KOKOMO – The Trump reelection strategy is playing out quite nicely at this point. The little fish in the Democrat Party and the big fish in the national media have all taken the bait, hook, line and sinker.

While I personally find much of the president’s antics and histrionics objectionable, if you are a student of politics, you must admire the audacity in carrying out the slash-and-burn strategy of divide and conquer that Mr. Trump is using to be reelected.

With an economy humming along on all eight cylinders, the only way any Democratic opponent is going to make any headway against the president is by having a serious discussion on a wide range of substantive issues ranging from our national debt to income inequality to healthcare. President Trump has effectively been able to reduce 18 Democratic candidates, the rudderless Democrats in the House of Representatives and the Democrats in the Senate to a state of sniveling blather that oscillates between wild promises of a bag of free goodies to impeachment for the offense of non-collusion collusion.

At this point in the 2020 campaign – and admittedly we are in the early innings of this ballgame – President Trump has his opponents right where he wants them.  

We saw a similar strategy play out in 2016 as candidate Donald Trump reduced a pretty talented bunch of Republican presidential candidates to a pile of rubble by mocking them and their views. From taunting “Little Marco” Rubio’s “big ears” to pondering aloud whether Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the JFK assassination, Trump delighted his faithful followers and rode the wagon of ridicule to the Republican nomination.

It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t nice. It wasn’t fair. But, it was highly effective.

Now we see President Trump using the gang of four led by the dynamic future of the Democrat Party, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as hapless foils in his 2020 strategy of dismemberment of serious Democratic opposition. He takes the inane, misinformed, anti-American, anti-Semitic ramblings of four Democratic neophytes and by association tars and feathers the entire Democratic presidential field.  

Instead of the nightly news being focused on the pablum of healthcare for all or “free” tuition, we are treated to rants about what the president said or didn’t say in his latest tweet. No candidate gets traction and the beat goes on.

While President Trump’s reelection strategy may be working, I worry about the implications of this strategy on future elections and the direction of our country. Frankly, I’m not sure that our country can take another four years of the divisiveness and acrimony that we have today.  

When the monster of hate escapes Pandora’s box, you may find it impossible to return it to its rightful home. My personal observation is that the American public is becoming increasingly sick and tired of the daily discord. While some folks like the constant combat, Joe Sixpack is becoming jaundiced and jaded. You simply can’t keep people on a knife’s edge for four years and not expect a considerable number to hoist the white flag. I love politics, but I absolutely am sickened by our current state of affairs. I assign no blame to anyone. We get the government and environment that we deserve.

One can’t help but be a little sorry for our children. For generation after generation of Americans, we’ve raised our children to respect both the office and the occupant of the presidency. Year after year, historically, the president has polled as one of the most respected people by our children. That trend has faded.  

What parent in their right mind would want their child to grow up to be exactly like Donald Trump? From the sexual escapades, to the tall tales, to the bullying, most parents would pull back in horror at the thought that little Johnny or Joanie had turned out to be just like the president.  I raised four children and I think I would have walloped any one of them who behaved like the president.

This current state of domestic discord is not good for our standing in the world. The United States leads the world best when we lead it from a position of respect. How can we expect the world to respect us when we don’t even respect each other?

At this point you may think that I’ve given up completely on President Donald Trump. I haven’t. As long as his principal opponents are nothing but a ragtag assembly of socialists and social engineers, there is no alternative but to reelect the president. We are better off today economically, judicially and militarily than we were four years ago. Unemployment is at rock bottom for all demographic groups and incomes are rising. This is generally the stuff that earns you a second term.

The age-old challenge for anyone elected to the presidency has been that you must run for office in a manner that allows you to govern after the election. Unless the president has a strategy of running his second term with the executive order as his only ally, he should be mindful that the people you destroy today are the people that you must work with tomorrow. That is a downright scary thought.

I once watched a basketball game that was won by a score of 13-8. The winning team won the tip off and immediately went to a four corner offense. They only took one shot in the entire first quarter. It was boring, irritating, infuriating and detrimental to the game of basketball. It was an effective strategy on that evening, but left the taste of liver in your mouth. Of course, the shot clock was introduced to kill the four corner strategy for all time.

Here’s hoping that the coaches and players in the 2020 election will play the game as intended and that the spectators won’t storm the floor to get the winner they desire. 

Dunn is the former chairman of the Howard County Republican Party.