California Governor Gavin Newsom told Politico that he will enthusiastically support President Joe Biden in his bid for-re-election in 2024.
He also added, though it seems with less vigor, that he would not run if Biden chooses not (or simply forgets) to run himself.
Newsom’s decision, re-affirmed and re-told (for obvious reasons) to Biden after the recent not-too-terrible Democratic midterm showing, was made definitively public only after said results. If the expected “red wave” had indeed taken place, it can be safely assumed that no such Politico article would have appeared.
Playing a role in his decision, undoubtedly, is history: Ronald Reagan couldn’t take out Gerald Ford, Teddy “A chicken in every pot, a blonde in every pond” Kennedy didn’t defeat Jimmy Carter, and while Eugene McCarthy (and the Vietnam War) knocked Lyndon Johnson out of the race he and his supporters were (both figuratively and literally) crushed at the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago.
The decision to not run against Biden is one Newsom will stick to, barring some unexpected by growing more likely by the day clear and colossal and un-editable senility-related incident. His claim, considering, that he won’t run if Biden does not is subject to interpretation. He could make that switcheroo if he is called upon to “meet the moment” to save the nation from former President Donald Trump (or even DeSantis.)
While the national press swoons over Newsom, in any run he eventually makes – because he will at some point do so – he will carry obvious baggage. First, the not-exactly-stellar job he has done as governor will be noticed, even glancingly, by some of media and national political movers and shakers. And before the general election he would have to fight for the Democratic nomination as a cis, able-bodied, hetero, rich white guy. Progressive policy bona fides aside, his “identity,” which pretty much checks all the boxes on the intersectional oppress-o-meter, could pose an irksome challenge.
The other, more nebulous but also more intrinsic reason any campaign will be tough, is that Newsom has never really had to run a competitive campaign in a competitive state with a non-purely collaborationist media, like every other California politician who has come up in the one-party, one-power base hothouse that is the Golden State. Newsom’s act, as it were, will most likely not travel well.
Interestingly, this may set up a 2028 Newsom/DeSantis showdown. Both will have been out of office for two years, both will have spent that two years raising money and gripping and grinning across the country and securing supporters without having the inconvenience of a day job. Clearly this scenario is dependent upon what happens with the 2024 race and if DeSantis challenges Trump, but if it is Trump/Biden rematch in 2024 whomever wins would not be able to run again, leaving DeSantis to keep Trump supporters he would likely infuriate if he runs against him this time just as Newsom keeps the party nabobs and solons very happy by “waiting his turn.”
In other words, if both take a pass in 2024, it’s a very good bet Gavin will get his debate with Ron in the near future.
Oh, and that’s the biggest problem there is for Newsom. For all the “Florida Man” jokes, it is simply a better run state. Politics aside, unlike California, Florida can count votes and balance its budget without an income tax: in California only about 150,000 people “contribute” about 40 precent of the state’s ENTIRE revenue – four-tenths of one percent of the population.
Florida handles emergencies better (COVID, natural disasters), educates its children far better for far less money, all the while nurturing the kind of demographic diversity progressives demand and which California does not actually have – for all Newsom’s woke prattle.
Fun fact: no state has a wider income divide between the overwhelmingly white top earners and the overwhelmingly Hispanic bottom earners than California.
People across the country already know this – people are moving out of California; people are moving to Florida.
The voting, albeit with feet instead of hands, in the Newsom/DeSantis race has already started.
Note – As to the Kennedy joke, I did not make that up but am not quite sure who wrote it all those years ago. I believe it was the incredible and sorely missed P.J. O’Rourke but I could be mistaken – either way, credit where credit is most likely due.
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