When Samuel P. Adams was five years old, he told his parents and teachers he wanted to be the President of the United States. During the 2012 presidential election, where Mitt Romney and Barack Obama faced off, he fact-checked and deliberated their policies.
Now, he is sitting in a seat, eyes locked to the two projection screens of the Ball State University Student Center, watching as the 2022 midterm elections polls close and votes are counted.
Adams is the Student Government Association (SGA) on-campus senator and he was one person in attendance for a midterm elections watch party in the Student Center. The event was a collaboration between the political science department at Ball State and the SGA.
“We love the chance to partner with the political science department,” Brenna Large, SGA parliamentarian, said. “It’s a great way to teach students about the democratic process.”
The event featured free Little Caesars pizza, chips, tables with election memorabilia, a trivia game for prizes and some political booths. SGA went through 24 pizzas, six cases of soda and 80 bags of chips for the attendees at the event. The College Republicans and Ball State Democrats were in attendance as well.
Dylan Teubert, the SGA liaison for College Republicans, said he was optimistic about the election, due to inflation.
“That’s gonna be on the minds of voters, that’ll have an effect,” he said.
For the College Democrats, they are very confident in the local election and are banking on Rep. Sue Errington’s (D) victory.
“While she’s been in office, she’s really prioritized college issues,” Monet Lindstrand, president, said.
Lindstrand has seen the issues she cares about reflected by Rep. Errington.
However, for Indiana as a whole, SGA liaison for College Democrats Katrina Leming said she is a little worried, since Indiana is consistently a “red state”.
Jennifer Grove, senior lecturer of political science at Ball State, said the most contested Senate races were ones where there was no incumbent, like in the case of Ohio, where Rob Portman announced his retirement in 2021.
“In Indiana, the race has an incumbent,” she said. “We knew he was going to win.”
Caleb McCormick, third-year political science major, noted the “tumultuous” political climate, in light of the 2022 midterm elections.
“Republicans and Democrats are not compromising as much as they used to,” he said. “Both parties are accusing the other of running American democracy itself.”
McCormick also cited aggressive, “outdated” rhetoric used to attack candidates on the extreme ends of the political spectrum.
“[Democrats] will call Republicans fascist, Republicans will call Democrats communist, even though neither party is fascist … or communist,” he said.
Joseph Gassensmith, SGA chief of staff, wanted to see less divisiveness between parties and liked how the watch party event brought people from different political spectrums together.
“We are actually not as different as we think we are,” he said.
Adams doesn’t want one political party to rule completely, since most people, in his opinion, are moderates. He believes there have been radicals running the country on both sides, democrat and republican.
“If we can split that up, we can have bipartisan governing,” he said. “ … Because [radicals] don’t accurately reflect the people.”
Gassensmith entered the polls with an important factor to consider: insulin access. As a type one diabetic, he wants lower cost of insulin.
For Adams, he thought about inflation and rising gas prices while casting his vote, and also mentioned border control.
Sitting at the same table as Adams, SGA organizational caucus chair and diversity and multicultural chair Cody York said he was feeling nervous about the midterm elections and went into his vote thinking about marriage freedom and being who he wants to be.
One popular amongst some female voters at the event was women’s rights.
Tina Nguyen, SGA president, said she cares about women’s rights and minority rights. She feels like major decisions in her life are dictated by the seats of elected officials. She helped create the event because she wanted to bring awareness to voting.
“You’re basically voting like your life depends on it,” she said.
For York, voting was a family affair. It holds an importance in his life, he said, much like Adams’ and Large’s.
Josh Vandiver, associate lecturer of political science at Ball State, explained that political vehemence has existed since the inception of democracy in ancient Greece.
“Aristotle famously says, ‘You can’t be a good human without also being a political animal,’” he said.
Belen Dealmonte, fourth-year legal studies major, was curious to see if states swing blue due to the Dobbs decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade. One of the people at her trivia table during the event, Andrea Dengler, fourth-year legal studies major, said she has friends who swung blue after the Dobbs decision.
“I feel this election is just so important,” Dealmonte said. “There are a lot of rights at stake.”