Remember when Michael Avenatti was the Democrats’ big hope for 2020? He wasn’t just that, though. Parachuting in to launch his presidential campaign to the DNC’s “Ethnic Council” and its black caucus in Chicago in August, he enthusiastically adopted the party’s guiltspeak. “People that look like me, white men, we need to stand up,” he told his minority audience, exactly the kind of cost-free identity-politics self-castigation without which no Democrat can hope to rise very far. In the same month, Avenatti spoke at the “Democratic Wing Ding” dinner in Iowa and announced plans to visit at least 20 more states.

The response was fanatical. Avenatti was hailed as a hybrid attack dog and sex god. All Democrats bowed to the Trumpslayer. Picture a two-fisted, high-T version of 2008 Barack Obama, and you’ll have some idea of how professional Democrats viewed him as they rushed to polish his boots with their tongues. “Hottie Avenatti” became a meme. If geothermal hatred of President Trump was warming the Democratic party’s heart, Avenatti was the cause of significant engorgement in its undies. “I wouldn’t not f*** him,” one activist said. “Unprompted, several Democrats admiringly discussed Avenatti’s physique to VICE News,” ran one reporter’s account, noting that “I have a thing for bald guys” was a typical remark. (Great news, Joe Biden, you can take out your plugs!)