Obama! Obama!” This is what many of the ?students chanted on the campus of Grambling State University as pandemonium came when they heard that Barack Obama was announced ?president-elect Tuesday night in a landslide victory over ?John McCain.Obama crushed McCain in the election, garnering 349 electoral votes to McCain’s 163. He is set to win by a larger margin than any other Democratic candidate since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.
In his speech at Grant Park in Chicago, Obama called on everyone’s help, both Democrat and Republican, in office in order to fix the crises that the U.S. is in. Some of the problems include the economy, healthcare, and the War in Iraq. Many people, including Oprah, Colin Powell, and Jessie Jackson, were in tears of joy as Obama gave his speech.
McCain, while in defeat, gave a memorial concession speech congratulating Obama and saying that he looks forward to working with him for the betterment of the country.
CNN analysts gave five reasons why Obama won the race over McCain. First, the timing of Obama running for the presidency given the current situation of the election helped him.
Caucuses were another reason because of Ted Kennedy’s, the largest family in the Democratic Party, backing of Obama.
Thirdly, money was a key issue in the election. Instead of just asking wealthy families and companies for funds, Obama raised money through asking middle-class families and small businesses, which kept the cash flow going as he got more popular.
A fourth reason is a broad attack on all issues in America, rather than just one or two. He portrayed himself as not just an African-American running for president, but a man that had solutions to the problems of the average American person that happened to be black.
Lastly, he was able to relate to the undecided voters, Independents, young, and old voters and convince them that he was the best possible choice for president.
Students had a feeling of self-worth in what was considered one of the most historic elections in American history.
“My first time voting was a success,” is what senior Kevin Kelly shouted as he heard the announcement. Freshman Meinka Harris said, “I feel so privileged to see this day. It’s such an honor.”
A person would have thought that Grambling State had won the BCS National Championship as students paraded the campus in what junior Chad Onianwah called “immense jubilation.” The site could be of that of the city of Philadelphia when the Phillies won the World Series. The police had no incidents as the students celebrated.
In Dixville Notch, N.H., the first city to cast votes in election, voted Democrat for the first time since 1968.
The day started with many analysts throughout the nation predicting one of the biggest voter turn-out in American history. Many of the lines in Ruston and Grambling were wrapped around buildings as people waited in line to vote.
Many people that worked the polls took off from their respective jobs in order to serve the community in this election.
Wanda Blake, a tutor at a local church calls it a sense of “self-worth” while Susan Bridgeway, a nurse, stated “I wish everyone could come out and vote every election like this.”
Minnie Neeles, who was the commissioner at the Reese Hall polls, said that she hasn’t seen lines like this since the election of Governor Edwin Edwards.
The people encountered at the polls, workers and voters alike, gave a joyous aurora about the excitement of voting and performing what many called it as a “civic duty.”
Many interesting stories were told at the Reese Hall polling site. The oldest person to vote at this site was born in 1913 brought in by her daughter Jane Boone stating, “You shouldn’t complain if you don’t vote.” A 91-year-old man was brought in by three people so that his vote could be cast.
Janice Sibley, 53, came from an assistance living home to vote and stated, “Only your part and trust in the Lord.”
B.A Sapp, 77, stated that, “The Lord is going to put the right man in the right place.”
Ann Marie Roberts, who was the first Caucasian to work at Head Start in Grambling, came to the polls and said that was a “privilege” to vote.
Lanessie Caldwell brought special needs Bobby Winebore, who was in his late 60s, to vote and he said, “We are all supposed to vote and it’s the right thing to do. It feels good.”
Grambling professor Dr. Nur, who is a first-time voter, said, “Voting gives me a chance in the electoral process and it’s the most important concept to exercise.”
Postal worker Tim Frachiseur, who said, “We must do something different.”
Many other voters like Al Traylor and Beatrice that said an Obama campaign quote, “We need a change.”
Some students, both GSU and Tech alike, were not ashamed to openly state who they are voting for.
GSU first-time voter Tracy Perry said, “I want an opinion on issues in the country, to be heard, and for change.”
Ashley Marshall from Tech stated, “I actually have a candidate that I believe in.”
Legendary Coach Michael Lyons came to the poll and stated that, “It’s [voting]. I’ve always done and always taught my students to vote in my 30 years of coaching.”
Also, at 9:30 a.m. 224 people had voted at Resse Hall.
Dr. Gary Kennedy, a professor and Head of the Agricultural Services Department at Tech, stated that “It is great for us to have the opportunity to make a contribution to our country’s political process in such an historic election, although it fails in comparison to the ones made by the people in our armed forces.”
At the Grambling Catholic Center, students, professors, and administrators waited in line patiently to cast their votes.
“What they did when Katrina hit and it could happen again. I feel like I need to fix that,” said junior New Orleans native Ernest Jones.
Some students like junior Jeremy Mims from Baton Rouge, said, “We need fresh, new faces in Washington.”
The SGA Voter Empowerment Team provided vans for students to get to the polls.
Many of the students and people at both sites felt the historical impact of the election. Many of the people brought back memories of the Civil Rights Movement and how things have progressed to this point.
Tech student Emanuel Wilkerson stated, “My grandparents didn’t think they would be around to see the day.” Julius Eiland Jr. of Grambling said, “This is history, now we have an intelligent African-American that’s well-respected overseas. This is what we fought for.”
GSU students packed into the voter-watch party hosted by the SGA’s Voter Empowerment Team. The students watched closely as they reacted to number changes that were given on ABC.
Team President Lamark Hughes wanted to “give students something to do after they voted.” He said that they had plenty of events to get students to vote and this was the conclusion.
SGA President Chris Harmon felt inspired by the turnout at the party by saying, “I’m very pleased with the turnout without much publication on campus.”
This statement was echoed by Assistant Hospitality Director senior John Irvin saying “great turnout for young people to be politically active.”
Coach David “Rusty” Ponton was “proud of SGA, Voter Empowerment, and student body of interest taken,” and was even serving students while watching the party himself.
Many of the students took pride in watching the events unfold as junior Livingston Cooper of Baltimore, who said, “It’s great that we are witnessing history in the making.”
Senior June Wilson of Monroe said “This election deals with my future and family. People will look back on this day.”
Lyrical Quest gave many students an artistic side to the election, through poems that were written by the students.
Many celebrities gave their own testimonials about how this moment the progress that America has shown and viewed by Dr. Martin Luther King is becoming reality.
As the night went on, ABC analysts stated that Republicans lack many of the minorities and young audience to win the election.
Students were in major shock when Obama won the state of Iowa where ABC reveled that 91 percent of its voters were Caucasian.
In fact, 61 percent of the Caucasian population in the U.S. voted for Obama, which shows that race was not a factor in the election. According to CNN, 69 percent of new voters in this election voted for Obama.
The announcement of Obama’s victory could be heard all over the world.
Not only did the Democrats win the presidential race, but they also gained control of the Senate and House of Representatives.
At the end of the night, many people in the United States felt like senior Political Science major Geralyn Stephens when she said, “This was one of the biggest elections to occur and my vote felt like I was making history.