There was no Supreme Court decision. There was no middle of the night winner. It was not the 2000 Presidential Election. At approximately 10:17 p.m. College Republicans who attended Tommy Thompson and Republicans’ victory party in Waukesha ended their night in disappointment when President Barack Obama was named victorious in the 2012 Presidential election.
Many expected the night to end late, maybe even beyond Tuesday or Wednesday. Coming into the night, Republicans and Democrats alike knew that the big prize was Ohio. It was expected to be so close that it could take up to 10 days until America knew who their President would be due to the state’s recounting laws.
John Paul Muessle, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences and a member of the College Republicans, explained the general attitude of the Republicans who attended the victory party.
“Very disappointed,” Muessle said. “Four years wasn’t enough to show that Obama’s plan wasn’t working. Reagan did it in less than four years and he inherited a worse crisis. As college students we should all be afraid of getting jobs out of college.”
After the first debate and the “comeback” from Romney at the beginning of this fall, some polls had him ahead or closing in on Obama in numerous swing states, which gave him a chance at the election.
Joshua Drevs, a junior in the College of Business Administration and chairman of Young Americans for Freedom, was one of many to blame Romney’s loss on the perception that many voters associated the Republican party with the Tea Party.
“I thought Romney had a good chance of winning tonight,” Drevs said. “My honest reaction is that I don’t know if this was a referendum on Obama as much as it was on the Tea Party. I think the Tea Party outreached to this radical, conservative base, and people didn’t like that. The extreme right stances he had to take did not attract middle-line voters. It should have been all about the economy, but the far right made it more about the social issues in the primaries.”
Alec Grych, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration, explained the surprise he felt as the results were coming in, especially in Wisconsin.
“Coming into the election I thought more states would go Romney,” Grych said. “My initial expectations were higher. Honestly, I was surprised Wisconsin went Obama because the polls I read this morning had a 49-49 split, and I thought Ryan on the ticket would bring Romney over.”
While Romney had a continuing decline in the Electoral College projections, he held a lead in the popular vote for almost the entire night. The presidential loss was not the only blow of the night for the College Republicans, who also had to deal with the defeat of former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson in the vacant Senate seat to Tammy Baldwin.
Despite a rough night for the College Republicans, many also said there is a lot to look forward to in 2016. Throughout the election, there have been Republican stars that have emerged out of the campaign who will not be facing an incumbent president. These include Wisconsinites such as Romney’s running mate and congressman who held his seat last night, Paul Ryan, and Gov. Scott Walker. Others who have been indicated as possible candidates in 2016 are New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.