Judging from the howls of frustrated Democrats you’d think winged monkeys were filling the skies, infants were hurling fireballs from their eyes, and the inaugural procession will be headed by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Such is their dismay over the election of Donald Trump.
I understand. It’s been a long time since their party has been at such a disadvantage, the president-elect is making a national sport out of mocking their worries, he’s spurring international unrest and domestic apoplexy with his free-wheeling Tweets, and aside from organizing protests in the rain Dems don’t seem to know what to do about it.
The answer: relax. Smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em. (Which, btw, could be easy on Inauguration Day when one pro-marijuana group plans to hand out thousands of free joints.) While he might actually trigger some sort of organic upheaval here or abroad, odds are the overwhelming majority of us — of all religions, creeds and colors — will not feel any real impact at least not any time soon. Why?
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- Washington D.C. fights all changes tooth and nail. Just ask Barack Obama. Remember all those grand plans for reforming everything from our energy sources to Middle East policies? Tradition, bureaucracy, and the ambitions of other political climbers have a way of dragging presidential aspirations — all of them — back down into the crab bucket.
- Republicans are wary. Already significant rifts are forming between the new president and his party over which policies should be pursued and when. Dems, with their sharply curtailed influence, can try to fight back or they could go to the cloakroom and take a nap. Either way, the Repubs are unlikely to sort things out anytime soon.
- Have you seen his approval ratings? As I predicted months ago, the country’s political chasm is so deep, no matter who won the election he or she would struggle to get even 50-percent support on day one. Trump is well below that. And even foreign leaders who dislike what they’re hearing know it.
Oh sure, he says things that drive his critics insane and he’ll pushsome legislation which will infuriate them. Some. But history and the realities of D.C.’s power structure tell us for all of Mr. Trump’s bombast, he is unlikely to produce the monumental changes for which his fans hope — or the cataclysms his foes fear.
(CNN’s Tom Foreman is the author of “My Year of Running Dangerously”)