Gingrich’s Victory in South Carolina
By Grace Lee Boggs
Last Saturday’s rout of Mitt Romney by Newt Gingrich in the South Carolina Republican primary is a warning that we are at a critical and very dangerous point in our history .
In the states where Republican primaries have taken place, the Republican base is mostly white lower middle and working class. This is a population which feels that it has lost a lot in the recent period. It feels victimized.
Like most Americans it has not only suffered economically from jobs and homes lost in the recession. Demographically it is no longer the majority. An African American has been elected president, Internationally our country is a declining empire, bogged down in unwinnable wars, owing the Peoples Republic of China trillions of dollars.
Until the January 21 South Carolina primary, Mitt Romney was the front runner because conventional wisdom viewed him as the Republican best situated to beat Obama in the November election.
But Romney never had the passionate support of the Republican base.
They did not identify with him. He was not a victim.He was too rich, too much a Harvard man, too much an offspring of the ruling class; (It was even discovered belatedly that he had narrowly lost the Iowa primary to former Senator Rick Santorum who campaigned as a worker).
By the South Carolina primary former House speaker Newt Gingrich, member of a military family, graduate of a small Southern college, and a student of history, had assessed the situation and figured out the strategy to beat Romney.
Appealing to the anger and sense of profound loss among working and lower middle class whites, he promised to restore the American dream of big paychecks, independence, empire.
His attempts to keep this promise will end in disaster and deeper demoralization. But his rout of Romney in the South Carolina primary challenges us to restore hope to the white working and lower middle class by shaking the world with a new American Dream that will grow our souls and bring out the best in us.
To catch a glimpse of this new dream, I recommend Krista Tippitt’s BECOMING DETROIT. You can listen to the podcast at