The important thing to remember is physics: everything is moving and every action has an opposite and equal reaction. Canceling Obamacare will be hailed as a big victory for the people who don’t depend on it, but the millions who do will feel otherwise unless they get something better immediately. Firing government workers is a great sop to hurting manufacturing workers, but not if they don’t get $36 an hour jobs with benefits in short order.
It’s not as if the Democrats won’t learn anything from this loss, or that none of them will rise to this unprecedented occasion. Backbenchers will step forward; old leaders will hone their messages. As scary as things are (and they are terrifying), they would be much scarier still if Trump had received a big mandate, which he didn’t. Assuming we hold elections in 2018, he is likely to suffer losses (the incoming party almost always does). Assuming we hold elections in 2020, we may do better than we can imagine today. Had Hillary squeaked in, the other side would be saying the same things. Their worries about canceled elections would be paranoid and baseless, but their hopes would be no less real than ours should be.
Hitler (and yes, he is the figure we should be comparing Trump to–Godwin’s Law is now our friend) had the backing of the elites and the industrialists, and the people he set out to crush really were despised minorities. Trump needs to crush or co-opt more than half the country and this is a big place. Also, Hitler had a plan for world conquest. The economic miracle he delivered turned on pouring public money into big industries and mobilizing the masses for war. If Trump can do that, we’re doomed. But I’m not at all certain that a minority president who has completely alienated the press can pull that off. Breitbart and Twitter allow him to communicate directly to his public, but we have the Web too. And the US doesn’t have Germany’s militaristic ethos. The heartlanders are already sending their kids into the military and it hasn’t been glorious for them.
There is going to be chaos, unthinkable things will happen, but Trump is not going to have a free hand. This is a big, diverse country and Trump is a minority president with a lot of demonstrated weaknesses. He is going to be struggling too. Be scared, be angry, be noisy, and don’t act intimidated even if you are. The story is still being written.