Newt Gingrich praised Donald Trump for making the Republican Party the party of “working people” by speaking at a level 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade educations can understand.
After Ron DeSantis’ predictable yet still rather shocking failure to launch Wednesday evening, Trump’s backers were shoved onto actual working TV (as opposed to glitching Twitter spaces) to praise Dear Leader.
To this end, Newt Gingrich took to Laura Ingraham’s Fox “News” (entertainment) show to suggest that while DeSantis is smart, he doesn’t communicate at a level that everyday people can understand. Whereas, Trump speaks at a level of 3rd, 4th, and fifth-grade educations can understand, which has made the Republican Party the party of “working Americans.”
Gingrich: One of Trump’s great advantages is he talks at a level where 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade educations can say “oh yeah, I get that.” pic.twitter.com/wigU4DJmHZ
— Acyn (@Acyn) May 25, 2023
That’s awkward. It’s also not true, because many good political communicators are good at breaking things down for people who aren’t experts in their field without resorting to See Jane Run sentences devoid of actual policy. It’s a skill, but it’s not impossible.
Trump supporters and Newt defenders will no doubt claim that he didn’t mean exactly what has been suggested here, which is why we will allow Newt to speak for himself.
Newt told Republicans in 2016 “that Trump is not a conservative, speaks to voters ‘at the lowest level of any candidate in either party,’ and could lose in a landslide if he didn’t significantly change his approach to campaigning.”
Oh, maybe that was just about how crass Trump is? No, sorry. He was specifically referencing Trump’s language for fourth graders as being incapable of governing:
“Gingrich suggested Trump’s move from campaigning to governing would be challenging: ‘How we make the transition from, you know, language for fourth graders to real policy, I don’t know.’”
What’s changed? Republicans seem to have taken the notion that Trump’s simple-minded language at a fourth-grade level is why he appeals to working Americans.
It’s true that Trump is an effective communicator to his base. But that doesn’t mean that working Americans operate at a 3rd-grade level.
Trump appeals to some people with graduate degrees, though his base is largely people with less formal education. But that is true of all Republicans. That doesn’t explain Trump’s appeal. Trump does use simplistic language that he repeats often even in the same sentence, which from anyone else would sound as clunky as it does to write it out. Trump lies facilely. Trump brutally uses people and abuses them. Trump steals from people and from the country. Trump curses a lot. Trump insults and taunts anyone from Gold Star families to a disabled reporter. Trump has been found liable for sexual abuse by a jury of his peers. Trump is not a good person, he is not a good leader, he was not a good president.
But Trump has charisma. Trump feels authentic to his base. Trump’s language functions as a cult leader’s preaching. DeSantis is never going to have that, and no one else on the current Republican presidential bench has it either.
The bottom line is Republicans took from Trump’s much-manipulated win in 2016 that “working Americans” respond to 3rd-grade level discourse, which explains why they don’t feel they need to respond with actual policy solutions for “working Americans” anymore. Republicans throw culture war red meat into the resulting chaos from their policies that benefit the elites and then run away, while their base feeds off the frenzy of rage that a drag queen somewhere read a fairy tale to kids.
The Republican Party has contempt for its voters, and that’s hard to pull off without a lot of charisma and deep comfort with lying and using people.
Listen to Sarah on the PoliticusUSA Pod on The Daily newsletter podcast here.
Sarah has been credentialed to cover President Barack Obama, then VP Joe Biden, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and exclusively interviewed Speaker Nancy Pelosi multiple times and exclusively covered her first home appearance after the first impeachment of then President Donald Trump.
Sarah is two-time Telly award winning video producer and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Connect with Sarah on Post, Mastodon @[email protected], & Twitter.