By BRIAN A. HOWEY

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. - The trifecta of plagues afflicting an unsettled America were all evident as we headed toward Labor Day. Americans were witnessing massacres, an epic Category 5 hurricane and the death of a young California Angels pitcher due to fentanyl and oxycodone, yet another reminder of the opioid scourge that has yet to be quelled.

It comes as the Real Clear Politics  composite national right/wrong track stands at a sour 36.3/56.7%. President Trump's RCP  composite job approval stands at 42.8 approve and 54.1% disapprove. Recent presidential election polls revealed he could not register above 40% against any of the top five Democratic contenders. Despite a robust economy and record low unemployment, President Trump is not benefiting from these economic tailwinds and, in fact, a new round of tariffs he imposed on China today further enmesh American farmers and manufacturers in a trade war likely to extend beyond the 2020 election.

Yet another mass shooting occurred on Saturday in Texas, killing at least seven and injuring 19 in a traffic stop rampage stretching from Midland to Odessa. It was the 17th such incident in the U.S.in 2019, culminating in a bloody August where 51 people were killed.

It has ignited another wave of calls for universal background checks, assault weapon and high-volume magazine bans, and national red flag laws. But Washington remains inert. President Trump appears to be siding with NRA leadership despite polls showing 90% back universal background checks and a Fox News Poll had 75% backing an assault weapon ban.

Hoosier Republicans appear to be embracing a national red flag law after the Indiana version has averted hundreds of potential violent cases. But Republicans like U.S. Rep. Jim Banks and Larry Bucshon suggested that current laws are not being adequately enforced and that background checks would not have prevented the atrocities in El Paso and Dayton.

It has posed this question: Do we just accept a culture where an evolving guerrilla war can be expected to kill and maim hundreds of Americans every year?

The entire southeastern Atlantic coast is mesmerized by Hurricane Dorian with its stunning 175 mph winds, a Category 5 monster that could spread damage from Miami to Nags Head. It could be the third consecutive year where a Category 4 or 5 storm has made landfall or terrorized U.S. populations.

It comes after July was the hottest month on record (replacing July 2016) as climate change has created a scenario of more intense and slow moving storms, high volume rainfall events, and wildfires afflicting the vital Amazon Rain Forest as well as the inter-mountain U.S. West.

If Dorian makes landfall as a major hurricane, this would be the third consecutive year a Category 3 or stronger hurricane has made a U.S. landfall. Harvey, Irma and Maria were major hurricanes at landfall in 2017, followed by Category 5 Michael in 2018 that impacted the Florida Gulf Coast.

The last streak in the U.S. was from 1959 to 1961, nearly 60 years ago.

Finally, autopsy results from the death of 27-year-old Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs revealed he perished due to an overdose of alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone. It came during a summer where Johnson & Johnson and Purdue Pharma have faced legal repercussions measured in the hundreds of billions of dollars in damages. In 2017, an estimated 70,000 Americans died due to opioid overdoses and in Indiana, 29.4 Hoosiers per 100,000 died from opioid overdose.

All of these portend a volatile 2020 election cycle in an election that could join 1800, 1860, 1932 and 1980 as consequential pivot points in the fragile American democracy experiment.