Election event at the Highland Pub begins with fun, ends with disbelief

An election that was the talk of the world for over a year reached its finale on Tuesday, with SFU students clamouring about the Highland Pub. Tables were filled hours before the election results were even announced. Decorated with bright blue and red streamers and stars dangling from the ceiling, the Highland provided a space for somewhat wary students to come and witness the unpredictable fate of our neighbours downstairs.

SFU’s international US citizen population currently sits at 0.85 percent of the overall student population and this statistic does not count for domestic US students. While this is relatively less than our other Canadian university counterparts, it didn’t stop the keen curiosity and watchful eyes of the Vancouver-residing students who were at the pub.

During the Canadian election, students will remember that there was no specific event created for the big night at the Highland. The electoral results were announced to a (comparatively speaking) much quieter audience, around this time last year.

This year, for the American election, the Highland was nearly at capacity.

“There isn’t as much hype for Canadian elections as there is for American elections,” said SFU student Evangeline Kesteven, a third-year anthropology student. “I’m pretty pumped for it [. . .] I think and hope that Hillary’s going to win because she’s the obvious choice. I’m tired of the argument that it’s two bad candidates. There was definitely foul play on both ends, but it shouldn’t even be a question that Hillary is more qualified than Donald Trump is.”

Another student, Jozsef Varga, in his first year in political science, had similar thoughts. “I just think that elections in the States are far more sensationalized compared to others. But I guess that the media attention it gets is understandable, because [America] is the superpower of the world.

“Whatever happens tonight is going to affect everyone in some way. But I have faith that Americans will choose Hillary. She’s the candidate with the most experience out of the two.”

There was a positive rapport near the beginning and middle — cheers overtook the crowd whenever Clinton took a state, with a smaller number of quieter whoops here and there for Trump’s states. But as the evening (and the election) began to come to an end, a sombre and tense mood took over the atmosphere.

Numbers in the pub began to dwindle as a Donald Trump presidency came closer to reality, regardless of the predictions that Hillary Clinton was sure to take the White House. The few cheers for Trump’s state wins we almost immediately shushed and silenced by Democrat supporters. Once the night came to a premature end, many once-bustling tables were now suddenly empty.

Elliot Whitehead, a fourth-year communications student, voiced his thoughts on the result of the election. “I’m disappointed. It’s upsetting to see just how much of the American population can disregard the safety of minority groups, and there was so much obvious ignorance when it came to the stakes of voting for a certain party.

“I’m not scared about Trump so much as the people who were his diehard supporters until the end, and I really hope this doesn’t convey the message to bigots that they have a correct point of view.”

Regardless of whom readers support, one thing is clear: Trump will be the 45th president of the United States, and the only one in the history of America with no military or political background. Suffice to say, after eight years of Democratic governance under President Barack Obama, immense changes are approaching both America and the world.

There is no predicting what, exactly, will happen next. In Hillary Clinton’s concession speech, devoid of frustration or anger, she said this: “We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought. But I still believe in America — and I always will. And if you do, too, then we must accept this result — and then look to the future.”

SFU students and professors expressed their thoughts on Twitter: