CLEVELAND—Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich argued to a gathering of New York Republicans today that they could use Donald Trump as a template for taking over their predominantly Democratic state.
Gingrich made the claim while addressing the Empire State GOP delegation to the party convention in Cleveland, hours before the conclave was scheduled to start. He noted Trump had managed to win the Republican nomination despite spending far less than his rivals, and argued his message of populist outrage was integral to his success.
“Do not assume anyone is happy with where we are. They’re not happy—I don’t care if it’s African-Americans in parts of Manhattan, I don’t care if it’s Latinos in Queens, I don’t care what group you’re talking about,” the former Georgia lawmaker said, arguing that a Republican takeover would begin in the five boroughs. “It starts with the city, because if you break the city, you own the state.”
“Start to say to yourself: ‘what is the campaign which penetrates the city?'” he continued, noting polls showing widespread discontent across multiple ethnicities. “It starts with the question ‘are you happy?’ ‘Is this what you want?'”
Gingrich urged outreach to even the deepest blue, majority minority districts, particularly by emulating Trump’s heavy use of Twitter.
“It also means watching social media very intensely,” he said. “How are you going to organize Manhattan? And Manhattan is the hardest of the boroughs. How are you going to organize the other boroughs? How do you think Trump reaches out?”
“If the New York State party would use modern technology, they could reach so many millions of people,” Gingrich continued.
The Queens-born businessman won 60 percent of the vote in the April 19 New York primary—but received almost 240,000 votes fewer in his victory than Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders got losing the state. New York voters cast almost twice as many ballots for Clinton, who represented the state in the Senate for eight years, than they did for Trump.
Trump reportedly considered Gingrich for his running mate, but instead picked Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
Asked afterward if he truly believed Republicans could win New York again one day, Gingrich noted his own home state’s Democratic past.
“Sure, why not? They won Georgia,” he said. “When I was a child, you were more likely to carry New York than to carry Georgia.”
Disclosure: Donald Trump is the father-in-law of Jared Kushner, publisher of Observer Media.