Michael Avenatti, the firebrand lawyer, cable TV ever-present and Trump antagonist, is now far outperforming the rest of the potential Democratic 2020 field on Twitter.
Avenatti, who represented porn star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against President Trump and his former consigliere Michael Cohen, is seen by some as the Left's answer to President Trump.
If popularity on Twitter — President Trump’s political tool of choice — is any measure, Avenatti is a serious contender.
Like Trump, Avenatii is Tweeting to taunt his political enemies and is one of the only possible Democratic presidential contenders to tweet a basic outline of policy stances.
There are a range of barometers the media will use to predict who will enter and ultimately be victorious in the 2020 presidential election.
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While measuring how successful someone is on social media is not an accurate indicator for political performance, it does gauge whether a candidate can draw a large immediate audience and get people talking — attributes that Trump weaponized in 2016.
Given Trump’s Twitter megaphone driving a lot of the news cycle, a prospective candidate’s social media potency is an important metric. In the past month alone Avenatti’s Twitter following has grown nearly 20 percent, more than double the runner up, Sen. Kamala Harris’, D-Calif., growth.
Twitter growth for possible 2020 candidates in the past month:
Avenatti, however, is a relatively new name to the political field. Household names have years of a head start and won’t likely have explosive growth until 2020 heats up. In the past 30 days, Sen. Bernie Sanders’, I-Vt., Twitter following grew a modest 0.54 percent and Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s, D-Mass., increased 1.07 percent.
Sanders has the largest Twitter following of 8.9 million to Avenatti’s 871,345, most of which he accrued in his primary challenge to Hillary Clinton.
At the same time, another potential challenge to Trump in 2020, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., saw a massive 17.73 percent growth on Twitter. However, her bout with Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh about blacking out from alcohol most likely played a major role to her social media boost.
Avennati has nearly 300,000 more Twitter followers than Klobuchar and is quickly catching up to other high profile Democrats such as Harris (1.87 million) and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (1.29 million).
Twitter growth for possible 2020 candidates since June 1, 2018:
At the rate Avenatti’s social media presence is growing, he could surpass a sizable chunk of Democrats in a few months. But Democrats that finally acknowledge they’re running for the White House will likely reap a social media reward.
Since the Stormy Daniels lawsuit, Avenatti’s interaction rate (retweets, likes, comments) is an impressive 5 percent. Compare this to Kamala Harris (3 percent), Cory Booker (2.6 percent) and Joe Biden (1.6 percent). Few Democrats and possible Republican challengers could top a one percent interaction rate with their audience.
Methodology: We measured Twitter analytics in a 30-day and five-month period across 26 accounts. Candidates such as Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren have two accounts measured, their Senate account and their 2018 campaign account.
For the sake of more data, we also included a number of dark horse candidates such as Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. We also included some Republicans including Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who has made moves suggesting he is considering a primary challenge to President Trump.