Eyes were glued to the television screen Tuesday night at an election watch party when people erupted in cheers as the U.S. election results were announced and the Democrats were left with control over the House of Representatives.
The party took place at the Ryerson Legal Innovation Zone on Dundas Street near the Ryerson University campus and was hosted by the Ryerson Leadership Lab and Democratic Engagement Exchange.
Community members from the Toronto area gathered together as the results of each candidate were announced and the room roared with every win made by the Democrats.
Daniel Lis was one of the organizers of the event that night.
“I’m a Democrat so I hope the Democrats win tonight,” Lis said. “But if not I hope that people can still be hopeful and vote against bigotry.”
Lis was part of the CanStudyUs trip that went to Chicago during reading week to learn about U.S. politics. Shawn Gaviola, a fourth-year business management student at Ryerson University, also went on the trip.
Now when he’s watching the election results he said that he pays more attention to which candidates he feels would accurately represent the people he spoke to, particularly the minority and underprivileged groups.
“I think we were all pretty interested in how Illinois would turn out after being there,” he said. “I was hoping for a better turnout with the Democrats.”
Throughout the night as states like Florida remained “too close to call,” the crowd grew quieter when the latest results were presented on the television.
An example of the importance of voter turnout, said fourth-year urban planning student Kaitlyn Hundt, was the Senate seat in Texas. The seat was ultimately won by incumbent Republican Senator Ted Cruz who beat Beto O’Rourke.
“I knew there was only a slight chance of O’Rourke winning, but I was holding out hope,” she said. “I feel like that would have made a big difference and maybe it would have shown people that their vote really does matter.”
Toronto resident A.J. Jiang said at the watch party that he was also hoping that Beto O’Rourke would win the Senate seat in Texas.
He said that if the Democrats lost any more seats in the Senate, he would have been “devastated.”
Jiang had hoped that the Democrats would gain power in the Senate because “that’s what really matters.”
Lis predicted that if the Democrats do make gains it would only be in the House and not the Senate.
“I’m glad to hear the House went Democrat,” Lis said at the end of the night. “But we’ll see if it’ll have an impact.”
He said that he was hoping that with the Democrats controlling the House it will allow them to be more vocal in government as a whole.
Hundt said that she was really following the Texas Senate seat and the Florida governor race, which was won by Republican candidate Ron DeSantis.
“I’m really hoping that Florida goes to Andrew Gillum because he would be the first black governor in Florida,” she said.
Hundt also said that she was disappointed to see that the high immigrant population in Florida was not being reflected in the representatives.
Event attendee and Toronto resident Nate Sen said that he is holding his reactions until the end when results are finally announced for the winner of the House and the Senate.
“These small wins are nice,” Sen said. “But what really matters is when a Democrat beats an incumbent Republican.”
This is what will determine who has control in the end, he said.
Sen and the crowd left that night with smiles on their faces as the Democrats captured the House seats they needed for the majority, but all was not cheerful as some left shaking their heads at the Republican victories across the U.S. election.
Originally published Nov. 7 at Ryerson School of Journalism