A day of unprecedented violence unfolded at the heart of American democracy.
The world watched in shock and disbelief as a mob of Donald Trump supporters pushed past police barricades, scaled the walls of the Senate, and stormed the Capitol building, to stop the confirmation of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.
A 35 year old woman, an Air Force veteran, was shot and later died. Three other people died after suffering medical emergencies on Wednesday night. Members of congress were evacuated and a curfew was placed on the District of Columbia but hundreds of Trump supporters refused to budge from the streets.
The confirmation went ahead later and Trump finally had to accept the outcome of the November 3rd election and committed to an "orderly transition" on January 20th.
His party also lost two Senate seats in Georgia at the run-off races that took place on Tuesday which has given the Democrats full control of Congress and the White House.
It looks like the winds of change are blowing to make way for Joe Biden's government which will assume office in less than two week. But the nation remains devastatingly divided as the chaotic scenes from this week have proven. We discuss the latest in U.S. politics this week with Alexa Bankert, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Georgia.
We also welcome Mark Shanahan, Professor and Head of Department for Politics & International Relations at the University of Reading, and editor of the book The Trump Presidency.
1. Dr. Bankert: The election was supposed to be over on November 3rd, and any questioning of the results by December 14th, but there is still a stark division in the country that has been inflamed to this point by the sitting president himself. What is the atmosphere like right now across America's political circles, and what needs to be done for the nation to move forward from this?
2. Dr. Shanahan: The violence on Capitol Hill was shocking for the world to see, and government leaders across the globe have condemned the violent protesters, and they also called for a peaceful transition of leadership. How do you think this spark of violence, followed by weeks of President Trump denying the outcome of the election, has affected America's image or standing in the international community?
3. Dr. Shanahan: What is it about Trump that still resonates with his hard-core supporters, and what do you think is necessary to overcome division in American politics? Do you think Joe Biden and his team will be capable of achieving that?
4. Dr. Bankert: What does the Democrats' victory mean for the state of Georgia, which has voted in Republicans for Senate seats for 20 years? What caused this shift in the formerly Red state?
What was it about the two Democratic candidates that enabled them to beat the two incumbents? What do their victories tell us about what voters want?
6. Dr. Bankert: Will an even split in the Senate make it easier for the two parties to reach common ground, or will we see more deadlocks over key legislations?
What are some items on Biden's agenda that will get a strong boost from the Democrats' Senate victory?
7. Dr. Shanahan: With Democrats in control of both houses and the White House, what developments do you hope to see in U.S. foreign policy?
8. Dr. Bankert: As for the Republicans, it looks like it will be a time of soul-searching for them. What's next for the Republican Party after Trump leaves the White House?
That was Alexa Bankert, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Georgia and Mark Shanahan, Professor and Head of Department for Politics & International Relations at the University of Reading. Thank you for your time.