Are We Witnessing the Rise of Gavin Newsom?

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

I’m calling it right now. California Gov. Gavin Newsom will be the Democratic nominee for president in 2024. Barring some earth-shaking development, like a bombshell report exposing him as a serial killer, Newsom will be the one to face the Republican nominee in the upcoming campaign.

Yes, I understand that President Joe Biden says he plans to seek a second term. But if you believe that, I have some prime oceanfront property in Wyoming to sell you for cheap. Biden isn’t going to run again, and we can be reasonably sure nobody actually thinks he is.

But the Democrats have a serious White House problem. Their bench is looking awfully pathetic when it comes to potential contenders for the Oval Office. At first, many believed Vice President Kamala Harris would take up the mantle. But it did not take long for the nation to discover she is an empty pantsuit devoid of substance. Indeed, she has not had any major successes in the issues she has been tapped to handle – especially immigration. The left would be absolutely foolish to coalesce around a Harris candidacy.

So, who else do Democrats have?

Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was thought to be a possible contender. But this was before he got elderly New Yorkers killed by forcing them into nursing homes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The revelation that he has problems keeping his hands to himself when in the presence of females was also an issue.

People have brought up Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, but no sane person would take that seriously.

What about Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders?

The problem is that both of these individuals are too old, and too communist, for 2024.

Let’s face it: Gavin Newsom is the Democrats’ only hope for the next presidential race. Even more, it appears the left-wing chattering class is starting to realize that. In a piece titled “Gavin Newsom jumps onto the national stage and Bidenworld takes notice,” Politico notes that the California governor’s star is rising. The authors write:

In recent days, the California governor signaled to his team that, for now at least, what they’ve referred to internally as his “Paul Revere” phase has gone far enough. But the warnings turned a whisper campaign into something audible: Is the governor positioning himself for a White House run in 2024?

Newsom has stressed that he isn’t challenging President Joe Biden — either on his stewardship of their party or as a candidate in two years. He’s reminded people that Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris separately trekked across the country to stump for him in his recall election. But taken together, the moves have been widely interpreted as a relatively young executive using the specter of a future presidential bid to shine a bright spotlight on himself. And they’ve been enough to elicit early brushbacks from allies of Biden and Harris.

Newsom has been vocally critical of the Democratic Party’s failure to be more aggressive in the nationwide culture wars. While he has not criticized any Democratic politicians or officials by name, he has made it clear he believes they are not fighting hard enough to fend off attacks coming from Republicans.

But not everyone is happy with the governor’s admonishments. Cedric Richmond, a former senior Biden White House official who now serves in the Democratic National Committee, told Politico that “everybody is trying to be relevant for the next race.” He also took issue with Newsom’s criticisms against Democrats, claiming that he is not sure that the Biden administration is not “reading the Gavin Newsom opinion pages about his desire to be politically relevant.”

But regardless of what Democrats think of him, Newsom has practiced what he preached in this area. Politico noted that he “has long centered Republican leaders as foils,” and used his State of the State speech earlier this year to claim “America is plagued by agents of a ‘national anger machine’ that’s fueling division and weaponizing grievance.” He has also picked fights with Republican Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas.

When the Supreme Court’s draft opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson was leaked, Newsom called out Democrats for seemingly not capitalizing on the news. “Where the hell is my party? Where’s the Democratic Party? … Why aren’t we calling this out? This is a concerted, coordinated effort. And, yes, they’re winning,” he said.

Politico pointed out that Newsom does not plan to stop promoting a more pugilistic approach to his Republican opposition. The authors write:

Facing no serious threat in his fall reelection, Newsom is now planning to do what he demanded of fellow Democrats: directly engage with Republicans in those culture wars. His most attention-grabbing idea so far is one he pitched staff on his own. He joined Truth Social, Trump’s social media platform, where he’s since gone after the GOP on red state murder rates. The governor’s team also has discussed going on Fox News, with one adviser arguing that for Newsom, “it’s about the feeling we’re getting our asses kicked; that the Trumpers are owning the libs and we have to get into the fighting mode and make this a choice.”

All indications suggest that Newsom is, at the very least, mulling a presidential run. Right now, Democrats are still keeping up the charade that Biden is going to seek another term because they do not wish to turn him into more of a lame duck than he already is. But the writing is on the wall. Gov. Newsom is the Democrats’ only possible candidate that might be able to make a halfway decent showing against a resurgent former President Donald Trump or even DeSantis. There is nobody else that could take up this challenge with a remote chance of winning.

Of course, this does not mean Newsom will win in 2024. In fact, Democrats have fouled things up so badly that, as I have pointed out many times, Republicans could run a platypus for president and still win. But, the Democrats have to try, don’t they?


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