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Why it’s foolish for GOP to underestimate Gavin Newsom

Jun 20, 2023

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Even the “Terminator” — former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — thinks California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) should run for president. Newsom has been building a national profile for some time now and coming from the Democratic stronghold of California with Washington ambitions, some think a Newsom run is not a question of if, but when.

Straight Arrow News contributor Ruben Navarrette argues that despite the governor’s less-than-stellar record in the The Golden State, Republicans — and even President Biden — should ignore Newsom at their peril.

When it comes to Republicans, I can read their minds like a short but violent comic book that’s paid for and published by the National Rifle Association. And oh, yeah, where the pages are all white.

Right about now I know exactly what they’re thinking about California Governor Gavin Newsom, and his undeclared, but inevitable 2024 White House bid. They’re thinking: “What? What does Newsom have to show for his four and a half years as governor of the nation’s most populous state, and his eight years as lieutenant governor before that?”

Okay, we get that he’s young and 55 and good looking. But is he really planning to go around the country and promise voters that he’s gonna make America into California? Who wants that? With crime, homelessness, and a sky high cost of living, what kind of record would he even run on?

Besides advocating for reparations for Black Americans, a proposal that he now seems to be backing away from, what the hell has Newsom done that he feels the burning need to share with the rest of the country? Clearly, they don’t know Gavin.

When it comes to Republicans, I can read their minds like a short but violent comic book that’s paid for and published by the National Rifle Association. And oh, yeah, where the pages are all white. Right about now I know exactly what they’re thinking about California Governor Gavin Newsom, and his undeclared, but inevitable 2024 White House bid. They’re thinking, What? What does Newsom have to show for his four and a half years as governor of the nation’s most populous state, and his eight years as the tech Governor before that, okay, we get that he’s young and 55 and good looking. But he’s really planning to go around the country and promised voters that he’s gonna make America into California who wants that, with crime, homelessness, and a sky high cost of living? What kind of record would he even run on? Besides advocating for reparations for black Americans? A proposal they now seems to be backing away from? What the hell has Newsom done, that he feels the burning need to share with the rest of the country? Clearly, they don’t know Gavin, I’d be happy to reduce them after we square away a couple of things. First, it’s worth remembering that Newsom isn’t technically running for president, even though he’s sort of definitely is. He’s conducting a kind of stealth campaign, where he raises millions of dollars, picks high profile fights with Republican White House contenders, inserts himself in the national debate over contentious issues, and then makes the rounds of national media, all of this as an undeclared candidate. And all of this in order to position himself as go to Gavin, the Democrat who’s ready and waiting with a prefab presidential campaign. Should President Biden falter or decide for whatever reason not to follow through on his reelection bid. With poll showing the majority of Democrats Democrats mind you, saying that Biden is too old to run for president again, many of that party want to have a plan B, or C or D. Newsom likely thinks that there’s room in there for him and all that chaos. Second, I’m not willing to stipulate that when a person who’s currently a governor runs for president, that somehow how she or he did as governor, or the condition that the state is in should be the sole determinant of whether they’ll make a good precedent. Maybe that’s the way it ought to be. But that’s not the way it is or the way it’s been. In 2000 When then Texas Governor George W. Bush ran for president, the Lone Star State was in bad shape. It was embroiled in a heated battle over how school districts should be funded. And the narrative of the so called Texas miracle, where students test scores supposedly shot up overnight, was already coming unraveled. It didn’t matter. Bush supporters could claim that the political climate back in Texas prevented anything from getting fixed. Besides in time, once he became President Bush would be tested in new and unpredictable ways like he was by the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001. So you could be the best governor in America, and hail from a perfect state where everyone is batting 1000. It doesn’t matter, the presidency will still throw you a curveball. Still Republicans or for that matter, President Biden and fellow Democrats underestimate Newsom at their peril, having won two statewide elections for governor and two more before that, as lieutenant governor, as well as having to feed a recall election along the way. The California governor wants to go the show. Newsom is a natural with his movie star good looks disarming charisma and sharp political skills. His emotional intelligence is off the charts. And he’s an excellent campaigner who loves loves being on the stump. In the horse race of politics, Newsom is a thoroughbred at the moment he’s chomping at the bid and looking for his lane. Republicans and Democrats beware. Before long, he’s going to find it

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