Erath County voters, Obama and Romney voice opinions, look to future of America
By Ian Troub
Texan News Service
After two years of campaign platforms, fundraising, advertising, debating, poster plastering, political posturing and speech after speech after speech, the time had come for America to make its choice between incumbent Democratic president Barack Obama, and Republican candidate, Mitt Romney.
Erath County voters showed up in force Tuesday to express their political voices, casting their votes in the 2012 presidential election. Their voices rang loud and clear, with nearly 83 percent of the vote going to Romney.
“In 82 years I haven’t seen this big of a crowd come to vote,” said Luther Sheffield, an Erath County citizen.
Lines stretched out the front doors of the Erath County Courthouse for the majority of the day. As unified as their votes may have been, Erath County citizens didn’t always seem to agree on the actual reasons why they were voting for Romney.
Texan News Service staff members were on site all day at the Erath County courthouse to gauge the political sentiment of voters from all over the county and to cover the election live on texannews.net/live.
Mike, an Erath County man who declined to give his last name, said, “This election is more important than most. Obama has done nothing for our country, and we need a businessman like Romney who promises something more than ‘Change.’”
Mike went on to say, “It is crucial for young people to take part in this election because it has the most effect on the upcoming generation.”
James Segura agrees with this sentiment.
“I’ve always wanted to vote, even when I was in high school before I was allowed to vote,” said Segura.
The younger generation turned out in such large numbers that Jessica Hannon said she “was surprised how many younger people she saw voting this year compared to the last election.”
With issues ranging from the economy, welfare, healthcare, and foreign affairs to social issues including family values, abortion and tax rates, many voters expressed frustration over the nation’s current status quo.
“Obama, I think, is level-headed and intelligent. Although I’ve been a little disappointed in him, he is pretty solid. Romney was a good governor, reasonable, and worked well with Democrats, but it is hard to tell if he will be the same after the election,” said Dr. Craig Clifford, a Tarleton philosophy professor and Honors Programs Director.
Some voters had more strongly formed opinions about the presidential candidates.
Wendy Heart, a Tarleton student, said she “literally went in there and chose the lesser of two evils.”
Koby Thieband said, “I would vote for a monkey throwing **** before I voted for Obama. It’s not a race issue, it’s in regards to anti-America and debt issues.”
Regardless of one’s political views, Erath County Judge Tab Thompson said, “Everybody needs to vote.”
Even as so many citizens showed up to vote for whom they felt was the best choice for the future of America, others voted simply to exercise their rights as U.S. citizens.
FMC employee Cameron Winkle said, “I’m only 24, and this being my second time to vote in a national election, it’s important to me to come down and make the effort to vote.”
Though Romney carried Texas with its 38 Electoral College votes, he lost the election to President Obama by a larger-than-expected margin, with Obama claiming 303 electoral votes. Florida’s results still are not reported.
After chants of “four more years” from a crowd of hundreds, Obama delivered a 21-minute victory speech, which was broadcast live and is now available online at cnn.com. He said that though times have been tough, “for the United States of America, the best is yet to come.” He thanked “America’s happy warrior, the best vice president anybody could ever hope for,” Joe Biden, for his help and friendship over the last 4 years. He added “I wouldn’t be the man I am today,” without his wife of 20 years, Michelle Obama, and said, “Michelle, I have never loved you more.”
Obama called his campaign supporters “family” and thanked them for being “the best campaign team and volunteers in the history of politics, the best, the best ever,” and said that he, “will always be grateful.”
In reference to how the election process “stirs passions,” Obama said, “These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty, and we can never forget that as we speak, people in distant nations are risking their lives right now, just for a chance to argue, about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots, like we did today.”
“Forward. That’s where we need to go,” Obama added. “Tonight, you voted for action, not politics as usual. You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours, and in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together.”
Obama listed these challenges as “reducing our deficit, reforming our tax code, fixing our immigration system, freeing ourselves from foreign oil.” He added, “We’ve got more work to do.”
“Tonight, despite all the hardship we’ve been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I’ve never been more hopeful about our future. I have never been more hopeful about America, and I ask you to sustain that hope,” the president continued..
“I believe we can keep the promise of our founding, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you look like, or where you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white, or Hispanic or Asian or Native American, or young or old, or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.”
Obama wrapped up his speech by saying, “I believe we can seize this future together, because we are not as divided as our politics suggest. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be, the United States of America, and together, with your help, and God’s grace, we will continue our journey forward, and remind the world just why it is, that we live in the greatest nation on earth. Thank you, America. God bless you. God bless these United States!”
Though Erath County may not have gotten the president the majority of citizens voted for, and though people may not be completely satisfied with the election system, Romney urged the nation to come together in his concession speech.
“The nation, as you know, is at a critical point,” Romney said. “At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work, and we citizens also have to rise to the occasion.”
The following students contributed to Texan News Service’s coveritlive 2012 election coverage: Azia Branson, Olivia Cislo, Angela Dittman, Jacquelyn Driscoll, Houston Hall, Ashton Hamilton, Emily Hardman, Joshua Harville, Jessica Lee, Mark Mallory, Keauno Perez, Dawelo Sears, Jordan Simons, Marissa Westbrook, Ashley Arapis, Alexis Viray-Edwards, Jessica Sherman, Kelley Rumsey, Rachel Peoples, Jordan Garrard, Victoria Greer, Becca Escobar, Kate Murphy, Shannon Fairchild, Anastasia Gray, Keyra Johnson, Jennifer Cunningham, Dallas Burch, Maggie Tubbs, Linsey Sanders, Hillari Raemsch, Cassie Stafford and Haley Knox. The live blog was moderated by Texan TV News Associate Producers Caleb McCaig and Aida Delgado.