Let me quote from an NBC story about Avenatti’s recent trip to Iowa to address Democratic activists there. Tell me if this sounds familiar.

“Michael is very effective because he’s like a Democratic version of Trump — brash, tough, knows how to fight,” Betras told NBC News. “He’s got the microphone right now and the swagger. You either have it or you don’t. He does, and he’s effective.”…

Other Iowa Democrats appeared energized — the dinner sold more than 400 tickets in the week after Avenatti’s attendance was confirmed. With other 2020 hopefuls seemingly reluctant to draw attention to themselves at this early stage, there was an opening for a newcomer like Avenatti, and “he did a darn good job,” Black added…

“Ordinarily, a Joe Biden-type of person would’ve been my candidate, but what he said tonight was exactly what I thought before I came,” said Mary Pat Cole, who attended the dinner. “We do need a fighter and he could stand up to Trump.”

A “brash,” swaggering celebrity newbie hits the campaign trail and surprises establishmentarians by connecting with hyperpartisan party activists, entranced by his willingness to fightfightfight with the other side. The boring professional candidates all sing from the “better angels of our nature” hymnbook, but not him. He’s out there urging the faithful to indulge their fondest political wish — to wind up and kick the enemy right in the balls.

You can only go so far running on gimmicky shtick like that, right?

Avenatti knows, though, just as Trump did that you can’t run on fightfightfight alone. Trump’s core brand was “political incorrectness” but he was also the candidate of stronger borders and protectionism. There needs to be a little policy crust supporting the gooey culture-warrior filling of a candidacy. So here’s Avenatti baking the crust.

Between this, the reaction he got in Iowa, and his own overweening ego, I feel like we’re maybe two days away from him starting to sign his tweets “46.”

Most of his platform — single-payer, assault-weapons ban, abortion uber alles — is predictable Democratic dreck. A few elements, notably declining to call for the abolition of ICE, are mildly surprising. I wonder if that’s strategy or if he’s still so unlikely to run once the real candidates start announcing that he sees no downside to giving his honestly held views on the issues here. He may have concluded, correctly, that he’ll never be first choice for the sort of leftist who cares passionately about abolishing rather than reforming immigration enforcement. His target audience isn’t ideologues, after all, just as Trump’s target audience wasn’t ideologues. His target audience is television-watchers, who are apt to be a bit less radical in their politics. He’s staying on the left’s good side by calling for “Medicare for all” while positioning a bit more centrist on a culture-war hot button.

Here I pause to note that having to contemplate the nuances in the electoral strategy of Stormy Daniels’s lawyer, knowing that he really might be a player in 2020, makes me want to drink Windex.

Anyway, the policy stuff is window dressing. Avenatti’s core appeal is the same as Trump’s, the guy who tells you you’re not wrong to feel the way you do about the other team and, if anything, you should dislike them more than you already do. “When they go low, I say hit back harder” can’t be beat as a summa of political attitudes in America 2018:

Avenatti, said former Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), is “tapping into a Democratic rage that Trump must be defeated and it doesn’t matter how.”

“They think the low blow beat the high ground in 2016,” Israel said, adding that Trump has created “an electorate that is angrier, nastier and more desperate.”…

“We have no other choice,” said one political strategist who has been having preliminary conversations with candidates about running for the presidency. “You can’t kill him with kindness. That doesn’t work. So you have to go the other way.”

“We have no other choice” is another good 2018 snapshot. Everyone wants to kick the enemy in the nuts, no one wants to admit that they enjoy nut-kicking.

Via the Free Beacon, here’s 46 trying to establish a little next-gen cred by calling for new Democratic leadership in Congress. The best part is when he says the party will be making a critical mistake if it nominates the person who’d make the best president. A half-joking prediction in closing: Omarosa’s going to retain this guy to defend her from the Trump campaign’s attempt to enforce its NDA with her. It seems too absurd to happen, but when you realize that both she and Avenatti for different reasons are hellbent on antagonizing Trump it makes perfect sense. What would make more sense than his least favorite White House deputy teaming up with his least favorite lawyer?