Former Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich visited the campus of Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling last night. He spoke with students and community members about the upcoming presidential election.
“Why 2016 Will Be An Extraordinary Election” was the title of the talk. Several hundred gathered to hear Gingrich analyze the front runners in the upcoming presidential election.
A Republican and former presidential candidate himself, Gingrich predicted that Hillary Clinton would be indicted before the election over an email scandal leaving democratic socialist Bernie Sanders with the Democratic nomination. Gingrich also spent a lot of time describing the campaign techniques Donald Trump uses to maintain a lead in GOP polls, namely his ability to make a lot of noise, talk at a 4th grade level, and suppress logical debate.
As for who West Virginians would rally behind, Gingrich wouldn’t venture a guess other than to say:
“I think if you had a choice between the Hillary-or-Sanders versus the not Hillary-or-Sanders, the not-Hillary-or-Sanders is going to do well.”
In the end, Gingrich said, there would likely be two candidates forming two camps - one wanting to abolish all billionaires, and one wanting to make everyone a billionaire.
Gingrich also spoke about how the system of government in the U.S. is “stupid” and “decaying” and that any wild-ride candidate would be better than business-as-usual.
“If you end up with Trump or Cruz, or Sanders, but particularly Trump or Cruz, just hold onto your chair because it’s going to be a wild ride," Gingrich said. "I happen to think that’s better, more creative, and more optimistic for America’s future than the decay we’re living through -- which has been a bipartisan decay -- it’s not an Obama comment. The system has been decaying.”
Many students were in attendance. One student, a senior theology major at the university Elizabeth Nawrocki wrote a letter to school administrators before the event expressing some disapproval of the decision to bring Gingrich to the school.
“I don’t think most of Gingrich’s political stances are in line with what we stand for as a Jesuit, Catholic institution.”
Nevertheless students were attentive, respectful, and peaceful, offering thoughtful questions.
Members of the audience asked Gingrich questions that encompassed issues such as the Black-Lives-Matter, West Virginia’s depressed economy, and gun control.
Gingrich talked about how the legacy of slavery has led to current social dynamics that leave undereducated black men especially disenfranchised. His advice to lawmakers regarding West Virginia’s economy is to throw out all policies that don’t create jobs. As for guns, Gingrich underlined his support of the right to bear arms saying that the constitution was designed above all else to protect the public from government itself.
During his visit Gingrich, a Catholic, also planned to attend a reception hosted by the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, Michael Bransfield.