Democratic presidential hopefuls have already started to visit Iowa in advance of possible runs for the presidency in 2020. The latest national figure to find himself pressing the flesh among the cornfields was Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti. The famous trial attorney rose to prominence because of his legal and verbal attacks on President Donald Trump and Michael Cohen.
Since Iowa has the “first in the nation” presidential caucuses it is seen as an important launch pad for presidential campaigns. And Avenatti has made clear he is planning a run for the presidency.
Because of his fame and newfound notoriety the Iowa Democratic Party invited him to be the keynote speaker at their annual fundraising dinner, and he gave the “blue” Democrats some “red meat” to chew on.
In his speech he talked about gun control, healthcare and Trump, saying the Democratic Party “needs a bare-knuckle fighter to take back the White House” and he is the right man for the job.
“What I fear for this Democratic Party that I love is that we have a tendency to bring nail clippers to gunfights,” Avenatti told a fired-up audience in the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake.
“Tonight I want to suggest a different course. I believe that the Democratic Party must be a party that fights fire with fire. When they go low, I say, we hit harder.”
First Lady Michelle Obama’s had declared at the 2016 Democratic Convention, “When they go low, we go high” but Avenatti said that is not a winning message for Democrats. Speaking to reporters, he said: “At that point in time, for what she was speaking about, I think that was the right message. But as we sit here now, that approach clearly will not work.”
The usually combative Avenatti gave a surprisingly traditional political speech, stressing his record as a self-made businessman and an advocate for the underdog. He said he supports “Medicare for all” and “sensible gun control.”
But he also showed the partisan crowd that he is not afraid of Donald Trump and would be a formidable foe for the president. He called Trump a “con man” and said the Trump presidency is a “dumpster fire.”
Avenatti’s trip to the Hawkeye State also included a visit to the state fair and private meetings with key officials from the Iowa Democratic Party, which by all acounts went well. Some of them said that Avenatti’s presence at the fund-raising dinner significantly increased ticket sales.
Avenatti said he plans to visit New Hampshire in the next few weeks and then will return to Iowa. “I’ve learned that the people of Iowa are fairly receptive to me and receptive to my message,” he said.
Donald Trump showed that famous people can be elected president despite a lack of political experience. After his trip to Iowa it appears that Michael Avenatti believes he can do the same thing.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.