CNN Democratic Focus Group: Hillary, Biden, and Sanders Are "Done"


CNN's Alisyn Camerota asks a panel of six Democrats what they think about the 2020 race.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK. Back by popular demand, another NEW DAY voter panel. This time, Democratic voters from Ohio, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, all of whom voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. You may remember some of them from previous panels during that election season.

Well, we brought them back to see how they're feeling today and who they want to take on President Trump.


CAMEROTA: Show of hands -- how many of you are feeling today very optimistic about a Democrat's chances in 2020?

Michael, why are you optimistic?

MICHAEL MILISITS, DEMOCRAT: I think, you know, Trump has created an energy on the left that we haven't seen in a long time. It was enough to get over the hump in 2016, apparently, but I think, you know -- I think that the Democrats are appearing to be better organized.

CAMEROTA: Tell me if you can limit it to one, who you are most excited about right now of the people who are in or even considering getting in. Can you narrow it down to one right now, Russell?

RUSSELL BANKS, DEMOCRAT: I really like what Kamala Harris is doing in terms of schooling and the green initiatives.

But also, I mean, to go with a kind of old safety -- you know, Bernie Sanders. I mean, he just had so much going for him.

CAMEROTA: Mary, who are you most excited about?

MARY REAMAN, DEMOCRAT: I would have to agree. I'm -- my eye is on Senator Harris right now. I think it's time to have a woman because a woman brings a different perspective and has a different experience of life.

CAMEROTA: Michael? MILISITS: I was for Bernie in the 2016 primaries. I think that he brings a lot to the table from 2016 because he now has the name recognition. He's got a machine behind him that's not necessarily the same as the Democratic Party machine.

You know, it's not enough to just energize Democrats, you need to find a candidate who can actually energize some of those 100 million-plus people who just, for whatever reason, are not voting.

CHRISTIAN TAMTE, DEMOCRAT: I'm not excited for Bernie, though.


TAMTE: I think he was very divisive -- very divisive last time around and I think he's going to do the same thing. I'm looking for a candidate that's going to keep us alive and pull us together and I don't think that's Bernie.

I think that there is a section of the Republican Party that doesn't like Trump either and is looking for a more centrist candidate, and Bernie is way left.

OWEN EVANS, DEMOCRAT: If I had to pick someone right now, I really love Elizabeth Warren. I think she has everything that I'm looking for. She has really bold ideas. She's not backing down on making big promises and she knows how to get them done. She knows how to sell them.

And I think that's what we want in a president and I think that's what's going to beat Donald Trump.

CAROL EVANS, DEMOCRAT: I don't really think it's time to pick because we have four stellar women candidates and I'm just for all of them to move forward and see which one rises above the others.

CAMEROTA: Christian, who are you most excited about?

TAMTE: I really like Cory Booker. I think he is phenomenal. I think he's done a really great job.

I like -- I hope that Beto O'Rourke comes in. I think that he's just waiting and I'm really energized about him.

And, Kamala Harris is right up there, too.

CAMEROTA: How many people believe that the winning formula would be for a Democrat to be pragmatic and more centrist -- show of hands? Two of you feel that way.

How many of you feel that the time is right for a progressive and that's what would win?


C. EVANS: We're ready for progressive candidates. They've won all over the country and I think we need bold, strong leadership and you'll find that in the progressives.

MILISITS: I think that we had the standard bearer for the kind of pragmatic centrist candidate in Hillary Clinton in 2016, and Donald Trump is now president. He is not your average political candidate.

So we really try to think outside the box because it seems like the dude's made of rubber. Like, anything you throw at him just bounces off. I mean, there's nothing that sticks.

CAMEROTA: How many of you would like to see Joe Biden get in -- show of hands? What's happening with you all?


C. EVANS: His time is done.

BANKS: I'll be honest, I used to think like, you know, because obviously he was riding like kind of the Obama wave. And I thought he was the -- I thought he was the person that would unite the party. But to be honest, you know, Senator Biden really comes from kind of the good old boy politics of the past.

O. EVANS: I don't think Joe Biden represents that new thing that we need. We just -- we need a new economy. We need a new --


O. EVANS: -- politics.

BANKS: Absolutely.

O. EVANS: And we need someone different.

CAMEROTA: What will you be voting on in 2020? If the -- if the election were held today, Mary, what's your big issue that you feel you would vote on?

REAMAN: You know, my big issue, truly, is about climate change. I think because it touches everyone, and it touches jobs, and it touches our future. And we cannot have a conversation about politics without considering what we are doing to the planet.

MILISITS: I mean, you see people freaking out over the wall and these migrants coming up from Central and South America. I mean, that's going to be like nothing compared to the migration we'll see as climate change really starts to affect the sea level rise. I mean, the ice is melting fast.

C. EVANS: My big issue is the global world order. I mean, we have a president who has humiliated the United States on the global stage by cozying up to dictators. By having a -- falling in love with the leader of North Korea. By having a relationship with Russia that makes him giddy and excited.

TAMTE: I echo all the sentiments on climate change. I also am going to be looking for a candidate that's going to take on sensible gun regulation. That's the big one for me. That's maybe the biggest one for me.

O. EVANS: I think overall, like whoever I support, they have to be for Medicare for All. It's hurting so many people. It's something Democrats have worked on for -- since FDR, and we absolutely need to have that. It -- like, health care just needs to be a human right.

CAMEROTA: All of you ended up being Hillary voters. So, does Hillary have a role in 2020?



CAMEROTA: Should she campaign for --

REAMAN: No, stay away.

CAMEROTA: Why is that?

TAMTE: Look, I love you, Hillary -- I love you, I love you, but stay away. We are so divided right now that anything that has Hillary on it is automatically going to separate us again.

REAMAN: I just think her time is done. I think it's been -- it's done. We do need something new.

CAMEROTA: Do you feel the same way about President Obama? Should he campaign for who --

TAMTE: Well --

CAMEROTA: -- for -- should he be out on the stump?

C. EVANS: Yes, he should campaign. He's a great --


C. EVANS: -- campaigner. He's very beloved and he also has a tremendous connection to all the people that he -- that love him.

He has a base, still, and that base is very strong. And he has, I think, an authoritative voice against Trump that we're going to need in this campaign.

Show comments Hide Comments

Latest Political Videos

Video Archives