“The true political enthusiast could be found huddled around these monitors, watching for each and every development in the swing states. The walls were covered with maps of the US and county maps of the swing states, ensuring that every fresh piece of information could be recorded and analysed as thoroughly as possible.”
Last night saw The Hist conversation room transformed into a would-be campaign headquarters as hardcore political junkies gathered for The Hist and PolSoc’s election lock-in. Starting around three hours before the first polls closed on the East Coast, it was clear from the offset that this was not an event for the faint-hearted. This was a test of endurance, with the diehard devotees clocking in around twelve hours up until Clinton’s concession this morning.
The notably early start of 8pm did lead to a somewhat tedious few initial hours. The time was passed by watching SNL’s repertoire of election skits, and a helpful guide of what to look out for during the count from some of the Hist’s biggest political heads. Following the inevitable Fox versus CNN debate, things began to heat up with the release of the first exit polls.
The arrival of free pizza at midnight heralded the closure of most polls on the East Coast, when this event truly came into its own. The CNN stream on the projector was supplemented by a Twitter feed on another screen with constant updates pouring through. On the other side of the room, computers displayed constantly updating electoral maps. The true political enthusiast could be found huddled around these monitors, watching for each and every development in the swing states. The walls were covered with maps of the US and county maps of the swing states, ensuring that every fresh piece of information could be recorded and analysed as thoroughly as possible.
This constant stream of information made for an abundance of constantly changing predictions from onlookers, mostly in the form of re-evaluations of Clinton’s path to victory. The evening began with talk of an early night under the impression that she would handily take Florida; as things slipped further and further out of her grasp, some wondered if we would have to wait for even Alaska to be called before we could call it a day.
Overall this was not a bad way to experience a presidential election. It was an intense event, and likely tedious for anyone not so obsessively interested in politics that they felt the need to follow every development in real-time. For the political enthusiast among us though, this was the ideal way to watch history being made: pizza, cans, and endless amounts of data analysis.