Newt For Veep: The Case For Gingrich As Trump’s Running Mate

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Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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Let’s begin with the fact that Donald Trump probably won’t make the pick that strategists would suggest might help soften his edges, which is to say that he seems highly unlikely to pick someone like New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez as his running mate. He signaled as much recently, when he publicly criticized her.

Next, let’s acknowledge the fact that, since LBJ, running mates usually don’t “deliver” a state. Let’s add the sense that any nominee should pick someone he’s comfortable with. Throw in the fact that Trump has suggested he wants someone who is an “insider” to help him actually govern, and I think you’re left with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

Now, there’s been talk of a surprise pick — a Mike Pence, for example — but if we assume the short list includes Chris Christie, Sen. Jeff Sessions and Gingrich, then I think Newt is the obvious choice. Christie can’t deliver New Jersey, and Sessions doesn’t need to deliver Alabama, which means that the selection will be based on some other criteria. Gingrich has vastly more experience working to cut congressional deals, and the baggage he brings (marriages, scandals and grandiose ideas that might be a deal-breaker in a normal year) aren’t likely to spook a man like Trump.

Newt is the perfect hybrid between an insider and an outsider (nobody rails against “Washington elites” better, or more ironically). He has also frequently “married” conservative philosophy with a sort of ambitious big government populism that is consistent with Trump-ism.

What is more, nobody is a better apologist. Whereas Christie is a toady to the point that you dismiss him, Gingrich marshals his intellect, audacity and historical knowledge to eloquently defend what some might see as the indefensible.

He’s also adept at parrying questions and then going on offense — something that Trump will admire (and something that will be vital in this campaign). Watch this video from last week’s Fox News Sunday, and tell me he didn’t hit it out of the ball park. And if that convince you, watch this video of him defending Sarah Palin at the 2008 Republican National Convention:

When you factor in all the variables, I think Newt’s the one.