Election Night

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In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past week… no, scratch that… the past year, you may have been hearing a little about the election. The United States of America has a brand new the same President. Nice guy, funny guy, married to Michelle Obama.

Yes, despite the hopes and dreams of the most “Fair and Balanced” news network there is, President Barack Obama has four more years.

I spent Election Night (more dramatic when capitalised) producing four hours of radio coverage for my uni with my best friend, Hannah. Now, my university is in the UK, so not everyone was in the know when it came to electoral math, the candidates’ policies or, indeed, anything to do with American politics. Hannah and I quickly realised that we may well be the most informed pair on our team (little worrying). Thus, our job for the night was to make our on-air presenters sound like the most informed pair. And we did it well. A particular highlight was when we prepared an interview for Dr. Libby Lewis on women in politics, allowing us both to ask questions we truly wanted the answers to.

Libby Lewis is an academic whose research focuses on the mainstream media’s representation of women in power. We asked her about the focus on women’s issues in this election, public interest in the appearance and fashion sense of female politicians, the varying approaches to the role of First Lady, and how the media presents female politicians, with particular reference to Hillary Clinton as a potential presidential candidate for 2016. Her responses were engaging, interesting and, a lot of the time, inspiring. Just another person for us to fangirl, quite honestly.

As the night went on, the results became our focus as states started being called.  My memories from the early hours mostly involve pacing corridors muttering, “Ohio or Florida, Ohio or Florida, Ohio or Florida… they gotta get called soon…” We may well have gone all the way ‘round the bend and back again! The survival of our sanity must be credited to the one and only Nate Silver. He’s been getting a lot of credit but truly, in the words of Jon Stewart: “LORD AND GOD OF THE ALGORITHM!” We were just repeatedly going between our FiveThirtyEight tab to the HuffPo electoral map.

When it came to it, neither Ohio nor Florida mattered much. In the case of Florida, that’s a huge relief because we may still be awake and waiting for a concession speech now. Obama’s win was a strong one. The result came in at 4.20am our time, ten minutes before our radio show was due back on air (we did two two-hour shows).

Now it’s four days later. The campaigns are over, the Romney Facebook page has begun its rapid descent and Ohioans can finally leave their houses again. So what’s next?

To take a look at the next four years beyond the job of President, I turn my attention to the other landmarks of the 2012 Election: the first openly gay senator was elected, the first disabled female veteran was elected to congress, Massachusetts elected its first female senator, the first Hindu woman was elected to the Senate, the first states have legalised recreational marijuana, Akin and Mourdock both lost their senate races, Maine, Maryland and Washington all voted in favour of gay marriage with Minnesota rejecting a measure to ban it, and New Hampshire will have an all-female congressional delegation. Long list? I should hope so too. And there are more.

Keep moving FORWARD.

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