After a closely contested election with results not fully certified for at least an entire month, citizens across the United States tuned in to see the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday morning. Among those watching were the membership of the Auburn College Democrats who held a watch party in a large room in the Melton Student Center.
Seats were spaced out to allocate for social distancing and masks were required for entry in accordance with University COVID-19 guidelines. A GuideSafe Healthcheck green screen was also needed from students who wanted to participate.
Supplied with ‘46’ shirts and a Biden/Harris sign, AUCD members were ready for the new administration to assume the presidency.
Carsten Grove, senior in industrial systems engineering and president of AUCD, expressed hope for more policy change after the Democratic Party gained control of both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. However, Grove also conceded he felt democrats don’t always fulfill their election promises.
“A lot of the times democrats do have a tendency to offer promises and not always deliver, but I think the difference is that you will see a Senate that at least hears the issues that the House is pushing,” Grove said. “With the McConnell Senate, bills would just die on the floor immediately, they would never get to the floor. So I think with the Democratic Senate, even if the results are underwhelming, you’ll actually see some results.”
One area of concern for some democrats is how progressive or regressive President Biden’s administration will be. With no place for runner-up Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in Biden’s cabinet, progressive democrats are uncertain about how much representation and priority they will have in future legislation, including AUCD members.
“He’s definitely not as progressive as I would want a candidate to be, but I still think he’s doing a good job for what he does do,” said Rose Williams, junior in theatre, who voted for Sanders in the 2020 primary.
Grove, who voted for Sanders in the primary, thinks Biden isn’t progressive enough but believes any step is a good step.
“It’s a move in the right direction and I think anything that’s in that direction is better than nothing,” Grove said.
Sarah Jones, a campus resident assistant, expressed concern about possible backlash from students, outlining extra rounds for safety checks on Wednesday. Jones said University Housing staff will check for political banners and signs that are not permitted in student housing.
While election results were still being disputed, local supporters of both Trump and Biden gathered at Toomer’s Corner in late November to show their support and protest for each other’s candidacy.
Though Biden won, some students voiced displeasure with the newly elected Republican senator from Alabama, former Auburn Tigers football coach Tommy Tuberville.
“I don’t like him,” said Alexa Kloske, freshman in environmental science. “I don’t know anything about him except the fact that he was the coach here. I haven’t heard him giving any plans for anything. So as far as I know, he’s just there to have a good time. And I don’t think he’s gonna enact any good change.”
Grove shared the same sentiment.
“I think Tuberville was just able to coast by on the fact that he was a Republican running with a lot of fervor for Trump, … [and] the presidential race for 2020 was just too strong for Doug Jones to overcome,” Grove said. “I think Tuberville is quite honestly a complete fraud. He claims to represent Alabama, but I think he’s from like Arkansas, he moved here from Florida like two years ago.”
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Larry is a senior studying journalism with a minor in sociology. He is from Enterprise, Alabama and is in his third year with The Auburn Plainsman.