ABC’s Dowd Dismisses Cruz Victory; Still ‘Doesn’t Have a Clear Path to the Nomination’

The late-night news magazine Nightline on ABC devoted its show Monday night into Tuesday on the Iowa caucuses and, near the top of the show, ABC News political analyst and former Bush administration official Matthew Dowd denounced caucus winner Ted Cruz’s chances for winning the nomination since he still “doesn’t have a clear path” to the top. 

Dowd was set up by host Dan Harris pointing out to him that “we've seen in the past conservative candidates win in Iowa and then go on to fizzle” so he wondered: “[D]oes Ted Cruz have a clear path to the nomination at this point?”

Following the pattern of his fellow GOP establishment types in being willing to go against conservatives, Dowd threw cold water on the idea that the senator from Texas could go on to win the nomination (after declaring the race all but over with Trump prevailing on January 29):

No, he doesn't have a clear path to the nomination. Iowa's caucus has a larger percentage of evangelical voters than any other state that he's going to be faced with in the rest of the process and he doesn't have a state now where he can put together the same coalition, he's got to figure out where he can win next and do the same thing in Iowa. 

As for the man he opined on the program less than a week ago would likely take the GOP nod in Trump, Dowd explained that “he had an opportunity...to start putting this race away and running the table” if he had won.

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“He no longer can do that, it's a three-person race. Now it's incumbent upon him and it's a must to win New Hampshire next week,” he added.

The relevant portions of the transcript from ABC’s Nightline in the early morning hours Eastern time of February 2 can be found below.

ABC’s Nightline
February 2, 2016
12:41 a.m. Eastern

DAN HARRIS: So, we've seen in the past conservative candidates win in Iowa and then go on to fizzle. So does Ted Cruz have a clear path to the nomination at this point? 

MATTHEW DOWD: No, he doesn't have a clear path to the nomination. Iowa's caucus has a larger percentage of evangelical voters than any other state that he's going to be faced with in the rest of the process and he doesn't have a state now where he can put together the same coalition, he's got to figure out where he can win next and do the same thing in Iowa. 

HARRIS: I want to talk about another big story tonight, Donald Trump. He's been the big story of this campaign.

(....)

DOWD: Well, he had an opportunity, if he had won tonight, as the leader, to start putting this race away and running the table. He would have won New Hampshire and then won South Carolina, begun to put the race away. He no longer can do that, it's a three-person race. Now it's incumbent upon him and it's a must to win New Hampshire next week. 

HARRIS: Well, It as wide-open race. 

DOWD: Completely, completely. 

HARRIS: With Rubio surging tonight as well, but before I let you go I want to talk about the Democrats. We have Hillary Clinton who was once considered inevitable, a shoo-in, almost beaten by a 74-year-old former socialist. How much trouble is she this? 

DOWD: Well, she, like Donald Trump, she had an opportunity to basically start to put this race away with a clear victory tonight. She didn't get that, so now she faces a likely loss in New Hampshire. So the next place she can win is South Carolina. So that race is now — which could have been shortened if she had won tonight overwhelmingly — is going to be a much longer race and go into March for sure.

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Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center