Do not underestimate Newt Gingrich. He is a cunning political strategist who understands the demographic death spiral facing the Republican party -- and he clearly has a plan.
Gingrich knows the Republican candidate in the November election will fail without support from U.S. minorities. Yet the GOP base will not nominate a candidate who supports issues popular in Latino and Black communities like immigration reform or affirmative action. So Newt's course will be to split the difference. He plans to court the Latino vote and brazenly bash Blacks to placate the base.
As we saw in the South Carolina debate, Gingrich dispensed with the dog whistle code used by Republicans pandering for the anti-Black vote in the south and went for the jugular. His attacks on Obama as the "food stamp president" and calls for Blacks to "demand jobs, not welfare" were the most bluntly racist comments uttered by a U.S. politician since George Wallace.
Meanwhile, as shown in the Univision video with Jorge Ramos below, Gingrich offered more concessions to immigration reform than any other GOP candidate. These include: 1) Supporting the DREAM Act for youth who volunteer for military service, 2) a guest worker program for undocumented workers and 3) a path to citizenship for the undocumented who have resided in the U.S. for 20-25 years, have a family and an American sponsor.
Gingrich is so confident of his strategy, he even boasted to Ramos about his prospects with the Latino vote. "I have a hunch that by this fall, we may do better than any Republican except maybe Reagan."
From Gingrich's perspective, the plan to court Latino votes has no downside. He knows congressional Republicans will not approve any of these election year promises if he is elected.
This may not be Newt's only attempt at dabbling in the witches brew of racial politics. As I mentioned in an earlier article, the GOP may attempt to drive a wedge between the Black and Latino communities, further weakening President Obama's chance for re-election.
It's important for the entire electorate to be aware of Newt's apparent plan. Divisive tactics may serve the interests of a particular candidate or party. But they do not serve the interest of the nation or the world.
Raul Ramos y Sanchez