Traditional Republicans hold key to success with Biden's plea for unity Featured

Traditional Republicans hold key to success with Biden's plea for unity ABC News screenshot

Now that Joe Biden is America's 46th president, how effective can his calls for unity actually be?

Biden repeatedly hit on the theme of unity and common ground during his inauguration speech Wednesday. On KVOE's Morning Show on Thursday, Emporia State University Political Science Professor Michael Smith unity is a common theme at the start of most presidential administrations. In Biden's case, that goal appears to be genuine.

Smith says the emphasis on unity -- not "groupthink" -- won't fix the fractured political landscape by itself. He says Republicans appear split moving forward, and Biden's push towards common ground will rely heavily on the support of what he calls traditional Republicans.

Smith says the "back to basics" inauguration and lack of uproar two weeks after the US Capitol insurrection was welcomed.

For former president Donald Trump, the political future is unclear for another reason. Impeachment -- for the second time -- will be discussed soon in the US Senate. He also faces numerous legal investigations that started during his term as president.

Smith says a lingering question is what happens to the followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory, with many supporters among the thousands of people who stormed the US Capitol on Jan. 6 in a riot that led to five deaths. Statements that antifa members posing as Trump supporters fueled the riots were rapidly debunked by the FBI. Fears of election fraud were mentioned repeatedly by former president Trump and developed into the "Stop the Steal" effort mentioned at times during the riot. Smith has said on KVOE's airwaves there was no evidence presented to indicate any election fraud.

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