Rep. Maxine Waters has led the Democratic rallying cry against President Trump in Congress since he took office in January, but that doesn't mean she wants to replace him in the White House. The California Democrat crushed her supporters' hopes once again this week when she reiterated that she doesn't plan to run for president. While a lot of excitement has built up around her image in recent months, Democratic voters should really be looking to the 2018 midterms instead of focusing on Waters running in 2020.
For those who want President Trump out of the Oval Office, it's easy to get tunnel vision for the next presidential election, but it's still way too early to speculate about who will run. What comes first is the midterm election, when Democrats will try to flip seats in order to regain control of Congress.
When asked about a potential presidential campaign on the Breakfast Club on Monday, Waters said, "I’m good where I am," explaining that she's focused on challenging Trump, opening up discussion, and encouraging people.
"I think I have work to do," she said. "And let me just say this: I’m considered controversial and confrontational."
Those qualities are exactly what's made her constant opposition to the president catch so many people's attention. And those same qualities would certainly make a 2020 campaign stand out, but it's not productive for Democrats to focus so much energy on trying to figure out whether she'll run or not.
Of course, she could always change her mind and announce a 2020 run in the future. After all, politicians don't normally announce three years out (unless they're Maryland Rep. John Delaney, who already threw his hat in the ring). It's worth noting, though, that support for Waters to run comes from her fans, not the Democratic Party, which is expected to favor politicians such as Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, though there's no clear Democratic favorite yet. Waters is also 78 — older than Trump when he became the oldest president to enter office at 70 and Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, other popular Democrats some would like to see run in 2020.
Regardless though, the Democratic Party has a big fight ahead of them in next year's midterms.
Trump has a very low approval rating of 38%, but Republicans currently hold a strong majority in both the House and the Senate. Winning back control of both branches would give Democrats more power to oppose the Trump administration's policies they don't support (like repealing Obamacare) and create momentum for 2020.
And if people want to help bolster female Democratic candidates, multiple women have already announced campaign challenges to incumbent Republicans in Congress, from Amy McGrath running in Kentucky's Sixth Congressional District, to Mai-Khanh Tran running in California's 39th Congressional District, to Rep. Jacky Rosen running for a Nevada Senate seat.
Give Waters some space to do her job and support women who are actually running for office next year. 2018 is right around the corner.