Wednesday, 1 Apr 2020

Opinion | Is David Axelrod Right? Let Trump Beat Trump?

To the Editor:

David Axelrod offers a strategy, “Let Trump Destroy Trump” (Op-Ed, Sept. 12), but his discussion was short on specific tactics that the Democratic Party can use. One such tactic would be to refuse to debate President Trump.

We live in a time when longstanding norms have been smashed or set aside at unprecedented rates. The norm of holding presidential debates should be questioned by the president’s opponents.

The 2016 presidential debates devolved into name-calling and outright lying, leaving fields of detritus for the fact checkers to clean up, but the damage was already done. A Democratic National Committee decision to eschew these debates with Mr. Trump, deferring instead to media events with the individual candidates, will allow the primary candidates to campaign on their policies and individual abilities, not their macho characteristics. It will also deprive Mr. Trump of an opportunity to tear down opponents based not on substance, but on craft and stage presence — in other words, street fighting.

This will afford the public a better opportunity to cast their votes for the most qualified candidate based upon the issues.

David Berwald
Delray Beach, Fla.

To the Editor:

While I thoroughly agree with David Axelrod in his assessment of President Trump, he neglects one factor. I honestly believe that what will beat Mr. Trump is the exhaustion factor. Every single week, there are at least two, sometimes three, new dramas to deal with, along with multiple tweets of insults and sometime lies.

I have a life. You have a life. We all have important things to accomplish and deal with daily. This weekly reality show is not on my list and, I believe, is not on the list of more and more people each day.

His endless need for attention is disturbing and downright intrusive. We need a government that works for us and keeps us informed of issues, not spats, not insults, not anger. Mr. Trump is running America like his very own therapy session. America needs solutions, not endless, tiresome controversy and cheesy drama.

Margot LeRoy
Gig Harbor, Wash.

To the Editor:

David Axelrod’s article cites many of President Trump’s shortcomings, but seems to suggest that we, the Democrats, need do nothing — in essence rely on Mr. Trump to self-destruct. Wishful thinking. None of his outrageous gaffes seem to affect his base.

I believe there is a far more effective approach: the use of ridicule. Openly laughing at him will drive him nuts and prod him into self-destructive actions and statements.

My only concern is that the Democratic nominee doesn’t himself or herself self-destruct with widely unpopular proposals that outshine Mr. Trump’s failings. Like all of my liberal friends, I’m horrified by what I’ve seen during the Democratic Party debates.

In the election, Democrats have five winning issues: climate change, health care, income inequality, Russian interference in our elections and the abomination currently occupying the White House. Instead of focusing on these issues, most of the candidates are focused on well-meaning but absolutely unsalable and self-defeating positions on health care for all, immigration and reparations for descendants of slaves. And tearing one another apart, to the delight of the Republicans.

Irwin Cohen
New York

To the Editor:

Hear, hear! The wise opponent should just repeat President Trump’s crass comments in a debate. Just as a start: “I don’t think it’s O.K. to say white supremacists are ‘fine people.’ I don’t think it’s O.K. to let your supporters chant ‘send her back’ about an elected representative of our country. I don’t think it’s O.K. to say I’d accept information on my opponent from a foreign government. I don’t think it’s O.K. to call a war hero a coward. I don’t think it’s O.K. to say you can grab a woman by her privates.”

Just let the words speak for themselves.

Amy Siroky
Arroyo Grande, Calif.

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