PASCO COUNTY, Fla. -- Political science professors said Wednesday's riot at the U.S. Capitol building will likely have ripple effects into the Biden administration and throughout levels of government nationwide.
- Political science professors say it's concerning riot disrupted electoral college vote certification
- Certification a routine part of the transfer of power
- One professor says further disruption possible
The images of the chaos were hard to process.
"I'm beside myself in looking at this. I've never seen anything like this," said Kevin O'Farrell, former political science professor and provost of Pasco-Hernando State College's Porter Campus.
“Stunning, but not surprising. I think we all had been bracing for the possibility for demonstrations on behalf of the President," said Ed Benton, a professor with the University of South Florida's School of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences. "What was surprising was the fact that what had billed to be peaceful demonstrations turned to be not peaceful.”
O'Farrell and Benton said the violent breach of the Capitol was disturbing enough.
“Individuals engaged in breaking a number of laws, of breaching the security parameters of the Capitol and other federal buildings, to actually going inside, breaking windows.” said Benton. "There were actions which transgressed the law and really brought shame on American democracy."
They said an added cause for concern is that Congress's certification of the electoral college vote in favor of President-Elect Joe Biden was disrupted.
"It's significant that we've never really seen this ever before -- storming the Capitol on a day when Congress is basically certifying the votes of the electoral college," said O'Farrell. "This is usually a day that people would never remember. It would not be something that would stand out to them like Election Day or inauguration day, for that matter. It has been, unfortunately, politicized to a degree that we see this kind of turnout that is just very unnerving. It's very dangerous."
"The very idea of trying to block a peaceful transition of power is foreign to us in the United States. Those happen in third world countries. They happen in despotic, authoritative regimes -- other places around the world and not us," said Benton.
Benton said Wednesday's events will likely have implications for the incoming President and Congress.
“It’s going to be difficult, even with a Democrat in the White House, a majority, small as it may be in the U.S. House of Representatives, and virtually a tied U.S. Senate," Benton said. “I expect to see disruption continuing within the floors of the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate, of other individuals at state and local level to do things that go beyond simply civil disobedience.”
There will likely be another type of work needed, as well.
"There's going to be a difficult time to get things back under control, to reassert to the world, and to ourselves, that democracy is alive and well in the United States," Benton said.