Written by Pablo Portilla del Valle
Photos by Anne Griess and Pablo Portilla del Valle

As the electoral curtains are raised, SCAD students gathered to watch the race unfold Nov. 8 as the SCAD AD club hosted an “electoral viewing party” amid feelings of anticipation and dread.

Bryson Schmidt, a third-year advertising major claims he’s not favoring any of the candidates.

“I’m so tired of American politics. I’m kind of out of it,” said Schmidt.

David Harris, a fourth-year graphic design major echoed his opinion.

“I think I can learn something from hearing the discussion,” said Harris, when asked why he attended the event.

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Opinions ran rampant across the board. Most students seemed stuck straight down the middle, voting for a “lesser evil” instead for the candidate they truly wanted.

“I’m not from here, but I don’t see either candidate as being safe. But if I had to go with one I guess it’d be Hillary because she stands for togetherness,” said Faten Almukhtar, a third-year advertising student.

Some students openly spoke against Trump. In Manuel Garcia’s words, a second-year advertising major, “why should I be with [Trump], if he’s not with me?”

“Having someone lead a country with no experience and a bully and is all about bigotry and racism…” added Almukhtar.

Some students also threw their lot with third parties. According to Harris, it’s unfair to say voting for a third candidate equates “throwing away a vote.” Because if everyone were honest to the core of democracy –voting for who you want to be president— there wouldn’t be only two candidates to choose from.

“I don’t think most people are politically educated enough to vote, myself included,” said Harris, “but we’re working with what we’ve got.”

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In a room full of advertising majors, it seemed natural to ask which candidate had the most successful brand. A lot of the students seem to agree on Trump.

“He knew exactly what he was going for,” said Schmidt.

Schmidt went on to explain how in running for the presidency all the candidates seem to be in the middle of things, but Trump was very quick to take a stance, often radical. And how from an advertising standpoint, it’s the ultimate goal: to grab your attention in a second.

“Trump is captivating,” said Schmidt, “if I see a video [of him] on Facebook, I watch it.”

Fama Ndiaye, a third-year advertising major seemed to agree. “He knows what he’s doing. He does it on purpose to make a fool of himself and the more he does it the more it gets quoted on social [media] and the more he’s talked about.”

“Bernie did a good job too,” added Harris, “he knew his target and he didn’t sway for it at all.”

Harris also admitted that although he vouches for Johnson, his advertising was “terrible.”

Although some students, like Almukhtar and Garcia, preferred Hillary’s campaign when it came to advertising.

“The ads she put out were like very emotional,” said Almukhtar, “unlike kids watching Donald Trump saying really nasty things about people. And it’s like ‘Is this what you want your children to look up to?’”

“Her campaign was just more cohesive,” said Garcia, “from the start you could tell Hillary had a pretty good plan.”

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When asked what the future may bring, the students had a somewhat bright outlook on things.

Schmidt admitted part of him is anxious to see what would happen if Trump wins. Giving America “what they wanted.”

“Maybe it’ll help things devolve slower, and go into hell so quickly that we end up figuring out a solution quicker,” laughed Harris, “it’s like OK here we go this weird celebrity guy and then people start looking at like maybe we’re messed up and need to start over now that this happened.”

Regardless of what the night may bring, SCAD students brace for it united, setting aside cultural differences and engaging in political discourse.

According to the Chatham County Election Results in the total number of 89 precincts and 106,013 votes, Hillary Clinton was leading with a 55 percent margin, Trump following with 41 percent and Johnson staying far behind with only 3 percent of the votes.

It’s a long night ahead.