A panel of well-known Mainers tried Monday night to explain how Donald Trump got elected president and what the next four years under his leadership could mean for Maine and America.

More than 100 people rattled by the brash billionaire’s victory on Nov. 8 filled the pews at the First Parish Church in Portland to hear their views.

The panel included Maine Attorney General Janet Mills, a Democrat; Severin Beliveau, a co-founding partner of the Preti Flaherty law firm who served as chairman of the Maine Democratic Party in the late 1960s; Maine Sunday Telegram columnist and author Alan Caron, a progressive; and Republican consultant Lance Dutson, a former media director for U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and the founder of Get Maine Right.

The panelists said they doubt that Trump can fulfill some of the promises he made during the hard-fought and bitter presidential campaign.

“Lots of candidates make grandiose statements to get elected,” Caron said. “But history tells us that actually doing the job is a whole lot different than standing in front of a crowd and telling them what they want to hear.”

Mills, who has been at odds with Republican Gov. Paul LePage on a number of issues, told the audience she has no idea what Trump will do next.

“His tenure is going to be very unpredictable,” Mills said. She said she worries that he may try to use his executive powers to undo the Paris climate accord and other landmark accomplishments of the Obama administration. “He may think he has been elected king, but he is not a king.”

Before the panel discussion began, moderator Ralph Carmona asked the audience to observe a moment of silence for award-winning PBS journalist Gwen Ifill, who died Monday at the age of 61.

“When Ralph asked for a moment of silence, I thought it was because of the election,” Beliveau joked.

Beliveau said he believes that Trump, who will be inaugurated on Jan. 20, will begin to back off from some of his hard-line positions as he becomes accustomed to serving as president.

“Time will tell, but I think you will see a softening of his positions. When you start to deal with reality, at some point you move to the center,” Beliveau said.

Dutson, the co-founder of Red Hill Strategies, has served as an adviser and strategist on a wide array of federal and state political campaigns, including for Republicans Collins and Charlie Summers in Maine and U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire. He once served as the chief executive officer of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, a think tank that has helped shape policy platforms for Republican state legislators and for LePage.

Dutson said he did not vote for Trump.

“We elected our own personal Donald Trump twice,” Dutson said, referring to the brash styles that LePage and Trump have in common.

“The most disturbing part of this election was that hope was gone. Instead, there was just a lot of fear,” Dutson said.

Beliveau said that in the presidential election Maine and the nation witnessed “a rebellion against the establishment. Too many people are feeling marginalized.”

Several audience members said they were alarmed by Trump’s behavior toward women and his threats to deport illegal immigrants, and concerned about how leaders of foreign countries will view him.

That prompted Caron to observe that whenever a society is under “duress” and its economy is failing, it tends to bring out the worst in people.

“That society develops a lot of anger and the worst elements of a society come to the fore,” Caron said. “All the things we saw, the worst part of society, was elevated in this race.”