The chances of victory for the Democrats in 2018 and 2020 are reduced if opponents of the Republicans and Trump attack him on his  behavior, language and appearance. People who support–or who may support–Republicans running for House and Senate in 2018 are offended by dismissive comments slamming the President on matters tangential to the way he is running the country.

Who knows if James Madison or Abraham Lincoln had dirty fingernails or blew their noses at dinner (behavior not currently attributed to Trump)? And in the decades when the press and the White House were in cahoots to bury the chief executive’s sexual mores, who knows what they had on Trump’s predecessors?

I’m not just talking about the “base” taking offense. Core Trump supporters are often characterized as insensitive, ignorant rubes by the political elites on both coasts. Beliefs these Trump supporters express are not supposed to be correct answers to the SATs or indicia of intelligence or lack of it; what others may think of them is gratuitous and irrelevant because they vote and in 2016 they helped to elect Trump and may do so in 2020 if he runs. And they may reelect a Republican congress in 2018. But there are other supporters who have no respect for many who share the same goals.

Who says that in 2018 and 2020 the Republicans will not attract other voters who have and want nothing to do with those at the outer edges of Trump support? Many thinking and establishment Americans support Trump’s policies even as they decry what some of his supporters say and do.

I am talking about stopping the incessant palaver about Trump’s hair, hands, neckties, syntax, errors of vocabulary and spelling, grandiosity and ego. There are other things about Trump that are criticized.

Attacks on Trump in 2018 and 2020 (if he runs) on substantive issues must be continued as he tries to change American life as we know it. Those essential attacks must be joined by practical, understandable and achievable policies that Democrats must demonstrate will lead to a fair, just, prosperous and secure nation. Both are indispensable if there is to be victory.

The danger in 2018 and 2020 is that the Democrats will be in an orgy of foreordained victory stoked by their conviction that because Trump’s habits and behavior are odd and often repellant, that wins an election for them. It doesn’t.

To be clear, no campaign against Republicans can let Trump off the hook when he lies; initiates policies inimical to the First Amendment; unjustly favors the rich over the poor; desecrates the environment; undermines the public health; makes enemies of our friends and allies abroad;  corruptly enriches himself, his friends and his family in violation of the public trust; undermines federal employees; defames the courts; unfairly wreaks vengeance on those in public office whom he dislikes; libels his political opponents; lacks basic understanding or comprehension of matters of state that come before him; evidences excessive bellicosity endangering the nation; and behaves in his official capacity in a manner that holds the United Staes up to ridicule all over the world.

There’s plenty to fight against–and for–in 2018 and 2020 without condemning Trump’s personal behavior.

Let’s get substantive and lay off necktie length.