It's the follow-up to protests that really counts.

When I’m not dedicating my life to being an enemy of the people (those who have not signed up for Sarcasm 101, please see the registrar) I wonder what Democrats are going to do with all this anger they are whipping up like a Sunday gumbo; those steaming tides flooding the streets, those waves of fierce constituents bellowing at members of Congress.

I wonder what will happen to all that energy because if it just makes people feel better it will largely be a waste of time — and in the long run they will only feel worse. Yes, I know. I’ve mentioned this before and some of you hated it. Perhaps you’re already pulling out the cardboard and markers to make new signs damning my insensitivity. But I’ve covered local, stateand national politics for 40 years now, and unhinged, undirected fury almost never makes a difference.

Consider this — aside from the occasional “Right to Life” marches how often can you recall Republicans protesting in the avenues about something in the Obama years? They could have. They were plenty angry. And they are no smarter than their Democratic counterparts. But their political DNA told them to do something else — to raise money, recruit candidates, go on talk shows, pay attention to local races and win seat after seat at all levels of government. They’ve been so good at it, their party now controls the redistricting process in many places and have essentially locked those seats up for the foreseeable future.

If you are a Democrat or Independent, you may hate that. (And btw as a professional journalist, I don’t care who wins or loses the political wars.) But I can tell you marching, yellingand signing petitions will not change the equation. It is the follow-up that counts: the slow, deliberate, boring, grindingand inglorious work that looks terrible on Facebook but puts real people in real positions to make real votes at key moments. As the mayor of South Bend, Pete Buttigieg (who would like to be head of the Democratic National Committee) said on CNN, “Don’t get mad. Get on your school board.”


Otherwise, you’re just making noise.

(CNN’s Tom Foreman is the author of "My Year of Running Dangerously")

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