Gavin the Fool. Gavin the Jester.
These are two of the gambits being used by California Governor Gavin Newsom in his early bid to sweep through re-election in November and then turn his sights on becoming the Democrat Party’s presidential nominee in 2024.
Forget Ol’ Joe. Forget bumbling Kamala. The slick, rich white hipster from San Francisco is on the make.
Here are two more ploys he is using as a way to stand out from the crowd in the still very, very early 2024 Democrat presidential sweepstakes:
Tweak the Right. Thumb your nose at Trump supporters.
In so doing he wins kudos from the party’s activist left wing base that despises Trump and all things MAGA, and whose support he will need if he hopes to succeed in his long-range ambitions.
His recent advertising spot comparing California with Florida has garnered him the attention he was seeking, but his Gavin the Jester strategy was actually unveiled for all to see last month when he joined Truth Social.
It was a publicity stunt, essentially. Other prominent Democrat politicians and the mainstream media have largely ignored the Donald Trump-owned social media site, so as to not give publicity to the former president and the probable 2024 Republican presidential candidate.
Gavin the Jester had a different idea, though. His stated intention was to call out “Republican lies,” although this was clearly disingenuous. His real aim was to put himself in the national spotlight and cast himself as a Democrat willing to venture into enemy territory to take on Trump and his supporters.
He followed this same strategy with his Florida ad spot, placing himself squarely on the home turf of Governor Ron DeSantis. DeSantis is a hero of the right and may even turn out to be a presidential or vice-presidential candidate himself in 2024.
The spot generated a storm of ridicule from Floridians, Republicans, and many others on the right. To them he seemed a fool—Gavin the Fool. But that was precisely the point. Newsom and his handlers know they’re not going to get those votes anyway; they’re playing to a different audience.
In the ad the middle-aged career politician espouses left wing values that resonate with Democrats. That he did so in a manner that ticked off right-wingers only further endeared him to his base. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and all that.
Newsom appears to be climbing in 2024 presidential preference polls for Democrats, and that’s all he’s looking for here. He wants to be part of the conversation, a player to be potentially reckoned with.
It’s obviously far too early for him to play his hand and declare for the presidency. There is this little matter of winning re-election as governor that must be dealt with first.
And it would look very impolitic indeed to be seen as the rude, overly ambitious upstart who pushed frail Joe out of the Oval Office. Another puzzle that must be solved is how to deal politically with the woman of color—and a fellow Californian to boot!—who’s veep. Kamala may have her own higher office ambitions.
We won’t know for a long time whether Newsom’s tweak-the-right political gambit will pay off ultimately. But all indications are that when it comes to playing the fool, that’s a job Gavin Newsom is uniquely well suited for.
- Charles Swanston’s Headless Rancher Statue is a Casualty of War - January 4, 2023
- They Did Their Jobs at Pearl Harbor, and We Are All the Better For It - December 7, 2022
- While California Burns, Politicians Fiddle: One Rancher’s Story - November 30, 2022