Political clubs host election watch party


Photo by Morgan Bonner

History teachers Hunter Davis and Lance Kyles talk with editor in chief Raga Justin for the THS Student Media live Facebook feed.

Story by Alex O'Gorman, editor in chief

Televisions switch on all over the nation as the culmination of the campaigning, debating and rallying nears. Viewers watch the news with anxiety, biting their nails at the prospect of what the next four years might hold for America. In two rooms of the history department, groups of students talk among themselves as the news plays in the background.

The Young Democrats and Teenage Republicans hosted an election watch party tonight. The event was attended by mainly members of the two clubs, but non-members were invited and encouraged to attend.

The festivities kicked off at 7 p.m. with supporters of the Democratic Party in one room and the supporters of the Republican Party in the other. The clubs have gathered several times in the past few months for viewing parties.

“After we had the debate watching parties for the presidential debates, we had such a good response and a turnout for those,” Teenage Republicans sponsor Lance Kyles said. “[John Littmann] thought we should do it for the election also, so Mr. Davis and I used our Remind app to tell kids about this election watching party. We thought we’d separate [the groups] so no one would be too confrontational about winning or losing.”

The debate and election watch parties gave students an opportunity to discuss their opinions in a calm political environment.

“In most cases, people aren’t very civil when it comes to politics. We’re at a point now when people just insult each other and can’t even have a decent conversation,” Teenage Republicans member Chase Watkins said. “But during all the debates, and during this [watch party], I can sit there and talk to people and just watch it, and we can all be friends even though we might have different ideological beliefs.”

The clubs offer different opportunities to students seeking different levels of involvement in politics.

“For some people, [political clubs] could be, ‘I don’t really know about a political system, but I want to get to know it better, I’ll go to a few meetings for both, and then I’ll decide to myself which one I like better,’” Watkins said. “For some kids it could be, ‘I already know what I am, I’ve already decided Democrat or Republican, and I want to be in this club because I might want to pursue that when I get to college, and then as a career.’”

The club sponsors hope to get students involved not only in this election, but in future elections and political events.

“The whole point of creating the clubs and promoting participation this election season was to encourage students to become involved in politics, to take interest in what it is, research the issues and be able to actually participate after they get out of school as well,” Young Democrats sponsor Hunter Davis said. “We’re going to have to do this again in four years, and the majority of people sitting in that room right there will be voting in the next election, so it’s important for them to see kind of what the process is like.”