‘Be Careful What You Wish For’: CNN Panelists Agree Democrats Shouldn’t Be Overly Confident They Can Beat Trump — Even If Convicted


CNN News Central brought on both a Republican and Democratic strategist Monday to react to the news that former President Donald Trump’s trial date was set for March 4th in one of his four criminal cases, the day before Super Tuesday in the GOP primary.

Former executive director for the New York State Democratic Party, Basil Smikle, began his analysis by projecting confidence in a repeat match-up between Trump and President Joe Biden, but eventually conceded that there exists a “good chance” of Trump winning another term in the White House.

Former RNC communications director Doug Heye offered his take first on the trial date. “Well, I think actually by March 5th, we’ll know who the nominee is. Ultimately, I think this primary season comes down to the Iowa caucuses,” Heye began, adding:

Iowa typically is what winnows the field out. You lose in Iowa, you come in fourth place, fifth place or worse, you drop out. But if Donald Trump wins Iowa, it’s very clear then that he’s going to have the momentum going into New Hampshire, where he’s also leading in the polls. And a Donald Trump who wins Iowa and New Hampshire is not going to be beaten in the Republican primary.

“So Basil, let’s say that that continues seeing the momentum that Trump still clearly has. I mean, is he the person that Biden, the Democrats want to face again in 2024? And I want to just show you this Quinnipiac University poll which showed a hypothetical 2024 matchup, Biden and Trump pretty much neck and neck,” asked CNN’s Rahel Solomon.

“Well, Biden, Trump 2.0. I’m not scared of that. I don’t think the Democrats are scared of that. Frankly, if you think about and look at all of those issues that are still top of mind for voters, particularly reproductive rights, I think those are mobilizing issues. You know, he’s done well on the economy, even if he doesn’t get the credit that he should get,” began Smikle.

“The White House has not gone directly after President former President Trump for his legal woes, and neither have a lot of Republicans dug a lot of those folks on the debate stage last week, raised their hand saying they would support Donald Trump even if he was convicted. Does that change as we get closer to the primaries?” CNN anchor Boris Sanchez asked Heye.

“Well, I would hope it would, but it probably doesn’t. Everything that we’ve seen thus far suggests that it wouldn’t,” Heye replied, adding:

And it’s not just that they’re not criticizing or going after or attacking Donald Trump in a way that they would any other candidate for any other race. The reality is when Donald Trump gets indicted, not only does it sort of reinforce his core message that the system is rigged and there’s two tiers of justice and all of that, but his own opponents reinforce that language. If you’re running against Donald Trump, but you back him up, you’re strengthening him. You’re not you’re not weakening him. You’re not helping your case to become president. But I would say I know that Democrats look at this race and think, well, we’ll we’ll probably do pretty well against Donald Trump. But there’s a real reality here of being careful what you wish for. That’s exactly what Democrats thought in 2016. They thought there was no way that Donald Trump could beat Hillary Clinton. And he did. And we saw what the results were from that, I tell Democrats. Be really careful what you wish for on this, your record.

The anchors turned back to Smikle to see if he remained so optimistic about Biden’s chances against Trump.

“I mean, he’s right. It’s a, there’s a good chance that Donald Trump could win. And so for Democrats, you can’t take you can’t be complacent at all,” Smikle concluded before a lengthy analysis of how Democratic leaders can make inroads with the electorate.

Watch the full clip above via CNN.

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Alex Griffing is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Send tips via email: alexanderg@mediaite.com. Follow him on Twitter: @alexgriffing