Much to the dismay of progressives and many conservatives alike, Donald Trump has all but secured the Republican nomination, handily beating all of his opponents. Trump’s next move — choosing a running mate — has media outlets and the public chattering about who will be his VP pick. One of the names being tossed around is Newt Gingrich.
The pick would be a strategic one; Gingrich is part of the GOP establishment, the same establishment that was set on dismantling Trump’s campaign. The former Congressman had a 26 year-long career and it seems like he would be willing to give it another go if he gets the call. But is America ready for “Vice President Gingrich?”
During his long stint in Congress, Gingrich scored victories for the Republican Party. He succeeded in ending the Democratic majority in Congress, served as the House Majority Leader and went on to be Speaker of the House. However, his work in Congress came at a huge cost to working-class and poor Americans.
Welfare reform was one of Newt Gingrich’s biggest “accomplishments.” He succeeded in enacting Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, which limited the amount of assistance a family could receive, set a timeline of how long they could receive help and put in place the stipulation of working for benefits as set by the states. His plan helped fewer families, even as the number of families living poverty increased.
Gingrich also managed to pass a massive capital gains tax cut, which primarily helped out the wealthiest Americans by reducing the tax collected on the sales of stocks and other investments. Newt’s strategy while in Congress seemed to be helping the rich get richer while taking food out of poor kids’ mouths.
By the end of his reign as speaker, Newt had managed to ruffle more than a few feathers. He was at the center of a government shutdown due to budget disagreements with Clinton. While serving in Congress, he took advantage of tax-exempted donations to pay for a college course he taught and received an advance of $4.5 million for a book, which he eventually had to give back because it crossed ethical lines.
The poor showing by Republicans in the 1998 Congressional elections, a reprimand from the House for Gingrich’s ethics violation and pressure from Republican colleagues caused Gingrich’s resignation from the speakership in 1998, followed by his outright resignation from the House in 1999.
While Trump is seen as an “outsider” and Gingrich is firmly part of the “establishment,” the two aren’t very different in terms of their questionable ethics and the damage they could do to the country, if elected. As divided as many Americans are about the 2016 election, one point that most can agree on is this: A Trump–Gingrich ticket is a very scary thought.