CNN Focus Group: Obama Voters Explain Why They Voted For Trump, Talk 2020 Choices

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CNN's Alisyn Camerota sits down with a group of Democrats who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 to discuss where they stand on supporting the president now.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: OK, time for our next NEW DAY voter panel. This time we gathered a group of self-described lifelong Democrats from the Rust Belt states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Indiana.



All of them voted for Barack Obama in 2012 and then, in 2016, many of them switched to vote for Donald Trump. We wanted to know why they made that switch and how they feel about President Trump today.

Here's our "Pulse of the People."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CAMEROTA: Show of hands, how many of you voted for President Obama during at least one of the elections? Great -- all of you.

How many of you voted for President Trump? This is what I think is fascinating to so many of our viewers of how you can like both of these people.

WIMBLEY: The first one pretty much was a dynamic of me being an African American. Just because I'm born black I'm supposed to have this allegiance to the Democratic Party. And to me, it was the most racist thing I ever did because I didn't care what his policy, it was just the fact that he was black.

JOSEPH DIXON, DEMOCRAT, VOTED FOR TRUMP: With Trump, I was really sold as soon as he came down that escalator and announced that he was going to run.

CAMEROTA: It's so interesting that you say that because that was exactly four years ago this week. What was it about that escalator ride?

DIXON: It was almost like a big middle finger to all -- to the establishment -- to all of politics and I just felt that we really needed that.

CAMEROTA: How many of you today regret your vote for President Trump or at least wouldn't do it again? Why not, David?

DAVID SOBOROWICZ, DEMOCRAT, REGRETS VOTING FOR TRUMP: I just feel he has not acted properly as a president. He may get things done but I see him as an embarrassment. CHUCK HOWENSTEIN, DEMOCRAT, REGRETS VOTING FOR TRUMP: I think he fans the fires of hatred and I think he's a bully. I think he belittles people and calls people names. I think we're better than that.

CAMEROTA: Ciarra, you didn't vote for him. What are your thoughts when you hear your fellow panelists talking about what motivated them?

CIARRA WALKER, DEMOCRAT: Yes. I'm not surprised by the way that he kind of pulled people in.

I have a child, he's 14. He's a young African American male. And just, you know, the injustices that have been happening around the country.

We're extremely fearful, the African American community. And since he's become president it has become more fearful for us as a people.

And so --

CAMEROTA: Darrell, why are you shaking your head no?

WIMBLEY: It just amazes me. This is 2019. The race relations and the way that we perceive or the way we say things are happening in this country, I don't see it happening.

CAMEROTA: I mean, there -- in terms of statistics, there has been an uptick in hate crimes in the past few years.

WIMBLEY: You can say that. I truly don't believe it because I don't see it. I can statistically say anything, but I don't see it.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, the people who chart it. For instance, the Anti-Defamation League. They chart it.

WIMBLEY: I don't really even call that -- like, the Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Law Center -- to me, those are democratic institutions that will say and manipulate anything.

Racism is not a microaggression. Racism is something painful and hurtful. And when we take microaggressions and turn it into the country's against black people, we're literally slapping the people in the face that went through real racism.

CAMEROTA: And did you see Charlottesville as a microaggression?

WIMBLEY: I saw Charlottesville as two groups of people that came to fight and do something bad.

CAMEROTA: Good people on both sides, you saw?

WIMBLEY: I saw two groups of people that came together and fought, and both of them were equally wrong.

HOWENSTEIN: There wasn't good people on both sides. There was the KKK on one side and then there was the other side. It was -- it was -- for him to say there was good people on both sides, to me, that really turned me off of him.

CAMEROTA: Is that when he lost you?

HOWENSTEIN: Yes, he lost me there. I mean, you set an example as a father. To me, you should set an example as a president. I don't think he sets a good example for our children.

CAMEROTA: And you didn't expect him to act that way when you voted for him?

HOWENSTEIN: No, not at all.

WALKER: The presidency, it's a leadership role and children look to leadership.

WIMBLEY: They didn't look to it until Trump got in office.

[07:55:01] WALKER: Not necessarily. Again, for children, you look for role models.

CAMEROTA: I want to ask you guys about a big issue in the news this week and that's immigration. A show of hands -- how many people are very pleased with what President Trump has done with immigration?

CATHERINE BOLDER, DEMOCRAT, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I am.

CAMEROTA: What do you think he's done since the numbers have spiked on his watch, in terms of the people showing up on the southern border.

BOLDER: Well, I think somebody is organizing people south of the border to bring them here. They are not poor and they don't need to come here for economic reasons. I mean, I see them on television. They all have cell phones and Nike tennis shoes on.

CAMEROTA: They do?

BOLDER: Many of them.

CAMEROTA: The children -- you think that the children who are sick at the border do have that?

BOLDER: The children -- some of those children are being rented out to immigrants.

CAMEROTA: And what has President Trump done to help the situation?

BOLDER: President Trump is trying to get that wall built so it slows it down.

CAMEROTA: But he's not done that so that's not a success yet.

BOLDER: Well, it's in progress -- it's in progress.

WIMBLEY: The Democrats made sure that that got --

BOLDER: And the Democrats have made sure that Trump is not going to get a single win.

CAMEROTA: They're not in the majority anymore.

BOLDER: They're not going to work with him for anything. They were all for a wall before when Obama was president.

WIMBLEY: They have to give him the money for the wall.

CAMEROTA: But, I mean, just to be clear, when Republicans controlled both Houses of Congress, the president couldn't get the wall built either.

WIMBLEY: It was a very short term.

CAMEROTA: David, how do you feel about immigration?

SOBOROWICZ: We need some immigrants, for sure, whether they're illegal or legal or whatever. There's too many jobs out there that nobody wants to do in America and we need them --

BOLDER: But they need to come the right way.

DIXON: If I came from some of these places that these people are trying to come from and went through what a lot of them are trying to go through, I'd probably be trying to get here, too.

CAMEROTA: Ciarra?

WALKER: I think it's disheartening, especially the way that I saw those children crying for their parents and again, being caged away like animals. It's heartbreaking. I mean, who would want to see their children being locked away like animals?

WIMBLEY: You purposely brought your family to this border. You purposely walked through two countries with your kids --

CAMEROTA: So whatever happens to them happens, is what you're saying.

WIMBLEY: If I put my child in -- if I put my child in harm's way it is my fault, not yours.

CAMEROTA: But they're trying to get out of harm's way.

WIMBLEY: You don't know what they're trying to get out of and you don't know --

CAMEROTA: I do because they --

WALKER: Absolutely. They're seeking asylum.

WIMBLEY: You know what? I'm sorry, you don't have the right to be here.

CAMEROTA: There is a legal process for asylum seekers. They actually do have the right to be here. WIMBLEY: And he did it. If you are here illegally you have proved to me that you're not going to follow my laws. You have proven -- you're breaking the law by being here.

CAMEROTA: No, no. When they show up at the border and present themselves, that's not breaking the law.

WIMBLEY: Stay at the border. You don't have the right to come in here until we figure it out. I don't want all these people.

CAMEROTA: That's not true. They present themselves --

WIMBLEY: We don't --

CAMEROTA: -- at the border.

WIMBLEY: You know what? I deserve a better life as an American. When you can take care of Americans and I've got something left over, I'll give it to you.

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