By Scott Strasser, November 9 2016 —
Hundreds of University of Calgary students gathered at the Den on Nov. 8 to watch the 2016 United States presidential election results.
Hosted by the Gauntlet, the election results viewing party featured blue and red beer and coverage from major American television networks. More than 650 people attended the event in total, filling the Den to capacity.
Party attendees who dressed as the presidential candidates received a free sample of the Den’s new “Den Lager.”
The atmosphere shifted throughout the night, as Republican Party candidate Donald Trump and Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton swapped leads in key states. Trump eventually won the neck-and-neck race late into the night and was elected as the 45th president of the U.S. in a surprise upset.
The majority of the crowd at the Den was pro-Clinton — loud cheers rang out across the bar whenever she won a state or gained a lead in electoral votes.
But there were also attendees rooting for Trump. Some people showed their support to the Republican candidate by donning “Make America Great Again” hats, featuring Trump’s campaign slogan.
U of C chemical engineering graduate Kyle Leinweber attended the event and supported Trump.
“Initially, if I were to pick anyone I supported, it would have been [John] Kasich or Ron Paul. But seeing as they were long gone, this election started to get really interesting with an outsider making his way up the ranks,” Leinweber said.
Although most U of C students could not vote in the presidential election,interest in this year’s U.S presidential race was high among the campus community.
On Oct. 14, a fight broke out between two men in MacHall — one of them a U of C student — after comments were made about a “Make America Great Again” hat.
On the morning of the election, several U of C students painted a message supporting Trump on the rock in front of the Prairie Chicken. After Trump won, someone painted “kill fascists” over the message.
Philip Chen, a postdoctoral fellow in the U of C’s political science department who specializes in American media and politics, said Canadian interest in the election was likely due to the “novelty” factor of the two main candidates.
“Human psychology craves novelty and both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are certainly novel candidates,” Chen said prior to the election. “We have both the first female major party nominee as well as a nominee who has broken many of the traditional rules of political campaigning.”
Chen noted that a Trump presidency shouldn’t directly impact U of C students, but would still have economic, social and political repercussions worldwide.
The election results party was a collaboration between the Gauntlet and the Den and Black Lounge.