Newsom v. DeSantis: Clash of Future Titans or Pointless Debate?

Dr. Munr Kazmir
5 min readDec 2, 2023

Another day, another debate filled with incomprehensible cross-talk and unlikely 2024 candidates.

Gavin Newsom — Caricature. (Photo: DonkeyHotey)

Democrats have no Biden backup plan for 2024, despite age concerns,” fretted Jeff Mason for Reuters on December 1, 2023.

“The Democratic Party has no Plan B if President Joe Biden decided for any reason to halt his 2024 re-election campaign, and a sudden need to replace him as its standard-bearer would spark a messy intraparty battle,” began Mason.

Of course, it isn’t as if the Democratic Party doesn’t have a bullpen of talented benchwarmers in waiting. One potential future Democratic Party candidate for president is California Governor Gavin Newsom.

This week, Newsom accepted a debate challenge from another prominent second stringer — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis Takes On Newsom in Red vs. Blue State Debate,” wrote Susan Crabtree and Phillip Wegmann for Real Clear Politics on Friday.

“On what could just as easily have been a presidential debate stage, an alternate future seemed visible as two champions clashed over policy, politics, and competing visions of the national good,” began the pair. “Had some things been different, the prize might have been the White House.”

“But the Democrat, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, took every opportunity to remind the Republican, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, that the debate was only an exhibition,” they continued. “‘One thing we have in common,’ Newsom said dismissing suggestions he harbored White House ambitions and taking a dig at DeSantis, ‘is that neither of us will be the nominee for our party in 2024.”

Though Newsom has gone out of his way to declare that he is not — repeat, not — running for president, that he has done this so often while appearing to run a shadow presidential campaign hasn’t exactly put those persistent rumors to rest.

Post-debate coverage of the event has CNN anchors gushing that Gavin Newsom has a “sort of intangible aspect of political leadership,” a charisma “something you can’t really explain.”

“I thought this was a powerful moment for Newsom to be sort of the cheerleader that Biden and Harris can’t be, right?,”…