CNN: Democrats Could Lose Middle of Country With Immigration Positions

'What they know is popular is to criticize what President Trump has done'

CNN panelists said Wednesday that 2020 Democrats risk alienating the center of the country with positions like decriminalizing illegal border crossings.

Talking about the shift to the left marking the crowded primary battle, CNN host John King pointed to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and other 2020 candidates embracing decriminalization of unauthorized border crossings as an example.

"In the Democratic Party, in a primary, where often the impetus is keep moving left, this is a big issue," King said. "Are the Democrats on this issue, some people say Medicare for all, wiping out most or all college debt, is this an issue where the party is going to get pushed to the left in these debates and in the primary season, and then maybe come general election regret it?"

New York Times reporter Julie Hirschfield Davis called it a "real risk," noting progressive activists who were critical of House Democrats passing an emergency border funding bill this week.

"There are a lot of Democrats who understand that that is not going to be appealing to the public at large," she said. "That could potentially scare away voters in the middle and more in the center of the Democratic Party and certainly independents. What they know is popular is to criticize what President Trump has done."

Davis said some of Trump's positions on immigrations weren't widely popular but said he won key states by "talking tough" on the issue.

"The last thing [Democrats] want, many of them, is to be seen as an open borders party, which he has kept saying about them," she said. "It's not true if you look at the policies, necessarily. But the more they have pressure to talk about decriminalizing immigration, the harder it is going to be for them to tack into the center."