Maxine Waters: ‘Hustler of hate’ or Democratic nominee in 2020?

Danielle Ryan
Danielle Ryan is an Irish freelance writer based in Dublin. Her work has appeared in Salon, The Nation, Rethinking Russia, teleSUR, RBTH, The Calvert Journal and others. Follow her on Twitter @DanielleRyanJ
Maxine Waters: ‘Hustler of hate’ or Democratic nominee in 2020?
Crazy. Unhinged. Un-American. Those are just a few of the adjectives used to describe Congresswoman Maxine Waters as she emerges as a star of the anti-Trump ‘Resistance’ and riles both Democrats and Republicans with her fervor.

The California Democrat has drawn sharp criticism even from her own party for what many interpreted as an incitement to ‘mob violence’ when she called on Americans to harass members of Donald Trump’s administration if they saw them in public — antics which led her to receive serious threats against her life.

While Democrats have tried to criticize Waters in a more diplomatic manner, appealing for calm in trying times, Republicans haven’t been holding back. One congressional candidate called her a “hustler of hate”  who should be behind bars.

President Waters?

Waters has embarrassed herself on a number of other occasions in recent months, too; There was the time she called for Trump to be impeached because Russia had (according to her) invaded Korea. Then there was the time she claimed that RT had hacked C-SPAN in an effort to interfere specifically with her speech on the House floor — and let’s not forget the time she promised two phone pranksters posing as the Ukrainian prime minister that the US would “stand with” Ukraine to keep sanctions on Russia. She also has what seems like an unhealthy preoccupation with the idea of being shot at.

And now, there is speculation that she could be the Democratic nominee for president in 2020.

CNN political commentator John Phillips penned a piece last week for the L.A. Daily News arguing that “Mad Max” really could be the nominee two years from now. Waters, he wrote, is “the only one dancing to the beat” of the resistance.

The scary thing is, he could be right. Waters, with her fiery, nothing-held-back approach has tapped into the rage and anger many Americans are feeling about Trump — and she is feeding it, to her own advantage. The woman, Phillips wrote, “who is the biggest rock star with liberals right now is Auntie Maxine” — and it doesn’t even matter that she was just called un-American by her own party leadership.

Waters is a bit like marmite. People seem to love her or hate her — and it’s not just since Trump became president and gave her license to reveal her own special brand of crazy.

Back in 2013, I met Waters in Washington D.C. at the screening of a documentary about America’s war on drugs and the desperate need to reform the country’s criminal justice system.

The documentary was co-produced by Danny Glover, Brad Pitt, Russell Simmons and John Legend — but, as I wrote at the time, Waters herself turned into the unlikely star of the show. After the screening, as I tried to get near her to ask a few questions, she was mobbed by supporters looking for selfies. That day she came across as a celebrity in her own right.

And, speaking, of celebrity, Phillips makes the point that the media and political pundits wrote Donald Trump off as a “reality show buffoon” and a “shameless self-promoter” with zero chance of winning the election. Here again, he is correct.

The media did write Trump off — and he won. So if Waters, crazy and all as she might be, did throw her hat in the ring for the 2020 election, pundits would want to be very careful not to assume for a second time that there is such thing as ‘too crazy’ or radical to win.

In the same way Trump challenged Republican party orthodoxy and defeated 16 other primary challengers to win the nomination, Phillips thinks Waters could tread a similar path.“[Trump] understood the mood and frustrations of the electorate better than anyone in the race,” he wrote.

No frontrunner

But Phillips’ musing also highlights something else; just how lacking the Democratic party is in good alternatives to Trump. That someone as erratic and downright strange as Maxine Waters could be reasonably considered a viable candidate says a lot about the state of the Democratic party — and just guess who thinks she is poised to take advantage of that sorry state of affairs?

None other than Hillary Clinton. Confirming beyond doubt that incompetence reigns in the Democratic Party is the recent bout of speculation that Clinton is gearing up to run for president —again — and that people within the party structure might actually be supportive of that plan.

Clinton has been running around giving campaign-style speeches and doing some vigorous fundraising — and although she says publicly she won’t run again, that’s what she said after she lost the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama in 2008, so it might be advisable to take those words with a big pinch of salt.

But perhaps she should think twice about going in for round three. A new poll has found that 73 percent of Democrats want a fresh face to challenge Trump in 2020 — while only 16 percent said they would be happy with a candidate who has run before. The Rasmussen survey also found that 58 percent of Democratic voters think Clinton has damaged the party’s standing.

It has been largely accepted among liberal pundits and (by all accounts) many high profile Clinton supporters that she was a terrible candidate — so terrible that she managed to lose to a hated reality TV star who broke every rule in the playbook —and yet here they are, thinking of wheeling her out again, hoping it’ll be third time’s the charm.

This is the kind of backward thinking that could potentially see Trump — the object of their rage — sail straight back into the White House for another four years in 2020.

But it’s hard to feel sorry for the Democrats. They have positioned themselves as close to the centre as politically possible (some would even argue they are a centre-right party at this point). They have shown only disdain to progressive left candidates, despite ample proof that they are hugely popular with voters. The party threw away the only real chance it had to win in 2016 when it rigged the primary against Bernie Sanders and sent a hugely unpopular candidate to fight and lose against Trump — and now they’re seriously considering doing it all over again.

When you look at it that way, maybe Maxine Waters is their best hope.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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