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SU Maxwell Professor: Biden/Harris Inauguration Marks "Return To Normal" For Presidency, Nation

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A Syracuse University political science professor says Tuesday’s inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be seen through new and different lenses for a number of reasons. 

The Maxwell School’s Grant Reeher says there’s the pandemic, Trump’s unconventional presidency, the 2020 election and the aftermath, and the insurrection at the Capitol.

"Some people are looking at this inauguration day with the biggest sigh of  political relief that you'd ever hear because they really want to see the end of the Trump presidency.   Others will be looking at this with anger because they've been stirred up by the president or they're disappointed about the election result.  None of these things is entirely new, but the level of intensity of our feelings surrounding this are going to be much higher."

Reeher says the differences in leadership between Trump and Biden will be immediately apparent.

"This is a return to the normal.  What we've been adjusting to have been the previous four years.  It will be obvious.  Biden has a very long history in the senate, then two terms as vice president working with Congress. You're going to see a much more stable, even keeled approach."

Reeher says while our already strained political institutions were stretched to the limit by the Trump presidency, they remain resilient.  Still, he says Biden has his work cut out for him.

"The biggest problem in all of this hasn't gone anywhere, and that's the level of political polarization.  No one person or president can solve that.  It certainly requires a lot of attention."

Reeher says the impact will linger for decades.  SU alum Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will take the oath of office Tuesday at noon amid extremely tight security at the Capitol. 

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at