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10th November 2016

An eyewitness account from the union bar

On this eventful night, Chloe Hatton gauges reactions at the Students’ Union

Trump’s victory was a surprise to many, even his own supporters who were draped in American flags and Trump hats, grouped together in the Students’ Union. Before polling closed the atmosphere was electric — people laughing and chatting and playing drinking games, gearing themselves up for the long night.

It soon became clear that the vast majority of students attending were pro Hillary, or at least ‘not Trump’. During this memorable night, the effects of the most divisive election in recent history could certainly be seen.

As the votes started to roll in, many dismissed the early lead Trump was taking, given that his first victories were traditionally Republican states. There were huge cheers whenever the projections showed a Democrat state, and equally huge cheers from the comparatively small in number, but very loud, Trump supporters at a Republican one.

What they lacked in numbers they certainly made up for in enthusiasm, a trait which has been shown time and time again throughout this election. It soon became clear, however, that their presence was causing some friction, with small arguments taking place, directed at those wearing the very recognisable red caps.

They were met with withering looks and a curt “sit down, you’re embarrassing yourselves”. It was certainly difficult to try and talk to them, but eventually an explanation from what seemed to be the epicentre of this group, a cap-wearing student draped in the American flag, was given. According to him, “the fact is Hillary’s corporation is corrupt — Trump wants to lower taxes for hard-working americans and he is better for Britain as he would put us first in a trade deal, whereas Hillary used to be under investigation from the FBI”, which was promptly met with the rather eloquent retort of “[expletive]”. It certainly seemed as though tensions were running high.

However, it seemed that some individuals were using Trump not just as an ideal President but as a reason to get under people’s skin — something he himself is obviously very adept at doing, with some claiming “I’m just here to troll people”. It certainly seemed as though nobody was actually expecting him to become America’s 45th President.

As the night progressed however, it became clear that Trump wasn’t just winning safe Republican states, and this was the point when everybody started to either fear or hope that he might just edge ahead. The excitement evaporated fast whilst the tension increased. There was less cheering and less laughter, everybody just waiting for the next prediction to be made.

Hillary was not managing to keep all of her hope for Democratic states, instead surrendering them to Trump. The final blow, however, came as Florida was announced at 4:30 AM. The news was met with looks of both shock and glee, but all with the same question — how did this happen?

All predictions had shown that if Florida had gone to Hillary, then Trump’s chances of Presidency would have been very slim. However, his 49.1 per cent of the vote to Clinton’s 47.8 per cent ensured his path was free, and it was at this point that it became clear that he was the probable winner.

The majority of students watching being anti-Trump, this obviously caused some problems.

As his supporters became more rowdy, tempers flared and things really got heated, with a fight breaking out between groups of supporters.

This was swiftly broken up and, as a result, the footage was cut off in what may seem to some to be a rather anticlimactic end to what was certainly a roller coaster of a night.

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