With many Americans feeling as if a two-year old promise of change has been unfulfilled, voters took matters into their own hands on Tuesday.
“In 2008, people voted for the superstar persona Obama. They had unrealistic expectations,” said Brittany Fowler, a junior and a registered Republican.
Election Day gave voice to a dissatisfied and frustrated public, who in turn gave the Republican Party a series of decisive victories that allowed them to gain control of the House of Representatives. The Democratic Party managed to retain control of the Senate.
“It’s reactionary,” said senior Jon Peltz. “Nothing is going to change.”
In Florida, Rick Scott (R) won a razor-close gubernatorial race against Alex Sink (D), who conceded the race on Wednesday. Tea Party-backed Marco Rubio (R) won the Senate seat in three way race against Kendrick Meek (D) and former governor Charlie Crist (I).
The Senate race had some voters compromising on their choices.
“I would be happy with either Meek or Crist,” said senior Lauren Gentile, who is a registered Democrat. “It’s the lesser of the two evils.”
This sentiment was echoed by several voters.
“I voted mostly Democrat, but they disagree with me less,” said freshman Chris Cook. “Both parties just aren’t that good. They both have their flaws.”
Others voted tactically.
“I want Meek’s policies but I don’t think he is going to win,” said junior Eric Weiss, who voted for Crist. “If we can draw enough votes away from Rubio, then maybe.”
Some, however, prefer the three-way race to the typical two candidate race.
“It stops polarization,” said senior Ian Hest. “It’s something the country could use.”
The race became even more bitter after the slew of the negative campaign ads that flooded primetime television in the weeks before Election Day. Nevertheless, some feel that despite their prevalence, these ads didn’t really have much influence on student voters.
“Those ads are for an older demographic. College kids don’t care if someone was called a witch,” said freshman Jordan Lewis, who has volunteered with several campaigns.
Others feel the media blitz backfired.
“It speaks more of the candidate putting it out,” said Sam Grogg, dean of the School of Communication.
With most of the ugliness over, Election Day has put a new Congress in place that will have to reckon with the rocky economy, the unpopular healthcare plan and the influence of the growing Tea Party movement.
“I think they are going to follow the rhetoric of the Republicans,” Peltz said.
Only time will tell if voters will get the change they so loudly demanded.
Alysha Khan may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.