‘The tens of thousands of people who have been staging demonstrations against the result of the Nov. 8 presidential vote are giving vent to the anger that many stunned Americans have been feeling over the election of Donald J. Trump as the next leader of the nation.

But while it is an understandable reaction, it is coming much too late.

The protests should have taken place after Trump emerged as the nominee of the Republican party. Massive demonstrations then, and especially after the broadcast of the infamous Hollywood Access tapes in which he boasted of abusing women, would have served to counter the large turnout of his supporters at his rallies.

Nothing like what is going on now happened then. Not that there were not loud protests against the Trump candidacy, but apparently millions of Americans could not conceive of the possibility that he could win, starting with his entry in the race for the White House.

It was a false sense of confidence that was bolstered throughout the campaign, including in the closing days, by the predictions of supposed expert observers, analysts and especially the pollsters, of a certain Hillary victory.

But unless some investigation turns up evidence that the voting was manipulated, especially in light of his astonishing margin of victory over Hillary Clinton, the reality is that Donald Trump will be inaugurated as president in January.

That is how American democracy works. It does not switch gears simply because millions of people believe the wrong candidate was elected.

The path ahead is not street protests but ensuring that the coming Trump administration does not visit upon the nation the excesses which he has pledged to implement.

It will be very difficult because although Republicans in Congress waged a successful political war against President Barack Obama in both his terms, he at least was able to stymie them on some occasions. However, Trump and his fellow Republicans will control both executive and legislative branches of government. And it is almost certain that they will resume domination of the U.S. Supreme Court after the new president nominates at least one new conservative justice.

It is mere wishful thinking that Trump will suddenly turn into a statesman and repudiate, as president, the abhorrent policies which he advocated as a candidate. His appointment of Stephen Bannon as one of the two most senior officials in his White House signals just what to expect.

Bannon took over the website and its sundry “news” outlets after the founder, Andrew Breibart, died in 2012. Just this April, the Southern Poverty Law Center denounced it as “embracing ideas on the extremist fringe of the conservative right” and branded the operation racist, anti-Muslim and anti-immigration.

Still, Trump made Bannon his campaign CEO and has now appointed him his chief strategist and senior counselor for when he moves into the White House. Bannon is not the sort of person who will counsel Trump to mend his ways as president.

So the tens of millions of Latinos, insulted by Trump, who did not vote or registered to do so, the tens of millions of women who were outraged by Trump’s misogyny but did not voter or register to do so, the tens of African Americans, insulted by Trump, who either did not vote or register to do so, the tens of young people – the so-called millennials – offended by Trump’s lack of compassion but did not vote or register to do so – all have to live, along with the rest of the nation with the fact that 240 years after the founding of the republic, the best America could do for a leader is Donald Trump.

There is no do-over, no reset button to push. The most people can do in the next four years is try to contain the damage from the Trump presidency.

As a starting point, religious leaders, who had to be repulsed by the pronouncements by Trump but did not oppose him as vigorously as they should have, must make amends with God and their consciences.

Politicians who were so hungry for power at all cost and did not denounce him must hang their heads in shame at what they have helped to create.

And those Americans who have a legitimate grouse over being neglected by the system must wake up to the realization that while they have a genuine message for Washington, they picked the wrong messenger.