Wrong Message

Michael Avenatti brought the wrong message to the annual picnic of the Hillsborough County Democrats when he told them, in essence, that in order to battle Donald Trump, they had to get down into the gutter with him.

“When they go low, we hit harder,” Avenatti told the Democrats, and they shouldn’t “bring a nail clipper to a gun fight.” Plus, to get the more inclusive, welcoming America they want, Democrats “must be willing to do battle. …”

Some of that could be construed as typical campaign rhetoric, but given everything that Avenatti has been saying for the last several months, as he stuck his face in front of every television camera he could find, it really does seem like a call to go low, get down there in the dirt with Trump.

But how can you have a “more inclusive, welcoming America,” that way? Is Donald Trump’s America inclusive and welcoming? Who feels welcome here other than the people who really don’t want a more inclusive America. Trump certainly doesn’t.

The concept of “He threw a rock, let’s throw a bigger rock,” is playing right into Trump’s hands. If he runs in 2020, he doesn’t want an intelligent discussion. He certainly didn’t want that during his 2016 primary campaign — Lyin’ Ted Cruz, Little Marco Rubio, Low Energy Jeb Bush — nor during his campaign against Hillary Clinton — Crooked Hillary. He’s a name caller, not a thinker. And that’s how Avenatti wants to fight?

There are a couple of potential ways to read that:

1. He doesn’t have a real vision for the country.

2. He doesn’t trust voters to finally say “Enough” to the Trumpian flak of vitriol without thought or reason.

In his talk to the Hillsborough County Democrats, Avenatti mentioned things he was for — affordable college, protection of abortion rights and transgender and women’s rights and Medicare for all.

Who doesn’t? Trump doesn’t, of course, and that’s what Democrats should be pointing out, not playing a “Your mother wears Army shoes” game with a 72-year-old juvenile.

Avenatti’s comment about hitting harder played off Michelle Obama’s “When they go low, we go high.” She understood what it will take to make America a more welcoming and inclusive place.

It would be easy to say Avenatti has no chance of getting the Democratic nomination for president, but we said that about Trump and the GOP. If he were to get it, we’d all be treated to a mud-slinging contest that will further embarrass and humiliate this nation in the eyes of the world.

Trump should have driven away thoughtful voters in 2016 but clearly some must have voted for him. But in the almost two years he’s wreaked harm upon the nation’s highest office, thinking people must have had enough.

Thus, they can’t possibly welcome Avenatti’s rhetoric. We’re not suggesting that Democrats simply play nice. Certainly they can be strong without being Trumpian. They can point out his lies, but without calling him a liar. There is a difference.

And Democrats should differentiate themselves from a president to whom discourse is nothing more than vitriol.

The Hillsborough Democrats brought Avenatti in because he’s a hot property, but only because he’s representing a porn star who says she had sex with Trump. Were it not for Stormy Daniels, Michael Avenatti would be just another very good lawyer making very good money, and that’s fine. He should be satisfied with that.