Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” USA Today Washington bureau chief Susan Page, said of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump that the Republican presidential nomination was his to lose.
Partial transcript as follows:
DICKERSON: And we’re back with our panel. Susan Page is the Washington bureau chief for USA Today, Ron Brownstein is senior editor at The Atlantic, Reihan Salam is the editor of The National Review and also a policy fellow at the National Review Institute, and Mark Leibovich is the chief national correspondent for The New York Times magazine.
I want to start with you Susan. Donald Trump insulted George W. Bush. He got booed at two consecutive debates, got into a fight with the Pope was in a fight with Ted Cruz for a month back and forth and he still won South Carolina. Is this — is it? Is that it? Is he going to get the nomination?
SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY: I think history is on his side. You wouldn’t want to say that its point that it’s his — it’s — you wouldn’t want to say that he’s won it, but I think the nomination is now his to lose and we can’t figure out a way in which he would manage to lose it given the things he’s done that haven’t even cost him. You know, he won South Carolina by ten points. He won New Hampshire by nearly 20 points. No Republican has ever won both those contests and failed to then get the nomination. And two of the three who did that won the White House.
RON BROWNSTEIN, “THE ATLANTIC”: You know, I would say, as I — as I’ve said since the fall, I think the Republican race can still be summarized in two sentences, Donald Trump has consolidated the blue collar wing of the party and the white collar wing of the party remains fragmented. He won in South Carolina an incredible 42 percent of Republican voters without a college education. Exactly the same number as he had in New Hampshire, and as much as Rubio and Cruz combined. He’s less imposing among college educated Republicans. He was only at 25 percent among them. He was only low 20s in Iowa as well. But the problem — Cruz and Rubio have kind of a mirror image problem. Cruz’s coalition is to narrow, overly dependent on evangelicals, and Rubio is too shallow. He’s got a little bit of everything, but he’s not dominant anywhere. And until one of them shows that they can broaden more effectively, you’d have to agree, Trump is in the driver’s seat.