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Election 2020

After Setting Record, Should Oklahoma End Straight-Ticket Voting?

Jan 26, 2021
Vicky Avery, front, voted in one of Oklahoma’s most Republican districts on Nov. 3 at Harrah Church.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

More Oklahomans than ever before skipped over selecting individual candidates and instead voted for their party’s entire slate of candidates with a single pen stroke in 2020.

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While it's only 2021, a major question facing Democrats this year and next will be what to do about the presidential nominating calendar and whether Iowa, in particular, should retain its prized place at the front of the calendar in 2024.

Jaime Harrison is a former U.S. Senate candidate who lost to Republican Lindsey Graham in November, but not before shattering fundraising records. Now Harrison is the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee, selected by President Biden.

President Biden is calling for unity to address each of the nation's concurrent crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy, race relations and climate change.

It won't be easy because as he settles into office, Biden also inherits a country that is deeply divided. Democrats and Republicans live in very different worlds and get their news and information from very different places, cordoned off by ideology and worldview.

Gone were the conservative evangelical leaders who had been invited in the past. No Catholic bishops or priests took part.

This year's National Prayer Service, a longstanding inauguration tradition to welcome an incoming presidential administration, instead featured two transgender faith leaders, the president of the Navajo Nation, and a host of speakers with urgent calls for national transformation.

President Biden.

That's going to take some getting used to after these past four years.

The new president was sworn in Wednesday and made an inaugural address aimed at unity. Biden didn't sugarcoat, however, the hurdles to bringing Americans together, and he leaned into the challenges the U.S. faces, as he sees it.

Here are six takeaways from Biden's inauguration:

1. A starkly different tone was set.

Updated at 5:06 p.m. ET

Democrats officially took control of the Senate as Georgia's two new Democratic senators-elect were sworn in Wednesday afternoon, cementing a 50-50 split, with Vice President Harris serving as the tiebreaking vote in her new role as president of the the Senate.

Harris administered the oath of office to Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff hours after her own swearing-in.

President Biden invoked what he called seven "common objects we, as Americans, love" in Wednesday's inaugural address. Biden's embrace of the seventh — "the truth" — offered a pointed critique of his predecessor (though never by name), the media and the nation itself.

Updated 5:01 p.m. ET

If you haven't heard, Joe Biden would like to unite America.

It was a focus of the Democrat's campaign. It's even the theme of Biden's inauguration — "America United."

He made lots of appeals to unity in his inaugural address.

President-elect Joe Biden is under pressure to walk away from his pledge to block the Keystone XL oil pipeline. On Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justine Trudeau said completing the project is a key priority for him.

Twitter locked Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene out of her account on the social media platform on Sunday, citing violations of a company policy that it recently used to remove thousands of QAnon-related accounts. The suspension is in effect for 12 hours.

Greene has repeatedly endorsed the QAnon conspiracy theory, which has sought to portray President Trump as being undermined by a deep-state cabal.

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

And now we go to NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea to find out what we can expect this Wednesday on this very different Inauguration Day.

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

I'm Lulu Garcia-Navarro on the streets of Washington, D.C.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: You guys mind going up to that checkpoint over there?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Security here is very, very tight.

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Next week's swearing-in of President-elect Joe Biden will see the biggest security presence of any inauguration in U.S. history. For days, thousands of National Guard troops have been pouring into the capital, and by Wednesday's ceremony, up to 25,000 troops will be in place to guard against security threats.

Last Wednesday, just before a mob of pro-Trump extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol in an insurrection that left five dead, the president stood before a huge crowd gathered in front of the White House for a so-called "Save America" rally.

Trump whipped up his supporters, repeating a false claim that he has made over and over in the weeks since Nov. 3: "We won this election, and we won it by a landslide," he insisted. "This was not a close election!"

Almost 6 in 10 Americans said they blame President Trump for the violent insurrection that took place Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters, according to the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

But they are split on whether Congress should continue to take action against him after he leaves office next week, and half believe social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter — which have banned him from their platforms — should not continue to restrict Trump after Wednesday.

Updated at 3:05 p.m. ET

The top federal prosecutor for the District of Columbia said Friday that investigators have not uncovered direct evidence at this point of any "kill/capture teams" targeting elected officials during the U.S. Capitol insurrection, contradicting allegations made earlier by federal prosecutors in Arizona.

U.S. prosecutors in Arizona said Thursday in a court filing against Jacob Chansley, also known as the "QAnon Shaman," that they have "strong evidence" members of the pro-Trump mob wanted to "capture and assassinate" officials.

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