UMD Political Science Professor Discusses Incoming Biden-Harris Administration

Dr. Cindy Rugeley Discusses Transitional Tradition, Unification, and Historical Significance as Biden-Harris Prepare to be Sworn In

DULUTH, Minn. – The United States is one day away from the swearing-in of our nation’s 46th President in Washington, D.C.

The inauguration will no doubt look different than in years past, with COVID-19, recent civil unrest, and an outgoing President breaking transitional tradition.

Dr. Cindy Rugeley, associate professor and department head of political science at UMD, weighed in on what Americans can expect in the first 100 days of the Biden-Harris Administration.

Rugeley says the breaking of transitional tradition has happened in our nation’s history three times, but it hasn’t been done for nearly 150 years.

John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew Johnson did not attend the inauguration ceremonies of their successors.

In terms of what it means for the country, Rugeley says it’s probably not good.

“It’s something that we tend to want to see — one President wish the next one well as he assumes office, and then it’s important for the incoming President to thank his predecessor for his service. It shows that the election is over, and we will move on peacefully as a country,” said Rugeley.

With all eyes on President-Elect Joe Biden’s efforts to unify a divided nation, Rugeley says it’s going to be a tough road ahead for the incoming administration.

“Barack Obama ran on, there’s no blue issues or red issues, there are only country issues. He also ran into a wall of opposition,” said Rugeley. “I don’t think that we’ve had a recent President come in when there are so much hate and so much animosity. There are so many conspiracy theories out there and opinions that are just not rooted in fact,” said Rugeley.

Rugeley believes Biden is making good first steps to reach across the aisle and connect with both democrats and republicans.

“We’re at a point in our country where the citizenry is divided and it’s not partisanship, we’re divided on the fundamentals of democracy, to be honest,” said Rugeley.

She also discussed the historic significance of incoming First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, and incoming first Second Gentleman, Douglas Emhoff, continuing their professional careers.

“It is unusual. The role of the second spouse has always been ill-defined, but they’re both stepping up and I think they’re both going to be activists,” said Rugeley.

President-Elect Joseph Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in at noon Wednesday, Jan. 20 in Washington, D.C.

 

 

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