To some, the idea of a presidential run from California Gov. Gavin Newsom sounds like a thrilling and shiny new Democratic option. A Harvard CAPS–Harris Poll survey shared exclusively with The Hill found that 71% of Americans are not in favor of President Joe Biden running for a second term. But is changing horses mid-race, or even contemplating a new horse, the best strategy at this point?
If you’re wondering where all this “Newsom is running for president” business started, it began with a TV ad that ran in Florida last week—a serious shot across the bow from Newsom to Florida Republican and main fascist in charge Gov. Ron DeSantis.
In the ad, Newsom says, “It’s Independence Day, so let’s talk about what’s going on in America. Freedom? It’s under attack in your state. Your Republican leaders, they’re banning books, making it harder to vote, restricting speech in classrooms, even criminalizing women and doctors. I urge all of you living in Florida to join the fight, or join us in California, where we still believe in freedom. Freedom of speech, freedom to choose, freedom from hate, and the freedom to love. Don’t let them take your freedom.”
Lara Korte, a California state politics reporter for Politico, told KCRW that although Newsom had denied for years he wants to run for president, the Florida ad “sounds more like a presidential candidate than a California gubernatorial candidate.”
Newsom dodged a bullet (or a hailstorm) last year when Republicans went all in trying to recall him. As The Los Angeles Times reported in 2021, the GOP spent a whopping $276 million on the special election and still lost.
So Newsom will easily slide into reelection this fall. But fighting to be president? The general consensus is that he’s not trying to run, but simply putting up his fists.
The ad, which ran exclusively on Fox News and has been viewed 3.3 million times, cost the governor’s camp just a bit over $100,000 and a spit in the bucket for California politics.
One top Democratic donor told The Hill, “Democrats have been wanting someone who is willing to proactively throw a punch or two at Republicans and we haven’t seen much of that from the White House or other Democratic leaders lately. … It was somewhat refreshing.”
In an email to The Hill, Newsom’s spokesperson Nathan Click said the governor “believes now is not the time for Democrats to roll over and accept defeat. … Now is the time for Democrats to fight. … It’s about taking the fight to the GOP and calling them out for taking away Americans’ freedoms.”
Last week Newsom told CNN that DeSantis “is running for president,” adding, “I care about people. I don’t like people being treated as less of them. I don’t like people being told they’re not worthy. I don’t like people being used as political pawns. This is not just about him, but he is the poster child of it.”
The one thing Newsom will have to do if he’s serious about a presidential run is to take care of the hypocrisy meter.
Newsom was slammed recently after he took his family on a vacation in Montana, a state among 22 that California has prohibited for state-funded travel.
Only time will tell if Newsom runs or not, but he’s got our attention, no doubt the attention of the Biden administration, and best of all the attention of the racist, putrid bully running Florida.
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