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Porn star lawyer for 2020 Democratic nominee? Michael Avenatti makes his case in Tampa

In today's media culture, could a celebrity lawyer, cable news fixture be what the Democrats need?
 
Published Aug. 20, 2018|Updated Aug. 20, 2018

Probably it's only natural that in today's reality TV political culture, a media-savvy porn star lawyer and cable news fixture could be a plausible presidential candidate.

And so it is that Stormy Daniels lawyer Michael Avenatti on Saturday made a last-minute trip to the biggest battleground region of the biggest battleground state to address the Hillsborough Democrats' King-Kennedy gala dinner Saturday night. Avenatti, 47, is exploring a run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, and Saturday's Florida trip was followed Sunday with a New Hampshire appearance. Wednesday he will make his second Iowa appearance in recent weeks.

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result," the California trial lawyer said in an interview before the dinner in Tampa. "I think it's going to take a very unique individual to beat (Donald Trump) in the 2020 election. I don't know yet if I'm that person or not but what I do know is that I think there's going to a very small subset of individuals who can actually beat him. And even saying that I think it's going to be very, very difficult."

Among the prospective Democratic presidential candidates in 2020: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Terry McAuliffe, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Deval Patrick, Chris Murphy, Kirsten Gillibrand, Mitch Landrieu, Sherrod Brown, Steve Bullock, Amy Klobuchar, Howard Schultz, and plenty more.

How in the word, we wondered, could Avenatti compete with someone with the stature of Biden? A former Democratic operative and sometime race car driver who prides himself on his aggressiveness, Avenatti responded by gushing about the 75-year-old former senator and vice president, saying how much he respects him, etc.

And then Avenatti proceeded to make the case:

##"Whoever the nominee is is going to have to speak to that younger generation. When I look at the landscape of the various candidates that might enter the race, I would be the youngest or certainly one of the youngest. I might also note that since 1960 there have been five Democrats elected to the office of the presidency — three of whom were under the age of 50 by the time they were elected. The only two exceptions were LBJ and Jimmy Carter."

##What about governing experience? "The No. 1 priority is who can beat Donald Trump in a general election. You can have all the experience in the world. You can be well-versed in every policy known to mankind. And if you can't beat Donald Trump in a general election, then you don't have any business running."

##He noted his instincts for today's media. "We are in a new age. … Look at how many times we look at our phones, day in and day out. Look at social media. This is changed human behavior, and we're not going to turn back the hands of time ways of running campaigns in 1980 or 1992."

Avenetti has a fair amount of baggage professionally and personally. See here and here and here. He shrugged that off.

"If you show me someone that hasn't had challenges or disputes, I'm going to show you someone that really hasn't been that successful. I'm going to quote Jack Welch, the former chairman and CEO of General Electric. I think he said, 'Behold the monkey, the higher he climbs in the tree the more his a– is exposed.' "