Opinion writer

Newt Gingrich (Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

There are a few reasons I think Newt Gingrich would be the best running mate for Donald Trump.

First, Gingrich clearly has the requisite experience to be vice president and to be president if called upon. Period. In addition to his extensive resume of government service, Gingrich has been a tireless student of government and history, and he is one of Washington’s few authentic, original thinkers. He is accepted as a gifted leader and thinker among many members of both parties, in the media, among world leaders, within members of American industry and private business owners from Wall Street to the Chamber of Commerce to Silicon Valley. Everybody thinks Gingrich understands them – or at least has an informed view about their priorities and challenges.

Gingrich is also the best of Trump’s surrogates I have seen at being able to make some sense of what The Donald says. Gingrich can take Trump’s grunts, slurs, rants, thought fragments, conspiracy theories, wacky accusations and half-baked, uninformed observations and distill them into some lucid policy positions. It is a wonder to behold, and it shows just how mentally adroit Gingrich really is. Somebody needs to be able to articulate what a Trump presidency would actually be about and what it might realistically seek to accomplish, and Newt Gingrich has the capacity to do this – while Trump himself obviously does not.

A third but equally important reason I believe Gingrich would be the best vice president for Trump is that he would be the best person to help the GOP absorb a loss in November. Let’s face it, there is a good chance Trump will lose and there is a good chance that loss will be ugly – not just in terms of the margin by which Hillary Clinton might win, but in the sense that the Trump campaign could devolve into a nearly bankrupt farce. Trump won’t lose with dignity after fighting the good fight. He won’t take responsibility for the loss or accept the legitimacy of his defeat. He will aggressively look for others to blame, maybe well before Election Day. You can bet that he will lash out viciously and blame his inadequacies on a host of villains, starting with the “establishment Republicans.” He will specifically blame the Bushes and Mitt Romney and other select individuals, and of course he will blame the media. Undoubtedly, there will be litigation and threats of litigation. Undoubtedly, there will be tirades against enemies and perceived enemies. There could even be a time when, in Trump’s mind, the worse the loss, the better, as retribution for the party that failed him.

All in all, this could be a real historical debacle, and I think Newt Gingrich is the only person equipped to co-pilot the GOP to a crash landing that could help the party survive. A less able and more inexperienced politician would be shell-shocked, isolated and of limited value to the party if we are faced with a colossal defeat. Gingrich, on the other hand, has the performance skills and widespread credibility necessary to emerge the day after a brutal loss and rationally make the case for why the Republican Party isn’t dead and how we should proceed into the future.

Maybe it’s a bit of a stretch, but in the event of a cataclysmic loss, I see Gingrich as someone akin to the Tina Turner character Aunty Entity from the movie “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.”  Just as Aunty built and ruled Bartertown after global destruction, Gingrich could begin to provide a sense of order and a way back to civilization for the GOP after the Trump experience.

There are other good vice-presidential-candidate options – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, in particular – but none better than Newt Gingrich, in my opinion. Gingrich would probably be best for a President Trump if Trump were to win the election, and he would be best for the GOP if Trump goes down in flames.