There are officially two Italian Americans out to topple President Donald Trump: Andrew Cuomo and Michael Avenatti. Both want to be president, only one admits it.
Avenatti has become a media sensation as the cocky attorney for porn star Stormy Daniels, the lady who claims to have had a tryst with Trump. Avenatti has become Plan Y for anti-Trump forces (Plan A being the Mueller Investigation). The rest of the alphabetical plans range from Plan B, a sustained national news media offensive, to Plan Z, Trump’s death from a sudden coronary while eating KFC. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s mid-level plan is to take over the Democratic Party as its savior and to wipe the floor with Trump in 2020.
[This is a satirical analysis of today’s America, not a pro-Trump editorial. So, bear with me.]
Michael Avenatti is 47 and a high-rolling dynamo. Raised in Colorado, Utah, and Missouri – his father was an executive at Anheuser-Busch – he cut his teeth in law and Democratic politics. He worked for now-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and for prominent attorney Daniel Petrocelli, the man who won the civil suit against OJ Simpson. He even locked horns with Trump in 2004, when he won a copyright settlement for television’s The Apprentice. But he’s been on the losing end of lawsuits, partly due to his attack dog style of law. It may be his undoing. Until then, Avenatti thinks he can parley his 15-minutes of fame into the U.S. presidency. As one admirer tweeted him, “You and Stormy may be the saviors of our democracy.” (NY Times Magazine, 7/15/18)
Will Michael Avenatti make it to the 2020 Democratic convention as a Trump-baiter? Or, will his rival Andrew Cuomo seize the party with his Cuomos-as-immigrants routine?
No one knows who runs the Democratic Party these days. Hillary is toast, Biden is a mystery, Bernie is over the hill, and Pelosi’s time has passed. Andrew Cuomo thinks he can bring together aging White liberals and the multicultural Young Turks now clamoring to run with the ball. At 60, in the midst of a reelection campaign, Cuomo has the money and the pulpit to show the Washington crowd how to rally the motley left. But his first venture into Trump-baiting recently blew up in his face.
Cuomo now regrets as “inartful” his last week’s rant that “America was never great.” – a mocking of Trump’s repetitious MAGA (Make America Great Again!) Essentially, Cuomo still believes in what he said but that it didn’t come out right.
Cuomo’s clarification comes right out of the Cuomo Family playbook. Sure America is great, he now claims, it took in the poor immigrant Cuomos of Italy and they became great – as go the Cuomos, so goes America. (His father Mario used “my father’s bleeding feet” routine to effect the same success story.) Andrew Cuomo could have saved himself a lot of grief had he just rehearsed by substituting Israel or Africa for America – as in ‘Africa was never great.’ He would have known in a nanosecond that he was committing political suicide.
Even the most jaded American understands what the word great connotes: exceptional, powerful, gifted, blessed, rich, daring, or innovative.
All nations have their ‘good old days.’ Yet, Cuomo is channeling the 1960’s (when he was only a preteen): injustice is everywhere. If it’s the masses you pander to instead of the Trump deplorables, then justice means that no one should be judged by their immigration status, their actual gender, or whatever chip is on their shoulder. Cuomo’s utopia may be on par with MAGA.
Cuomo hasn’t announced for national office yet – first he has to win reelection this year. His primary opponent is Cynthia Nixon, an actress (excuse me, “actor”) on the old Sex and the City series. If he wins big – and the odds are with him – the White House will be a tempting target.
For Italian Americans, having Avenatti or Cuomo in the Oval Office will mean little. We may be their ethnic past but certainly not their future. -JLM