In a graffiti-covered upstairs room at the Tattooed Mom, they plotted the resistance.

"We've got some unique energy now, mostly because of the disaster that happened a couple of months ago," David Scholnick, cochair of the progressive advocacy group Philly 4 Change, told about 40 activists gathered last week in the South Street bar.

The subject of President-elect Donald Trump's triumph - queasy to them - did not need to be spelled out here, as they discussed what liberal causes to work on this year.

Elsewhere, protesters are planning to march on Washington, while Trump supporters tell the defeated to just get over it already. He won, and that means either the ruination or restoration of the country.

With less than two weeks until Trump is inaugurated, the apocalyptic battle lines drawn in the election remain, polls indicate, and political analysts predict it will be difficult for the new president to unite the nation.

Since Nov. 8, Trump has seemed interested in re-litigating the campaign, claiming a broad mandate in thank-you rallies and via his beloved Twitter account despite losing the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton. He's feuding with those who have crossed or contradicted him, including the U.S. intelligence agencies, and mocked his "enemies" in a New Year's tweet.

On Friday, his fingers were at it again. "Hillary and the Dems were never going to beat the PASSION of my voters," Trump tweeted.

"It doesn't seem like any of that is cooling off," said J. Wesley Leckrone, a political scientist at Widener University. "Usually you see at least a sense of hope for a new president from people in the middle and moderate partisans, but that is not reflected in the polls. Trump's opponents are not inclined to 'give him a chance.' "

A Gallup Poll last month found Trump's transition to the White House with the lowest public approval rating since it began asking the question in 1992, with 48 percent saying he's done a good job with the changeover and an equal percentage disapproving. Even George W. Bush, who took office after losing the popular vote and a contentious recount in Florida, had a 65 percent approval rate for his transition.

At the same time, views of Trump as a person and leader have improved markedly in the past month, according to the aggregate of national polls in the Real Clear Politics index, though he is still in negative territory. An average of 43.5 percent of poll respondents have a favorable view of Trump, while 48 percent on average view him unfavorably.

At Tattooed Mom, the agenda centered mostly on local concerns - actions of liberal resistance that could be within reach - although Trump was not far from mind.

In the face of Trump's vow to round up and deport undocumented immigrants, they discussed the urgent need to support the "sanctuary city" movement, with Philadelphia and other local governments declaring they will not cooperate with federal immigration authorities on detention requests.

They also listened to a pitch for backing from a group encouraging liberals to run for voting-division committee slots in Philadelphia's Democratic organization, in a bid to push the party left, and vowed to work to end property-tax abatements for luxury developments in the city. They said they would pressure City Council to invest more in city health centers, in anticipation of people losing insurance coverage as Trump and his GOP allies in Congress repeal Obamacare. They discussed this year's race for district attorney.

"There's a sense of powerlessness," said Scholnick, 41, a campaign and issue-advocacy organizer who depends on Obamacare for his toddler son. "What are you going to do? I mean, the man makes China policy with a tweet. But we can have impact here. Our organization is about moving a progressive agenda forward, every way we can."

It is hard to predict what Trump, an unconventional politician, will do in office; a former Democrat, he has no defined ideology, and he sometimes contradicted himself in the campaign. Experts say that may be contributing to a sense of unease ahead of the inauguration, especially in places like Philadelphia, which voted overwhelmingly for Clinton.

That fear is overblown, said GOP media consultant Charlie Gerow, noting that Trump accepted "responsibility" for uniting the nation on election night. "He understands the challenge and has put together a team that knows what needs to be done and is well prepared to do it," Gerow, of Harrisburg, said. "Remember, Donald Trump is all about the art of the deal . . . bringing people together to make things happen."

During the campaign, Trump emphasized jobs, trade, and immigration and vowed to end corruption in Washington and excoriated political and financial elites. Yet his cabinet picks so far are heavy on billionaire businessmen with Wall Street ties and prominent Republicans who advocate policies that seem at odds with his populist message. And the president-elect has made few gestures of conciliation to Democrats.

A poll of voters in 14 states expected to have competitive Senate races next year, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, found widespread opposition to proposals to privatize Medicare being pushed by Trump's choice for Health and Human Services secretary and congressional GOP allies. Conducted for the liberal group Center for American Progress Action Fund, the poll also found ethical concerns about Trump's extensive business ties, with 52 percent of voters in the states saying he needed to do more to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

The survey also found that a majority of all voters - as well as 40 percent of those who said they voted for Trump - want Senate Democrats to act as a brake on the new president's power. Already, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York has vowed to obstruct policies and appointees that Democrats consider too conservative. Trump called him "head clown" in a tweet.

"If his policies are not true to the populist themes of his campaign, it will be impossible for him to unite the country," pollster Geoff Garin said. "You have to find issues that fundamentally represent common ground."

Last week, as Republicans were moving to eliminate an independent ethics agency that polices members of the House, Trump weighed in with a tweet condemning the idea, part of the outpouring of public opposition that caused the lawmakers to reverse course.

"It's not entirely clear how or if he'll remake the party, but he's going to have to be careful to piece together coalitions in the party issue by issue," Leckrone said. "People would have been there from the beginning if he were more conventional a Republican."

That makes Trump hard to predict, but also helps him position himself "above politics," Leckrone said.

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@tomfitzgerald

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