Opinion

Real-time election day emotions from a college student

6:36 PM. Some of the first polls on the east coast have closed. The anticipation of the Blue Wave is high tonight. Days, weeks, and months have been dedicated to getting out the vote, and it all comes down to this chilly November Tuesday. Whether it be Joe Biden rallying on campus or Beto O’Rourke travelling to every Texas county, voters have been mobilizing across the nation. Now, it’s the moment of truth. Feeling: The hype is real.

7:41 PM. Polls continue to close and precincts begin to report their results. Notable Senators such as Elizabeth Warren, Tim Kaine, and Bernie Sanders have been re-elected. Republicans hold 40 seats in the house, and Democrats gain two seats for 36. 218 total seats are needed for control of the House of Representatives. Gubernatorial races seem tight, and there are not yet reports on the toss-up races, primarily Georgia and Texas. Numerous races, be it the Senate, House, or State Governor, are cutting it close. It’s too early to have any conclusive thoughts. Feeling: It’s a toss-up.

8:00 PM. Polls have closed in Wisconsin. The votes are in. Wisconsin voters wear their ‘I Voted’ stickers with pride around campus. What will happen, now? Will it be Tammy Baldwin or Leah Vukmir? Is it going to be Scott Walker or Tony Evers? Only time will tell. Feeling: Quite proud.

8:43 PM. As the west coast continues to cast their ballots, the rest of the country is slowly trickling in. In the Senate, Democrats currently hold 35 seats and have lost one seat to the Republicans, who hold 45. The House is divided 78 (D) - 83 (R); the anticipated Blue Wave seems to be lagging. Tony Evers leads the Wisconsin race, with 32% of precincts reporting. A fresh horizon for Wisconsin is possible at this moment. Scott Walker has been governor for two terms, but it may be time for new interests to be put at the top of the agenda. Feeling: Tony, “you’re doing amazing sweetie.”

9:04 PM. Tammy Baldwin has been declared the winner of Wisconsin Senate race. Her role as Senator will continue for the next six years. After being supported by numerous organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign, and notable political figures such as Joe Biden and Barack Obama, Tammy’s win is not really a shock, yet it is still very assuring. Her platforms on immigration and healthcare and education are bound to make steps toward change. Feeling: Hopeful.

9:26 PM. Beto O’Rourke is projected to lose the Texas Senate race to Ted Cruz by a near 3%. Stacey Abrams seems to be at a slight loss in the Georgia gubernatorial, although the night is still too young to call it. Some of the most watched races have fell short to expectations and hopes. The Blue Wave, though hyped up on social media, appears to be losing its traction. It is most important, however, to acknowledge that these close races shows the significance of valiant opposition campaigns run in historically deep red states. Stacey Abrams will continue to fight for the people of Georgia, while Beto O’Rourke will surely be a well-known face for the Democratic Party in the upcoming years. Feeling: #Beto2020.

9:46. Republicans have gained control of the Senate. Though this was predicted beforehand, it’s difficult to accept. The mobilization of voters and high media attention to this election made it seem possible for positive change, yet the Trump administration will still be backed by this majority. A turn of the House, though, is all that is needed for the Blue Wave to succeed. Feeling: Somewhere in the middle.

10:32. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest elected woman to Congress. At the age of 29, she represents the 14th District of New York. With an overwhelming 79% of the vote, she is a true representative of the young people population, not only in New York, but across the country. Feeling: Who run the word? Girls.

11:00. All polls have been closed. All ballots have been cast. The final tallies of the west coast, primarily California, and the remaining votes spread across the country will determine who will control the House. Democrats have gained 20 seats as of now, and everyone is still very hopeful for a Blue Wave success. The Wisconsin gubernatorial, though, is nearly tied up, with Tony Evers leading by only 0.5% - approximately 11,000 votes. With 80% of the votes in, this race is a real nail-biter. Eyes are glued to screens as the final votes trickle in. Feeling: nervousnervousnervous.

11:28. The gubernatorial race switches quite literally every minute. Scott Walker. Tony Evers. Scott Walker. Tony Evers. Scott Walker. Tony Evers. With 90% of the vote in, Tony Evers at this minute is up by a mere 300 votes. Oh wait, now Scott Walker leads by a mere 500. Feeling: Quite the anxiety.

12:09. The clerk of Milwaukee County states that nearly 50,000 absentee ballots have been uncounted in the Wisconsin gubernatorial race. This could change everything. With 95% of precincts reporting, Tony Evers and Scott Walker are tied. 49 - 49. As the night ticks down, the final 5% will be the deciding numbers. And in this moment, it is more evident than ever: every vote counts. The final results will be known in the morning. Until then - Feeling: All of the emotions. Also tired, very tired.

The Next Day. 8:34 AM. Tony Evers has won the Wisconsin Governor race by a margin of 1.2%. Despite the constant tug of war, Tony Evers makes it out on top. This race exemplifies our highly divided state, yet a new era is upon us. What will happen in next four years? I guess that’s another waiting game. Feeling: it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new night.

8:42 AM. As for the rest of country, the Democrats have gained control of the House, with 219 seats. However, many votes are still being counted and races are still too close to call. Stacey Abrams persists to fight for Governor of Georgia, into the next day. The Arizona Senate race will take another week to call. Though there is still uncertainty in many areas, the Blue Wave has accomplished one of its many visions. The Trump Administration is actively being fought against through every Democratic ballot. Feeling: “Wow. That was crazy.”

Final Thoughts: The strides made by the 2018 Midterm elections are ones to be proud of. Two of the youngest women to be elected to Congress were elected.. The first openly gay governor was elected. The first Muslim women were elected. A record breaking number of women hold seats in the House. And the Blue Wave has struck shore. Though Republicans hold the Senate, it is evident that public opinion is changing. Republicans and the Trump Administration are paying the price for their xenophobic policies over the past two years. As for voter turnout, Dane County had over 92% of all registered voters come out. College students and older adults alike have showed the importance of midterm elections. If this election teaches us anything, it is that every vote matters. The ever-so close races around the country, especially the gubernatorial race at home, display the crucial importance of voting. Let us hope this same energy is followed through during the 2020 presidential election. Until then - Feeling: optimistic for the future.

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