls wrong, they were wildly wrong.”
Junior war and peace major Pete Bronner blames the culture of political correctness, among other so-called Obama administration trademarks, as major contributors to Trump’s success.
“I think it’s partially due to the fact that a lot of people did vote for Obama because they wanted to empower minorities, and as empowering as that statement is by electing the first black president, you also have to then actually address these problems,” Bronner said. “You can’t just throw money at your problems, you have to get down there and build the jobs, build the economy, improve the education, all these things, or else you might not even have done it in the first place.”
Labeling himself as a center-right conservative, Bronner said gradual support from moderate Republicans swayed the tide that pushed the political outsider into presumed office. Personally, he was questionable about Trump until after the Republican primaries.
“Honestly, having the success in business — obviously he had a couple failures and I mean that happens, but when it came down to it he was not a politician and I think that is what really resonated with a lot of people,” Bronner said. “People have been expecting a change and we’re not going to get that from people who have been in office that long.
Buzzfeed News compiled a reigning list of theories for why polling data ended up being so far from the actual results Tuesday night, which included a late surge of “undecided” Republican voters, the rise of disaffected white voters in rural areas and the tendency for Trump voters to lie about their preferences.
The rapid decline in the stock market may have failed to phase conservative voting blocs, and outspoken Trump supporter and professor emeritus of economics Richard Vedder contests that uncertainty was the real culprit.
“It’s called the futures market,” Vedder said. “Stocks were falling for no fundamental reason, no people died, nothing had really changed other than the person running the government would be different from the predicted person.”
Vedder’s confidence in both the economy post-Trump and the fate of the election cycle was so great that he made sure to buy stocks before going to bed Tuesday night.
“What happened is Trump gave a very reasonable, traditional sort of statement,” Vedder said. “Although Hillary did not give a statement last night, she did today, she called to concede which is a very sort of traditional transition. Obama’s issued a statement of getting behind the new president. This is reassuring. And all the talk of Trump not accepting the position sort of disappeared.”