[guest post by Dana]
I suppose if Gov. Ron DeSantis were polling remotely close to you-know-who in the Republican race, there wouldn’t be much upside to this. It would be risky. And there would indeed be a possible downside for the Florida governor if Gov. Gavin Newsom wiped the floor with him. However, given DeSantis’s dismal polling behind Trump, I don’t think it will make much of a difference if he wins or loses the debate. There is, however, a potential upside for Gov. Gavin Newsom. If he dominates, voters outside of California would be exposed to a young, potential presidential candidate exercising his political chops and eviscerating his opponent. And, if he makes a last minute decision to challenge President Biden, winning a debate like this could bolster his chances:
The long-rumored televised debate between California Governor Gavin Newsom and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is officially a go.
Fox News says that its 9 p.m. host Sean Hannity will moderate the debate, which will be held Thursday, Nov. 30 in the state of Georgia. The 90-minute debate will take place at a location to be determined, and will run during Hannity’s 9 p.m. program.
This would make sense if both DeSantis and Newsom were both running for the presidency. However, Newsom has been very direct when reiterating that he will not challenge President Biden in 2024. And yet, while making an appearance on 60 Minutes last night, he was sure vague when questioned again about it:
And this caught my eye:
A DeSantis-Newsom debate…will give the politicians extensive time on Fox’s primetime lineup to make their case.
What case? One is a Republican running for the presidency, and one is a sitting Democratic governor who will soon be termed out. I think DeSantis is already starting at a deficit simply by agreeing to debate Newsom. Other than it being a matter of ego and pride (not good reasons), why would he deign to agree to this?
Anyway, there is some interesting chatter behind the scenes:
Advisors of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have reportedly complained about the planned debate, with one calling the event “disrespectful” to the Democratic ticket. NBC News reported that some advisors are concerned the debate will make voters think Newsom is running a shadow 2024 campaign that could elevate DeSantis’ platform, but others have said it could be beneficial for the party to see a high-profile Democrat defending his record against a GOP hopeful.
At this point, everyone running on the Republican side is just playing for seconds, hoping to be selected as Trump’s running mate or securing a cabinet position (if Trump wins the national election). Remarkably, Trump continues to poll well above his challengers and not even the indictments or his insanity on social media are making a dent in his popularity. To the contrary.
At the end of the day, however, that Trump has an ever increasing lead over his competition remains an indictment against…Republican voters.