It was standing applause as Newt Gingrich took the stage as the keynote speaker at Commercial Real Estate Conference 2016. Just the day after the first debate by presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, conference attendees arrived eager to hear Gingrich’s outlook on how a new president will shape the future of the U.S.
Around the globe, politics are in upheaval over immigration, corruption, loss of national identity (remember Brexit?), financial crises and more. From Iceland to Italy to Brazil, sentiments undermining government are the norm. The U.S. is no different, says Gingrich, with 75 percent of Americans believing there is widespread corruption in the U.S. and 72 percent of the country believing we’re on the wrong track.
Let’s talk about The Donald. Trump is the first “Kardashian candidate,” says Gingrich. Washington elites couldn’t understand how Trump kept succeeding against a slate of formidable opponents, but they weren’t familiar with his following from reality TV and knack for unpredictability.
A day in the life of Trump is efficient, says Gingrich, starting with “Morning Joe” and Fox, then Twitter, then a few business and campaign meetings – all in Trump Tower. He heads to a rally, gives a speech, connects with the crowd. He reaches people as “human,” says Gingrich, who compared Trump’s day to Clinton’s time on the campaign trail, where she spends her days doing what Gingrich says is equivalent to raising money and running attack ads.
Now, on to the debate. While some look at Trump’s performance as less than ideal, Gingrich says all Trump had to do was “not blow it.” And he didn’t, says Gingrich. He says the Clinton campaign is based on two theories: 1) that Clinton is the real candidate of change, 2) that Trump is the most maniacal and unqualified person to ever run for president. Gingrich believes Trump was successful in defeating both points by identifying Clinton’s weaknesses politically and acting presidential by refraining from personal attacks, eliminating her core argument that he’s not qualified to be president.
The nation is at a serious crossroads, says Gingrich. We go down a road where everyone is an addict, needs taking care of and is always offended. Instead, says Gingrich, the nation can choose to be aggressive and competent and positive. Gingrich is an optimist, he says, and he believes people can collectively work together to invest in the nation and move the country forward.
Kathryn Hamilton, CAE, is Vice President for Marketing and Communications at NAIOP Corporate.