"It's kind of gloomy," says Rep. John Conyers, the Michigan Democrat who is dean of the Congressional Black Caucus. He boards the Capitol's underground subway en route to the swearing-in, then pulls a black ribbon from his suit pocket. "I've got a little pin to put on." It's a CBC protest pin. There's a small piece of paper attached: This ribbon represents the fact that the will of the people was not honored in the 2000 presidential election. That's how John Conyers feels about George W. Bush's big moment. "But we've got to keep on fighting," he adds. Some members of the Black Caucus decided to boycott Inauguration Day; John Lewis, for instance, spent the day in his Atlanta district. He thought it would be hypocritical to attend Bush's swearing-in because he doesn't believe Bush is the true elected president. By 1985, Democrats were so demoralized by Reagan's reelection that some thought they'd never return to power. Some Democrats boycotted the swearing-in ceremony. Then-Rep. Pat Schroeder of Colorado hosted a counter-inaugural ball at which the mopey Dems tried to figure out how they could turn around their sorry fortunes.
80 Congressmen boycotted the inaugural ceremonies as Nixon entered his second term.