Michael Avenatti appears to be serious about running for president. He was in New Hampshire over the weekend talking to Democrats, helping them raise money, and laying groundwork for a 2020 campaign in the state which holds the nation’s first primary.
He was the main speaker at a Democratic Party event Sunday and roused the crowd in much the same way that he did in Iowa last week.
He also clarified that this is not a lark, telling reporters that “I’m absolutely being serious” as he mulls a run for the 2020 Democratic nomination.
Pushing back against charges that his political testing of the waters is a publicity stunt, Avenatti said,
“I’m not going to go out and do this and give speeches like this and talk to people on some lark. I’m going to seriously consider this because the 2020 election is a critical election, I would venture to say the most critical in modern times.”
Asked how he would take the fight to the president, a confident Avenatti claimed, “Donald Trump doesn’t want to debate me on a national stage. That’s for sure. There’s no question about that.”
“I think he’s a bully and I think he doesn’t like people who punch back and I think I’d be incredibly effective against him,” Avenatti added. “I don’t think he’s very quick on his feet. I don’t think he’s that intelligent and I think he’d be completely outclassed.”
He also had a message to other potential Democratic White House hopefuls. He said:
“The 2020 election is going to be a brutal, knockdown, street fight, and if someone’s not up for that type of campaign, they need to stay home and not seek the nomination.”
As a top trial attorney who has won many large lawsuits, Avenatti believes he is the person the Democratic Party needs to represent them in a street fight with Trump and the GOP.
During his speech Avenatti repeatedly took aim at Trump, getting huge applause in response to remarks such as:
“Donald Trump does not have the knowledge, wisdom, compassion or fortitude to serve as president of the United States.”
“I don’t think President Trump is very quick on his feet. I don’t think he’s that intelligent and I think he’d be completely outclassed.”
“This president, no matter how corrupt or cruel he is, he knows how to fight. And Democrats have a tendency to bring nail clippers to a gunfight.”
“I believe that our party, the Democratic Party, must be a party that fights fire with fire. I believe we cannot be the party of turning the other cheek.”
He also repeated a phrase which has become his tag line, saying:
“When they (Republicans) go low, we hit harder.”
In the ending to his speech he fired up the crowd by saying:
“We will make America gracious again. We will make America fair again. We will make America dynamic again. We will make America respected. And above all else, we will make America America again.”
Avenatti also said that as president, he would support Medicare for All, ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, and “sensible gun control in America.” He also said, “We should never have another school shooting on U.S. soil.”
Clearly Michael Avenatti sees himself as a traditional liberal who has what it takes to beat Donald Trump while promoting the Democratic Party agenda. His early campaign stops have generated a large amount of interest and enthusiasm on the part of Democratic voters. Democrats are afraid of what Donald Trump is doing to the country, while also being desperate for change. Democrats are looking for a winner, and according to Michael Avenatti, he is that person.
In some ways it’s hard to believe that the 2020 presidential race has already begun when the 2018 midterm elections have not even happened yet. Most 2020 contenders will wait until after November before making their moves. Avenatti has gotten the jump on the others, and it remains to be seen whether or not it will pay off for him in the end.
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.