Generally, ignoring the advice of former First Lady Michelle Obama sounds like a wise course of action, but the particular piece of advice that much-in-the-news attorney Michael Avenatti is urging Democrats to reject is her admonition “When they go low, we go high.”
Avenatti, who has hinted broadly that he is considering a run for the presidency in 2020, made what the New York Times is calling his “first big speech as a prospective candidate” Friday, delivering the “keynote speech … at the Democratic Wing Ding, a party fund-raiser in northern Iowa.”
The attorney, known for his brashness, told the crowd, “We must be a party that fights fire with fire. When they go low, I say hit back harder.” It doesn’t have quite the same ring as Mrs. Obama’s adage, but, according to the Times, it was met with cheers.
Noting that “at times, his language verged on apocalyptic,” Times writer Maggie Astor quote Avenatti as further having observed that the Democratic Party is “fighting for no less than the survival of our republic [and against] a man that wants to turn back the hands of time, to send us back to the Dark Ages. … [W]e must honestly ask ourselves whether those that we fight for can afford our gentleness.”
Putting aside the overblown rhetoric, Avenatti’s bare-knuckled approach sounds a lot like Donald Trump’s M.O. in the GOP primary and, later, the general election. The two men, moreover, are similar in demeanor, and both share an appetite for being in the limelight.
The two questions that arises, therefore, are:
- Is the Democratic Party ready to embrace its own version of Trump? They have already tried swearing like dock workers ostensibly in imitation of Trump, which suggests an interest in beating him at his own game. Of course, with all the criticism they have heaped on Trump the man for his coarseness, they might look just a tad hypocritical if they lined up behind his mirror image.
- Can a Trump knock-off beat the real thing? Put in other words, is Avenatti up to the task of out-Trumping Trump? From what we have seen of him so far, the answer seems to be no, though a contest of this type sure would be fun to watch.