Published Thursday, February 21, 2013
Once upon a time, Newt Gingrich represented Coweta County in the U.S. Congress. The former U.S. House Speaker’s district was redrawn while he was gaining power in Congress, and Gingrich did not represent Coweta in his later years as Speaker. That said, many Cowetans -- who are die-hard Republicans -- still listen when Gingrich talks.
Gingrich ran for the Republican Party’s nomination for president in 2012. He was a strong candidate as the GOP primaries moved into the South, but his star began to fade as Mitt Romney emerged as the party’s nominee.
Since Romney lost, Gingrich has been speaking about what he thinks the Republican Party needs to do to again capture the White House and the U.S. Senate.
Wednesday on “CBS This Morning,” Gingrich said President Obama and Democrats are 8 to 10 years ahead of the Republican Party in understanding the rapidly- changing face of the American electorate. He said Republican strategists have failed to respond effectively to the new demographic landscape.
Gingrich says the failed GOP strategy not only cost his party the White House, but he said questionable consulting cost Republicans nine U.S. Senate seats “we should have won.”
“You can’t just be an opposition party,” said Gingrich. “You have to be a party that has a better alternative.”
He said Democrats have adapted to a voting public that is “in many ways younger, more Latino, more African-American, than Republican strategists are capable of dealing with.”
Gingrich had little success in his 2012 campaign, and he made few waves to change the party then. In fact, he said in January about the presidential race: “I was certainly wrong -- I thought [Mitt Romney] would win up until about 5:30 on election day.”
That statement may indicate Gingrich, too, was out of touch in his pre-election thinking, but what he’s saying now seems to be on target. The GOP is going to have to change. As he says, the GOP must become a party of ideas and adapt to the changing electorate or more losses loom in the months and years ahead.