It’s only been a few weeks since an Avenatti candidacy has evolved into a more likely scenario, and the knives are already out of the drawer, sharpened and ready to slice. The character assassinations are promptly underway against one of the most vocal figures currently fighting for Democratic values. And then there is the Republican reaction to Avenatti.
When will the stakes be high enough to unite the Democratic party? If not now, then when? We’re still raw from the Bernie / Hillary division and cannot afford a repeat in 2020. The split involves the tactics, not the goals of the Democratic party. When Michelle Obama famously declared that “When they go low, we go high”, she could not have foreseen what would unfold over the next two years. I question whether she would give the same advice now. Avenatti’s approach, “When they go low, we hit harder” resonates with many Democrats who feel the time to turn the other cheek has long passed.
Over the last two years, Democrats have been split over whether to fight or acquiesce. When Sarah Sanders was politely asked to leave The Red Hen restaurant, the party was divided. Half of the party backed The Red Hen, the other half called for “civility.” When the Colorado baker refused to bake a themed wedding cake for a gay couple, the reds rallied behind him. They crafted their talking points, and everybody immediately jumped on the same page. Is this political tribalism or party unity? A little of both. And while not ideal or an overall aspiration, both would be helpful in our current predicament, considering the alternative.
The Al Franken sword-falling event was another occasion that split the blues. Same for Maxine Waters calling for more vocal action. Now is the time to chart a thoughtful course that does not include disparaging fellow Democratic candidates. To all those balking at a potential Avenatti 2020 run, advising him to “get more experience” or “go for AG”, you are missing the point entirely.
Avenatti had no aspirations of running for president or any other political office before our current Trump debacle. An Avenatti candidacy only makes sense in one scenario, and that is to specifically counter the “Trump factor”. If Trump runs again in 2020, so will Avenatti. If Trump for whatever reason doesn’t run in 2020, neither will Avenatti. The logic is that a traditional career politician is no match for Trump in this contest.
If circumstances led to a conventional Republican opponent in 2020, Avenatti would drop out and leave it to the Democrats to counter with our own traditional career politician. The arguments against Avenatti for lack of experience would be valid in any other race, just not this one. There is no point for Avenatti to campaign for any other position, he would be running specifically as the Trump anti-venom. Comparisons of Avenatti to Trump like those made by Rep. Swalwell are ludicrous and unhelpful. Trump and Avenatti are polar opposites aside from their media savvy outsider status and tenacious approach. I’ll bet the pair don’t seem too similar when imagining a 7-2 Trump Supreme Court scenario.
Trump was in a unique position to enter the presidency as a political virgin. For the first time in history, a man completely unbeholden to Washington stepped into the most powerful position in the world. This must have been terrifying for those on the hill, but they needn’t have worried. Trump turned out to be more of the same, aside from a few tweets and tantrums. Drug company executives and bankers can all breathe easy, Trump has squandered his opportunity to forward truly progressive reform. Political experience is an obvious plus, but inexperience is not the culprit for our current predicament. Scroll way down the list of Trump caveats and inexperience might crack the top 10. Maybe.
Any potential 2020 candidates, the Democratic party needs you to guide us towards solidarity. “Friendly” fire must cease immediately. There is too much at stake at this moment to indulge in anything less than a total discipline of unity. We beg of you to all meet up in a secret lair and pledge allegiance to the party and for which it stands. Make a pact, and sign it in blood. Pinky promise each other that you will not disparage a fellow Democrat. If we can do this, we might just win and get our country back.