There's a hidden hand guiding affairs in the nation's capital and that hand comes from Indiana.
It belongs to Mike Pence, the now-former Hoosier state governor and soon to be vice president of the United States.
While I have been out here working on an independent reporting project and doing two radio shows from NPR's D.C. studios, I've been struck by a disconnect between the near panic among much of the American public about the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency and the quiet serenity of Washington's governing class in response.
During the two shows we did, at least 70 percent of the emails and social media questions and comments expressed either anxiety or outrage about Trump's election.
The nation's power structure doesn't seem to be experiencing the same feelings.
There's a reason for that.
"Mike Pence is going to be the most powerful vice president in our lifetimes – and maybe in the history of the country," longtime Republican political strategist Cam Savage told me.
Recent developments support that.
It can be seen in the news that former U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, R-Indiana, will become Trump's director of national intelligence.
Coats and Pence come from the same part of Indiana's ideological landscape. They're firm social conservatives with strong libertarian leanings at the points of the political spectrum that do not clash with their theological underpinnings. They speak each other's language.
Coats's appointment signals to Congress, which spent a day deriding Trump's dismissal of American intelligence efforts, and other parts of official Washington that they are being heard.
In addition to being a purebred conservative, Coats is also a tenacious, unrelenting advocate for his positions.
Years ago, when I was in D.C. working on a newspaper profile on Coats, I heard story after story from members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate about Coats's ferocious, in-your-face competitiveness. The tales of his play — all sharp elbows, hard drives and, even in middle-age, determined dives to grab loose balls — in pick-up basketball games in the House gym were legendary.
I learned as much when I interviewed him at the time. We went around and around on some relatively minor point, me probing and pushing, him responding with a tight-lipped smile that said, "You can keep trying all you want, but I'm not moving."
The message Coats's appointment sends to the power structure is this: You're upset we have an incoming president who says he doesn't want and won't pay attention to daily intelligence and security briefings. Fine. We'll send in a pit bull to make sure that he must pay attention.
Signs of Pence's hand also can be seen in the move to make Trump's much ballyhooed wall along the Mexican border a congressional decision rather than a presidential one. The move extricates Trump from a tricky political problem – following through on a promise to have Mexico pay for the wall upon which he could not possibly deliver – and removes some of the power to create international incidents from the new president's hands.
Pence's performance thus far has been remarkable, in large part because it reveals a disciplined willingness to stay out of the spotlight many people — including me — doubted was part of his makeup.
When Pence was governor, his press operation became the subject of jibes for sending out news releases and announcements for even the most trivial developments. If the governor said gesundheit to a sneezing senior citizen at a photo op, we journalists were sure to get an alert about the incident.
In this new role, though, Pence has willingly faded into the background. Sensitive to the fact that he serves a chief who seeks the limelight the way a junkie craves his next fix, Pence has been willing to tame his own need to be noticed. Instead, he works quietly, reassuring members of the Congress in which he once served that everything will be okay, that he will be the ears for a president who never stops talking long enough to listen.
That's why official Washington is so calm about the prospect of a Trump presidency.
They see Trump as a wild horse who has been haltered, corralled and who soon will be tamed.
The horse whisperer is from Indiana. His name is Mike Pence.
In the waning days of the presidential campaign, when he thought he was likely to lose, President-elect Donald Trump routinely complained that the system was "rigged."
He was right — but it's rigged to benefit him and the Americans he represents.
Angry Hillary Clinton supporters and other activists have focused their ire on the Electoral College. They point to the fact that Clinton won more than 2 million more popular votes than Trump did and they say that the Electoral College perverts the will of the people.
They want to see it abolished — or reformed so that the winner of the popular vote always wins the election.
There's another way to solve this problem they ought to consider, because the problem is larger than the presidency.
The Electoral College's total of 535 votes reflects the membership of the two branches of Congress, the 100 U.S. senators and the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Originally, the different sizes of the memberships of the Senate and the House were supposed to reflect the two chambers' different purposes. The fact that every state, however small or large, had the same number of senators — two — was supposed to reflect the fact that each state had the same standing within the federal government.
The House, on the other hand, was supposed to reflect the voice of the people. That's why it was called "the people's house." And its membership was supposed to grow as the population of the United States grew.
That's the way it worked until the 1920s.
Then, amid rising concerns in rural states about waves of immigration from Europe filling cities, Congress decided to change its system of apportionment. It capped the membership of the House of Representatives at 435.
And, except for temporary expansions when Alaska and Hawaii became states, that's the way it's stayed since 1929.
The effect has been to give voters in less-populated and rural states an increasingly disproportionate voice not just in terms of who occupies the Oval Office or who sits in the U.S. Senate, but who rules the House of Representatives.
The people's house.
In 1929, the year the cap was installed, America had a population of slightly more than 90 million people. Most Americans then lived in the country or in small towns.
Now, we are a nation of slightly more than 325 million, and roughly 63 percent of us live in urban areas.
That change isn't reflected in our system of selecting the president, U.S. senators or members of the House of Representatives.
The fact that our government isn't set up to represent the will of the majority any longer has had unfortunate effects.
The first is that it has undermined confidence in the idea that all Americans have the same voice in their country's affairs. The brutal fact is that a Wyoming resident's vote is worth more — much more — proportionately than that of a resident of California, Texas, New York or Florida.
This leads to the second problem.
Because small states and a minority of Americans have more weight within the system than they should, time and again we see concerns that matter to a majority of Americans — gun violence, affordable health care, income inequality — shoved aside or ignored.
We are supposed to be a nation in which the will of the majority prevails while the rights of the minority are protected.
Now, though, we live in a country in which we live, in the words of a friend of mine, under the tyranny of the minority while the will of the majority is ignored.
The solution to this is go back to the old system and have the membership of the House of Representatives keep pace with population growth — to make it the people's house once more. The Senate could remain as the bulwark of small states' interests and prerogatives.
And have the Electoral College continue to reflect the membership of the two chambers of Congress.
Some will argue that increasing the House's membership would make things more unwieldy and add to the federal government's dysfunction.
Maybe, but it's also possible that a reconstituted House would see its mission as implementing the people's will rather than thwarting it.
That would be a welcome change.