Every presidential election, I have sat in front of the TV seeing a map of the states turning blue and red being naive to what it actually means. Now that this was the first major election I could participate in, it seemed like a daunting task to undertake.
However, getting the opportunity to report on it was and still is an experience that is like no other. To put it simply, I finally know how fans of football feel when it comes to the Super Bowl.
Election night is the Super Bowl in the world of journalism, and this election did not disappoint. I am exhausted and mentally drained. The energy within the newsroom leading up to election nights was palpable.
Anxiety, fear, excitement and eagerness filled the room as the editorial board prepared for this election. We prepared for the worst and hoped for the best but neither came that night from a reporter’s perspective.
Election night was chaotic here in the newsroom but was a manageable type of chaos. Every time a wave of states were called by the Associated Press was followed by furious typing and questions being asked throughout the newsroom.
“Who called what?”, “Has AP Politics confirmed it?” and “What state is going to who?” were constant questions being asked throughout the night. Every time we thought we could take a quick break, another state would be called.
Most of us in the newsroom were playing the number game for candidates and asking the what-ifs. Trying to predict where states might fall was honestly the best part of the night.
Watching candidates inch closer to the magic number of 270 brought waves of anxiety and relief for some of us. Most of us thought we would at least have an idea of who would win by 2 a.m. but that wasn’t to be the case.
We, like the rest of the world, have been closely watching votes to the point that a few editors slept in the newsroom in hopes of more states being called throughout the night. Come Wednesday morning, we still couldn’t predict who would win.
Throughout the day, we were still watching this election and wishing we could see an end in sight. Possible recounts, lawsuits and more hurdles that are yet to come will drag this election on for a little bit longer.
I was anticipating hearing news about riots and protests going on around the United States as many Americans boarded up their shops and residences in many of the big cities. However, the night was quiet.
Only a few skirmishes were reported by AP but nothing that would draw too much attention. However, many Americans, including myself, knew that counting votes would take days and we will not have a definite winner until late Thursday or early Friday.
This pandemic affected American jobs, personal lives and now, the American presidential election along with over 7,000 elections that ran alongside it. Now we are in a moment in history when we just have to wait.
As journalists, we hate waiting for information more than anyone else. We want answers and we want them now.
However, here we are, waiting in anticipation alongside America. No matter what side you voted for, it is fair to say that it is a very close race, being that at the time of writing this, no winner has been called.
In the past, I would call “BS” to a race being too close to call but now I realize that is an acceptable answer. I want every American’s vote to be counted. It is their right.
Soon this will be over, a candidate will be named and life will go on. This is the beauty of our democracy, where we can decent opposing ideology through civil debates.
We live in a country where we have a voice, and we are able to use it, uncensored.