There’s a saying in the wide world of sports, “the best defense is a good offense.”
Adversaries who attack instead of fortify and wait have the advantage.
Given the kind of man, and president, that Donald Trump is, you can bet that his campaign will adhere to that competitive philosophy. He will go on offense early and often. Nevertheless, a defensive posture is baked-in for a champion, at least conceptually. In game terminology, the team that holds the trophy is “defending the title.” For President Trump, the titleholder in this electoral go-round, both offense and defense will come into play as he seeks to win a second term.
For all Trump’s propensity to go on offense, often with some preemptive gesture like his successful July 4th military tribute, one of his singular maneuvers is to punch back harder when attacked, a classic defensive tactic.
One example of this came when MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski began stridently criticizing Trump soon after his election. Trump’s blow-by-blow of how the pair tried to crash a post-election party has been called out as fabricated and decried on both sides of the political aisle. But it served notice that anyone attacking Trump in a way that he deems unfair may face an extremely lurid counterattack.
Trump has also shown prodigious talent with political “rope-a-dope.” As part of a fallback defensive strategy, heavyweight boxing champ Muhammad Ali lured lumbering challenger Joe Frazier to the perimeter of the ring, where “Smokin’ Joe” fell prey to a flurry of brutal counterpunches. Trump rope-a-doped the Democrats with his threat to dump illegal immigrants in sanctuary cities, exposing the NIMBY hypocrisy of Speaker Pelosi and leftists who want to give invading migrants untrammeled rights, as long as they’re kept outside of the elitists’ gated enclaves.
As the 2020 race shakes out between now and next July (at this juncture it looks bad for the Democratic Socialists), Trump will hone both his offense and defense in quest of a second term.
Policywise and diplomatically, in terms of the economy, foreign affairs and the general state of the union, Trump is racking up touchdowns, home runs, and slam dunks. Despite desperate Democrat measures to defend against the GOP quarterback running up the score, more scoring is in the pipeline—particularly on the issue a majority of citizens now agree is of paramount importance: immigration. By all accounts, bold moves are in the offing to deal with the border crisis.
Meanwhile, offensively, the Democrat left will continue to throw everything they’ve got at him, which is to say pretty much nothing besides unhinged TDS and the ignominious echoes of a failed Deep State coup attempt. Because of the nature of this unrelenting attack mode, great defensive gamesmanship must have its essential place in the Trump campaign playbook.
As the early Democrat debates made obvious, there is a dearth of talent on hand—no Bill Clinton or Barack Obama to rise off the bench, blast through the Trump administration defenses and save the day. In a divided nation where the losing candidate can win the popular vote with New York and California votes, it is fair to posit that there will be no lopsided Trump victory comparable to Ronald Reagan’s landslide reelection in 1984. There will be no clash of grand designs this time around, like there were when JFK narrowly defeated Richard Nixon in 1960. Kennedy and Nixon, though adversaries, can both be considered American patriots.
Contemporary Democrats don’t have a grand design for the country, they have a nefarious one: transforming it into a Third World hellhole in the name of centralized statist power.
There is a great American vision afield, but only one side of the nation’s political class believes in that vision. The other side often seems to revile it.
There will be offense, but to keep making America great, Trump will have to defend his presidency. To continue with our extended sports metaphor, when the Democratic Party is operating with control of the football, at home plate with a bat, or attempting three-pointers from their half of the court, it falls to the president to run on his record, hold them back, and retain the title.
All signs point to a muddy slog, the kind of game that 13-6 NFL playoffs occasionally descend into in stadiums without domes or artificial turf.