Never let a crisis go to waste are words you should live by if you’re California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is running for re-election less than a year after defeating a recall attempt. Politically resurrected, Newsom is jumping confidently into the void created by a president unwilling to take the fight to the opposition and a Democratic party afraid of its own shadow.
Newsom ran a cheeky ad on Fox News Florida affiliates, urging residents of the Republican-run state to “join the fight or join us in California where we still believe in freedom.”
A governor making a direct appeal to another state’s voters is highly unusual, and at first glance the 30-second ad looks like Newsom is being pitched for a potential 2024 matchup against the Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, whose policies “ban books, make it harder to vote, restrict speech in classrooms, and even criminalize women and doctors,” according to Newsom, is driving the Republican agenda.
“Don’t let them take your freedom,” pleads Newsom, standing outside in the California sun, casually dressed, citing “freedom of speech, freedom to choose, freedom from hate and freedom to love,” all of whom are under attack America by a radicalized Republican Party.
The Democrats need to get out of their defensive stance and take the fight to the Republicans. Who better to do this than Newsom, governor of a state with the world’s fifth largest economy? He has a platform, and he has been frustrated for some time by his party’s coyness in confronting the radicalization of the Republican Party, reflected in the recent string of extreme Supreme Court rulings on abortion, guns and climate.
Embracing cultural issues is good news for Newsom, and “he conveys it well,” says Jack Pitney, professor of politics at Claremont-McKenna College. “He’s doing what he wants to do, and that’s rallying the Democrats.”
Maybe there’s some hurt feelings in the White House. Vice President Kamala Harris may feel betrayed by fellow Californian Newsom, a friend-turned-rival. President Joe Biden feels he is not getting proper recognition in his party for what he has accomplished. He’s right about that, but this is a battle on multiple fronts, and Newsom has answered the call.
And when it comes to intra-party skirmishes, Newsom has no disadvantages.
“He’ll probably pick up some points,” Pitney says. “It doesn’t hurt DeSantis. He probably likes someone from California coming to his state. And it establishes Newsom as backup material if Biden doesn’t run and Harris stalls.”
That’s not to say that Newsom hasn’t repeatedly shot himself in the foot by showing himself to be a jaded elitist — if not a total hypocrite — like he did in 2020 when he attended a maskless party at an ultra-exclusive party attended restaurant for a big Democrat donor in violation of his own guidelines, or, more recently, vacationing in Montana despite a California ban on state-funded travel to the state. If you find yourself in a showdown with the Republicans, it’s best not to give your opponents a ton of ammunition.
Democrats are demoralized by the mountain of bad news that threatens to ruin their midterms chances. They are unhappy at their party’s lackluster leadership from the White House, while recognizing that Biden has work to do and inspirational messages are not his forte. Other people in the party have to fill the vacuum and make the case.
Newsom brought the fight to DeSantis, a preview of what Democrats must do if they are to rebalance the midterms from Biden’s low approval rating to the threat of a radical Republican party gaining more power.
“Gavin’s ad is a helpful test case for how we can redesign this election,” said Simon Rosenberg, founder of the New Democrat Network (NDN). “The radicalization of the Republican Party is the most important issue in this election. We can now see the world they want us to live in – guns everywhere, 10-year-olds being forced into childbirth, an erosion of democracy. It’s not just anything – and Joe Biden doesn’t have to do everything in the Democratic Party.”
Recent Supreme Court rulings on abortion, guns and climate bear no relation to modern life and are constitutionally questionable. It would be political misconduct for Democrats not to resort to the liberties Americans are losing under Republican rule. “If I were advising the Democrats,” Pitney says, “we need a Democratic Congress to review a runaway Supreme Court.”
Pitney worked in Republican politics in Washington before becoming an academic, and he cites Republicans who scored political points by deciphering the Supreme Court landmark miranda Decision to go too far with defendants’ rights. The 1966 ruling required law enforcement to inform every detainee of their constitutional rights, including the right to remain silent and to have a lawyer. It coincided with a spike in crime rates, and while there was no evidence linking the two, that didn’t stop Republicans from running against a runaway liberal Supreme Court so soft on crime.
“You should definitely walk on the pitch. They would have the high ground. People like checks and balances and the courts are out of control,” Pitney told The Daily Beast.
Conservative commentator Bill Kristol recently tweeted: “Republicans have stood up well to the Supreme Court for decades, claiming (with some truth) that the Court is imposing their liberal policies on the country. Going up against the extremist Alito-Thomas Court wouldn’t be crazy.”
Now it’s time to turn the tables and face off against unelected robed partisans who are taking away our freedoms.
Newsom has nothing to lose and everything to gain, which is a powerful asset for any politician. For Democrats worried about the lack of a bank as a generation of leaders in Washington ages, Newsom has pushed open the door for others to join him in aggressively championing the cultural values their party stands for and the urgency to mediate is not from Washington.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/gavin-newsom-takes-up-the-fight-because-biden-wont?source=articles&via=rss Gavin Newsom is taking the fight because Biden isn’t