DeSantis’ Debate Against Newsom Could Make or Break His Presidential Campaign

AP Photo/Charles Krupa

It appears DeSantis versus Newsom might just happen after all. Recently, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis accepted a challenge from California Governor Gavin Newsom to debate one another on the issues on which they have clashed over the past few years.

If this verbal donnybrook becomes a reality, it could do wonders for DeSantis’ floundering campaign if he performs well.

DeSantis publicly accepted Newsom’s challenge during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity:

The two politicians have taken jabs at one another on numerous occasions. Newsom has attempted to cast himself as the ultimate Democratic foil DeSantis, who has become a rising star on the right. Now, they will get a chance to see which one represents his state the best. He has taken shots at DeSantis over getting rid of inappropriate material in school libraries and even went so far as to take out ads in Florida begging its residents to move to California.

At a point when DeSantis’ campaign is struggling to get back on track, this debate could be precisely what he needs to assure primary voters that he has what it takes to take on President Joe Biden in the general election. Indeed, this will give him an opportunity to shine as he takes on another high-profile Democrat on the national stage.

DeSantis would be going into the contest with a slew of advantages, the most important of which is the fact that people are fleeing California in droves. If I were on Team DeSantis, I would advise him to reiterate this fact as many times as possible during the debate. Recent statistics released earlier this year show that a whopping 500,000 left the Golden State over the past two years.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s report also revealed that the state “had a net loss of more than a quarter-million residents between July 1, 2020, and July 1, 2021.” Even further, almost 7.5 million people moved out of California since 2010 with only 5.8 million moving to the state.

Florida, on the other hand, has been receiving more than its share of blue-state refugees. Between July 21 and July 2022, almost 444,500 people have moved to the Sunshine State. This represents an increase of 1185,000 over the prior year. Many of those moving to Florida come from California. Again, Team DeSantis would be wise to harp on this as much as humanly possible – it is an undeniable factor differentiating the performance of both governors.

DeSantis could also take stabs at Newsom on issues like crime, homelessness, exorbitant taxes, and the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Crime in California cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco has been quite problematic, especially since the state’s progressive prosecutors are more concerned with protecting violent criminals than the folks they victimize. Thugs are able to brazenly shoplift in broad daylight without store owners being able to do anything about it. This is one of the reasons why people are fleeing the state.

Even further, the COVID-19 pandemic is a huge sticking point for many Americans. Newsom has never seen a COVID restriction he and his hair gel did not adore. DeSantis would be wise to take jabs at the California governor’s apparent hypocrisy, which was showcased on many occasions in which he was interacting with people in person without wearing a mask.

To sum it up, DeSantis has a lot to gain by going up against Newsom – especially if he performs well. California’s governor should not be a tough opponent to defeat given how Florida has been faring over the past few years. If DeSantis manages to trip Newsom up or ask questions for which he does not have an adequate answer, it would be a great way to show the base that he is the man for the job.

In short, the debate between DeSantis and Newsom could rejuvenate the Florida governor’s campaign and position him as a formidable opponent against Biden. As long as he stays on the attack instead of allowing himself to remain on defense, he can make an excellent showing. Fortunately for DeSantis, Newsom has given him plenty of ammo to use against him.


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