Gingrich's advice to New York GOP: Use social media, recruit minorities, be a 'guard dog'

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich kicked off a morning breakfast event for the New York delegation of the Republican National Convention, giving a wide-ranging speech that touched on presumptive nominee Donald Trump’s use of social media to engage voters, the need to reach out to minority groups and national security, the theme of the convention’s first day.

Speaking from the stage of the conference room in downtown Cleveland’s Renaissance Hotel, Gingrich emphasized to delegates the importance of bringing the message of the party to people who might not normally engage with politics, something Trump has done well by constantly interacting using Twitter and Facebook.

While other Republicans were running from fundraiser to fundraiser beating the drum with typical voters and donors, Trump was activating the base and drawing new Republicans into the camp by constantly putting his face in front of the American public, both on social media and on television appearances, he said.

“In the course of the day he would amass two or three million dollars’ worth of communications,” Gingrich said.

And Republicans need to be taking that strategy into areas of the country that have been written off as Democratic strongholds as well, particularly in communities of color. Members of minority groups, he said, often vote Democrat because it is all they know. Republicans need to be getting into cities, asking people there what they want to see in their communities and explaining how the Democrats have failed to help them solve those problems, while offering an alternative strategy that could be carried out by the GOP.

“South Side Chicago’s got 3,200 killings since Barack Obama was sworn in,” Gingrich said. “You think people there are happy that their children can’t have picnics outside because they’ll get shot in a drive-by? You think people are happy that their kids go to a school that doesn’t teach them anything? You think people are happy that there are no jobs in South Side Chicago? We have to have the guts to go to South Side Chicago.”

Gingrich, who has studied and written about national security for decades, also discussed recent terrorist attacks, saying that it frustrates him when members of the media express surprise whenever they learn of the latest mass killing.

“It’s exactly what our enemies have been telling us since 1979,” Gingrich said. “They are going to find ways to kill us. They want to destroy our civilization, and in the process they are happy to kill us if that’s what it takes.”

He went on to use the metaphor of sheep, wolves and guard dogs, saying that the public and Democratic politicians are like sheep welcoming wolves, or the terrorists, into the country through refugee programs and other means of immigration.

Meanwhile, he said that conservatives like himself act as guard dogs looking to keep the wolves at bay, and kill them if they try to attack any of the sheep.

“It’s insanity, because our sheep leadership cannot recognize that they can never become guard dogs,” Gingrich said. “They are psychologically incapable, ideologically incapable, operationally incapable.”