American election viewing goes International

By Amos Gewirtz

A partially international, predominantly Democrat-filled crowd packed I-House on Tuesday night for an election viewing party, complete with jabs at American politics.

Viewers began watching the returns as soon as the first East Coast polls closed at 6 p.m., although the party did not officially start until 8 p.m.

As its name suggests, the I-House viewing party consisted of about half international students and half American students, emphasizing the gap in U.S. political knowledge between the two groups.

“How many international students here are confused about the distinction between the popular vote and the electoral vote?” an American graduate student asked from atop a desk after after noticing several bewildered Spanish students. Silence ensued.

“Who here would be able to explain the electoral college to me?” he continued. “Is the University of Chicago an electoral college or just a regular college?”

Although there was some confusion among students regarding the electoral college, causing a few laughs and sighs, the viewing prompted several mini-info sessions on the workings and historical significance of the system, of which many graduate students had vast knowledge.

“I don’t understand why people are worried about Obama’s reelection chances. Does no one understand regression?” a German graduate student asked.

After CNN called Pennsylvania for Obama, several students left the viewing party, heading downtown to McCormick Place to celebrate an expected victory alongside other supporters.

Still, several shades of blue existed within the consensus support of Obama. In light of the current European Union debt crisis, several Eurozone students’ attitudes were notably influenced by their own countries’ fiscal situations.

“The economic situation here is nothing to complain about,” a French student said. “People do not realize how much worse it could be.”