Michael Avenatti is no Donald Trump. Not even close.

Michael Avenatti was ...

Posted: Aug 14, 2018 9:06 AM
Updated: Aug 14, 2018 9:06 AM

Michael Avenatti was in Iowa this weekend. Because he is thinking, actively, about running for president. Of the United States. Which is something we have to take seriously. Because Donald Trump is president.

Or something.

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The logic goes like this: Trump was a businessman who had never run for office before but was famous for being on TV. Avenatti, who, in case you haven't watched cable TV in the past few months (shame!) is porn star Stormy Daniels' lawyer, has also never run for political office before and is famous for being on TV.

Avenatti himself is drawing comparisons between himself and Trump, insisting that the only way Democrats can hope to beat this most unconventional of presidents is with his own medicine. "I think there's a huge appetite within the party for a fighter," Avenatti said in Iowa. "I think the party has yearned for a fighter -- a fighter for good, if you will -- for a significant period of time. And for many, I'm probably seen as that individual."

Here's the thing: I know Donald Trump. I have covered Donald Trump. And you, Michael Avenatti, are no Donald Trump.

Like it or not, Trump had been a symbol of wealth, success and, yes, excess for decades prior to even considering a run for president. "Art of the Deal" was a huge bestseller. "The Apprentice" and "The Celebrity Apprentice" were on broadcast TV every week for years. (I was struck by just how known Trump was for being rich and famous when I was watching the re-make of "The Little Rascals" with my kids. Trump is in that! And guess who he plays? The father of the rich kid! Sidebar to the sidebar: Trump is also in "Home Alone 2" -- where he plays himself.)

Trump's ubiquity -- and what he symbolized to large swaths of the country -- was central to his rise as a candidate. Trump had been selling the idea of being as rich and successful and famous as he was for years and years. While the political class rolled their eyes at the idea that Trump could be taken seriously as a candidate, for lots and lots of people it made perfect sense. Trump succeeded in everything he did, so why not this?

Avenatti is not that person. In fact, he's the opposite of Trump. He is someone that people in the political class know and know well due to the fact that he is constantly on cable TV. But the average person has no clue who Avenatti is. In a Quinnipiac University poll in June, nearly three quarters of those tested said they didn't know enough about Avenatti to offer an opinion on him. Of those who did have a view on Avenatti, it was very much mixed; 12% approved of him while 14% disapproved.

Trump is also, for all of his boasts, very, very wealthy. Like, billionaire wealthy. And while he didn't spend anywhere near as much of his personal money as he said he would, Trump did wind up writing checks totaling $66 million for his campaign. From the little we know about Avenatti's finances, he doesn't appear to have anywhere near that sort of money. And in order to anywhere close to as well-known as Trump was on the day he descended that golden (gilded) escalator in the lobby of Trump Tower would take tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars.

The one commonality that Avenatti does have with Trump is that he makes for good TV. The camera likes him, and he has a very strong innate sense of how, when and where to make news. And it is a possibility that Trump fundamentally changed the game in 2016 when it comes to how much media exposure matters. If Avenatti can command the same sort of attention in the early days of the 2020 campaign that Trump did in the early days of the 2016 race, it's possible that his name identification with actual voters could soar in a relatively brief period of time and without a huge expenditure of money.

That could happen. And I *could* dunk a basketball at age 42.

But simply because something is mathematically possible doesn't mean it will happen. And the reality is that, for all of his obvious and, at the time, not-so-obvious problems, the simple fact is that Trump was a far more credible national candidate than Avenatti. People knew him. Many of them admired him for his wealth, his fame, the beautiful women he always seemed to have on his arm. That's simply not the case for Avenatti. People don't know him -- and those that do don't think all that much of him.

Could Avenatti, taking advantage of a presidential nominating process forever changed by Trump, emerge as a real candidate for the Democratic nomination? I doubt it highly, but sure! If he does, however, it's not because he's the Democratic Donald Trump: He's not.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 250869

Reported Deaths: 5481
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17010171
Hinds16091318
Harrison13250193
Rankin10629208
Jackson10216182
Lee8759141
Madison8186161
Jones6222109
Forrest5917118
Lauderdale5808180
Lowndes5309111
Lafayette491192
Lamar480465
Washington4770123
Bolivar3955106
Oktibbeha390380
Panola365076
Pontotoc361152
Monroe3521104
Warren344597
Union341458
Marshall339165
Neshoba3357152
Pearl River323295
Leflore2992105
Lincoln295685
Sunflower280469
Tate269560
Alcorn262653
Itawamba261159
Hancock260458
Pike259977
Scott244745
Prentiss244052
Yazoo242654
Tippah239749
Copiah239149
Simpson233967
Leake229564
Coahoma228554
Grenada217070
Covington210471
Marion208371
Adams203270
Winston199464
Wayne198730
George197938
Attala193158
Newton189142
Chickasaw182944
Tishomingo182159
Holmes168167
Jasper167735
Clay158233
Stone141520
Tallahatchie139234
Clarke137460
Calhoun135121
Smith119423
Yalobusha116134
Walthall111736
Noxubee110222
Greene109129
Montgomery109134
Carroll104121
Lawrence102117
Perry100531
Amite96825
Webster91924
Tunica86021
Claiborne85525
Jefferson Davis84025
Humphreys82624
Benton81023
Kemper76620
Quitman6838
Franklin65815
Choctaw60013
Wilkinson58325
Jefferson53419
Sharkey42417
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 420681

Reported Deaths: 6119
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson61755921
Mobile30058548
Madison26852186
Tuscaloosa20652266
Montgomery18876305
Shelby18421114
Baldwin16176182
Lee12393101
Morgan12175113
Etowah11687168
Calhoun11078200
Marshall10158107
Houston8556148
Cullman7999105
Limestone796274
Elmore7783101
DeKalb767197
Lauderdale752883
St. Clair7502120
Talladega6145108
Walker5880174
Jackson578841
Colbert529873
Blount529283
Autauga515455
Coffee438156
Dale394381
Franklin365248
Chilton335365
Covington326968
Russell326810
Escambia316142
Dallas302896
Chambers281869
Clarke279633
Tallapoosa2607107
Pike247629
Marion244650
Lawrence242547
Winston225535
Bibb214447
Geneva199535
Marengo197829
Pickens196231
Hale175442
Barbour172336
Butler168458
Fayette167126
Cherokee160030
Henry152721
Monroe145017
Randolph138835
Washington137026
Clay126145
Crenshaw118644
Lamar117519
Cleburne117223
Macon114335
Lowndes109535
Wilcox102621
Bullock98728
Perry96919
Conecuh94220
Sumter88826
Greene75723
Coosa60515
Choctaw51224
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