The Transition: A new chapter for ‘America’s Big Day’

Political Theater, Episode 183

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., does a walk-through of the West Front for President-elect Joe Biden's Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 19, 2021. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., does a walk-through of the West Front for President-elect Joe Biden's Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 19, 2021. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)
Jason Dick
Posted January 19, 2021 at 3:52pm

The last time we spoke with Jim Bendat, the author of “Democracy’s Big Day: The Inauguration of Our President, 1789-2013,” we were expecting that things might get a little weird with this year’s inaugural ceremony and that, at a minimum, it would be memorable. That seems quaint now.

In the wake of the mob that tried to disrupt the democratic process on Jan. 6, security precautions have been amped up to unprecedented levels. More than 20,000 National Guard troops and a phalanx of law enforcement officers are here to safeguard the attendees. The National Mall is closed off. The security perimeter stretches way beyond any distance we’ve seen before. Oh, and it’s the middle of a pandemic that is still raging out of control.

On the latest episode of Political Theater, Bendat talks about what he’ll be watching for on Wednesday when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris take the oath of office, what will be different and what is so important about continuing to observe democracy’s rituals.

Show Notes: