A date has officially been set for the Gavin Newsom-Ron DeSantis debate – a spectacle that some political observers believe is another effort by Newsom to position himself as a better alternative to Biden for Democrats in 2024. But as the buzz around Newsom continues to build, it’s worth asking if he would really be a more attractive option for Democrats next year.
Ostensibly, the upcoming debate between Newsom and DeSantis, which will take place on November 30 in Georgia, is a chance for the two governors to make their case for why their model of governance works best.
But Newsom’s real motivation for seeking a nationally televised event may be far more ambitious. The 55-year-old career politician raised eyebrows within both the Democrat Party establishment and political media last year when he launched an ad blitz in Florida and Texas targeting the actions of those states’ conservative governors.
It seems increasingly likely that Newsom views himself as, if not an outright challenger, an insurance policy for a historically weak incumbent president. With so many questions swirling about Biden’s electability and declining health, Newsom has ample reason to believe the party might need a viable alternative to take his place before next November.
That leaves Newsom in a potentially advantageous position. Last week, Democrat strategist Michael Tarr Hopkins told NewsNation that the governor has “prepared a campaign that’s plug-and-play ready.”
“I think that’s one of his strengths,” Hopkins continued. “It’s why you’ve seen him do things like being willing to debate Gov. DeSantis and go on these tours around the South. It’s so that he could prepare himself should President Biden not run.”
Other articles have noted that Newsom has spent much of the last year gathering email lists, high-dollar donors, and even campaign advisors for his potential run.
But Newsom’s record as governor reveals few successes that he could point to as evidence that he would make a good president. Despite campaigning heavily on addressing California’s homelessness problem, the crisis has only gotten worse. People are fleeing the state in record numbers, and crime is out of control.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Newsom regime became infamous for enacting some of the harshest lockdown measures in the country. California was among the first states to enter lockdown, with everything from schools to churches to salons shut down indefinitely. Even as other states began to slowly ease measures, he kept Californians under lock and key.
Newsom even threatened to “defund” his own cities if they refused to comply with his agenda. Yet at the height of the pandemic he was caught breaking his own lockdown policies to attend a dinner party at one of the most exclusive restaurants in the state.
Newsom’s COVID-19 policies were so egregious that even NBC’s Chuck Todd blasted the governor for “allow[ing] the motion picture industry and the movie industry to get back to work, but you didn’t allow people to grieve together at funerals or at churches.”
Following the death of George Floyd, Newsom decided to permit citizens to gather in public, but only to engage in the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests and riots. Whereas church attendance was still prohibited by the state, Newsom permitted thousands of protesters to gather in massive groups that terrorized much of the state. He then enacted new legislation hampering the ability of police to do their jobs. Less than a year later, he flip-flopped on this legislation amid public backlash over rising crime.
Newsom has also effectively turned governance of his state over to the woke mob – hardly a ringing endorsement for voters throughout the country who are weary of the left’s constant lecturing and identity politics.
Just this year, Newsom’s “reparations committee” outlined a plan to give every black Californian $5 million in addition to an annual stipend, free healthcare, and other benefits that would cost the state billions of dollars – despite the fact that California was never a slave state.
Newsom has also signed off on a slate of radical anti-parents’ rights bills, including one that makes California a “sanctuary state” for minors who believe they are transgender – in other words effectively allowing the state to take custody of confused children if their parents refuse to “affirm” them.
California has also become a sanctuary state for illegal immigration under Newsom, directly exacerbating the country’s border crisis. Soon after taking office, Newsom signed a slate of bills encouraging more illegal immigrants to come to the state and funneled state tax dollars toward preventing their deportation.
Newsom’s tenure as governor has been such a disaster, in fact, that a full 40 percent of the state’s residents voted to recall in him 2021. Although the recall fell short, it’s clear that even a sizable portion of California’s liberal voters think Newsom has been a failure.
Given all of these glaring flaws, one has to wonder if Newsom’s elevated status as a prospective replacement for Biden is really reflective of his potential, or merely of a desperate party with no other viable options.