The Trump Years to Come

It is difficult the morning after the election to come to grips with what they said could not happen: Donald J. Trump will follow Barack Obama as president of the United States.

Among the terrifying aspects of the coming Trump years is that he has surrounded himself not with the country’s best minds on the right but with embarrassing second-stringers like former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who so far has barely escaped indictment in the Bridgegate scandal. Then there is Congress. The big test will be whether Mr. Trump is independent-minded enough to veto the more dangerous schemes that will come from Republicans in the House and Senate and to reconsider what he and they will do about the vacancy on the Supreme Court.

For many of us who live on the East End of Long Island and for those who vacation here, Washington, D.C., seems very far away. Yet in many ways the federal government’s role is significant here. Consider that almost the entire North and South Fork economy is powered by the labor of mostly Latin American workers; sudden changes in immigration policy could be catastrophic to the farming, construction, and hospitality sectors. Abandoning Obamacare could plunge many of our friends and neighbors back into the ranks of the uninsured. And if predictions are accurate, upheaval in the stock market could have a profoundly negative effect on local real estate.

The East End should be at the forefront of work to combat climate change and the sea level rise it produces — aided by visionary leadership from Washington. Now that seems impossible, and backward motion on international emissions control agreements could have a devastating, irreversible effect here over the coming decades. If a Trump-led government reduces support for alternative energy, the Northeast could again be affected by pollution from coal-burning power plants. Mr. Trump’s anti-regulation views could gut the Environmental Protection Agency and slow efforts to preserve wildlife and assure viable fish stocks for future generations as he and Congress rip apart other federal agencies.

Washington is not quite as far away as we might wish. The risks for our region of the Trump years are very real.