Forget Halloween. While countless Yalies will no doubt don Bush and Kerry masks for Sunday’s festivities, the week’s real fun will be seeing the two presidential candidates duke it out for the final time Tuesday night.
After a hard trudge to the polls and the retinal fatigue of watching red-and-blue maps all day, many civic-minded Bulldogs will be in the mood to blow off some electoral steam by nightfall. No matter what they choose to do on Tuesday — vote for President George W. Bush ’68, Democratic rival John Kerry ’66, or not at all — many students plan to celebrate the night with spirited viewing parties and non-partisan drinking.
Both the Yale College Democrats and the Yale College Republicans plan to host gatherings to watch the televised election night coverage.
Andrew O’Connor ’05, who is vice-president of the Dems, said many members of the on-campus political organization will be out of town during the day Tuesday for campaigning purposes, but plan to regroup at night in a residential college TV room. The Dems will send an e-mail invitation out to their list, O’Connor said, which reaches a fifth of the campus.
“I don’t think everyone will come, but people who work on the campaign Tuesday and people who would otherwise be watching in their rooms will probably stop by,” he said. “We will all have worked a full day, but if everything goes as planned it will be an exciting evening.”
On the other side of the political spectrum, Yale Republicans Vice President of Social Events Alex Yergin ’07 said he believes Bulldog GOPers will have a grand old time Tuesday night.
“We’ve planned a viewing party,” he said. “It’s not go ing to be Casino Night, but it will be significant. We’ll have a good turnout. After all, our motto is ‘Yale College Republicans — the best party on campus.'”
Yergin said the Republicans’ viewing party would be a good place for otherwise closeted or shy right-leaning students to feel more comfortable cheering for the incumbent, but students of all beliefs will be welcome.
“We are not going to hound you if you’re not a fan of Bush’s. Probably there is less reason to go if you’re not a Republican, but we’re not going to be hostile,” he said.
Bush-fan Dennis Hong ’05, who said he will probably watch the election night coverage with friends, dreads cheering for the candidate his friends will be booing.
“I certainly don’t want to show my political stance or I’ll be lynched,” he said.
Though Hong is Canadian and thus “won’t be too distraught” no matter what the election’s outcome, he said he is looking forward to bonding over the one thing everyone can agree on this election night — alcohol. Hong said he has been playing drinking games with friends during the debates in which students had to take a shot upon hearing Bush utter “nuke-u-lar” or “Tora Bora.”
“We’ll probably continue the tradition with an election party,” Hong said. “That sounds nerdy, but I think it’ll be fun. It’s usually more fun to watch these things a little bit tipsy.”
Gregory Ablavsky ’05, who is a member of the Liberal Party and plans to watch the results with the group, said he will probably be drinking but not necessarily within the context of a game.
“I imagine there will be drinking — in celebration if it goes the way we want and in despair if things don’t go so well,” he said. “We tend not to take politics sitting down.”
Despite the once-in-a-college-career nature of the presidential election and the prevalence of politically-involved people on campus, some students balked at the thought of debauchery and recklessness on election night.
Abigail Jackson ’08 said she imagines that many of her classmates will play drinking games during the coverage, but she will not be going overboard.
“Usually a bunch of us on our floor will get together to watch the debates,” Jackson said. “I think that will be the case with watching the results come in. But heavy drinking on a Tuesday night?”
While some students view election night as a time to relax – with or without alcohol – after months in an intense political climate, several students will remain away from New Haven on official campaign business Tuesday night. Aaron Margolis ’06, who will be working in a Westport congressional campaign office Nov. 2, said he plans to watch campaign coverage at congressional headquarters.
Steven Siger ’05 said he will be in Pittsburgh working on the Kerry campaign Tuesday, and, while he plans to drive back to New Haven Wednesday morning, he will not attend classes that day.
“This is important to me, so it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make,” he said.
Siger said he doubts he will be able to drink much – either in celebration or as consolation – because he has to be able to drive back to New Haven on Wednesday. Siger said he is not disappointed that he will be away from Yale on the big night because he anticipates an atmosphere of revelry in the campaign offices.
“Campaigns are going to have parties wherever they are,” he said. “You plan for a party whether you win or lose.”
Even with the promised fun of the Tuesday night parties, Singer said he will be glad when Wednesday rolls around because it will mark the end of an exhausting few months on the campaign trail. He said he has been following the election very closely and will appreciate his newfound free time after the big event is over.
“I’m just thinking about everything up until Nov. 2 right now. No matter who wins, I’ll definitely have more time on my hands after that day,” he said. “I haven’t even thought about the weekend. Who even knows if it will be decided by then?”