I don’t think we’ve commented yet on the report by Eliana Johnson that Newt Gingrich is under serious consideration as Donald Trump’s running mate. Elaina’s report is consistent with what I’ve been hearing.
Gingrich would, I think, be an odd choice. But then, this is an odd year.
If Trump needs the support of any one group to win the presidency, that group is white women. The billionaire can expect virtually no support from African-Americans. From Hispanics, he’ll be lucky to get to 30 percent. He therefore will have to carry the white vote overwhelmingly, but cannot if he doesn’t do reasonably well with white women.
Is there a potential Trump running mate who white women like less than Newt Gingrich? I can’t think of one.
Trump also needs to win over traditional conservatives. Would Gingrich help with this cohort? Perhaps. He was once Mr. Conservative. Though too flaky to maintain this title for long, many conservatives are likely to find Gingrich palatable, especially compared to some of the other alleged VP prospects.
Thus, selecting Gingrich might enable Trump to convince conservatives he’s likely to govern mostly from the right. I’m no Gingrich fan, but if Trump picks him I will be a bit less worried about the tycoon from a policy perspective.
Picking Gingrich would be a good sign in another sense. The former Speaker reportedly is bombarding Trump with policy proposals and other forms of advice. If Trump taps Gingrich for the vice presidency, it would be an indication that he is willing to learn and unafraid to work with an egotistical policy wonk. Say what you want about Gingrich, he is not a yes man.
What Trump needs, though, is someone who can help him appeal to white women. His running mate need not be female, but he shouldn’t be someone who puts women off.
In my opinion, he shouldn’t be Newt Gingrich.