The U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou hosted a live election night watch party on November 8 for nearly 300 people. Guests consisted primarily of alumni, former local interns, and library patrons, as well as high-level Embassy contacts, including social media luminaries, political party representatives, and third-country diplomats. They gathered to watch the results come in as Republican Donald J. Trump and Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton sought to secure the election. Guests also participated in a mock election, took selfies with life-size cutouts of the candidates, and engaged our two panel groups with questions about the U.S. electoral system.
In the library, a selfie zone was set up for guests to shoot special U.S. election night pictures with cutouts of the main candidates. Some stayed in the multipurpose room across from the library to watch the live results from CNN. An election simulation was organized in the room, and the guests voted. There was a discussion panel consisting of American citizens and program alumni. They explained to the invitees the U.S. electoral system, the caucuses and primaries, the Electoral College, and the swearing-in ceremony.
At one moment, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were neck and neck, each candidate alternately winning or losing in key states. The winning threshold was 270 electoral votes. Donald Trump began to pull away early into the morning.
Prior to the final results, Chargé d’Affaires David K. Young and fellow panel members answered the invitees’ questions about the U.S. electoral system and the voting underway. Before the election, surveys had predicted a Hillary Clinton victory. The Chargé mentioned that surveys are not credible and that only the final Election Day results matter.
The Chargé mentioned that the Embassy will continue working for President Obama until January 20 and then for the new President Donald Trump. He also suggested that programs started or implemented under President Obama would continue under the new president.
Trump was declared the winner Wednesday morning after earning 290 delegates to Clinton’s 218.