[guest post by Dana]
I don’t even know what is going on here. California’s Gov. Newsom is going to be debating Florida’s Gov. DeSantis (and Republican presidential candidate) tonight. Fox personality Sean Hannity will be moderating the event, and there will be no audience in attendance.
And why are they doing this? I don’t know. I’m sure their massive egos are the prime drivers here. But I also think there is political positioning taking place too. Gov. Newsom said he would not run against President Biden for the 2024 election, yet he is making his ‘national debut’ tonight in a debate with a noted Republican governor who hopes to become the next president. As Biden falters with his progressive flank (the latest issue being his support of Israel), and Senate and House Democrats continue to voice concerns about his age and the accompanying lapses that come with being an octogenarian, the pressure is mounting for him to step down. Gov. Newsom might be a considered viable replacement. After all, the California governor has the skill set that VP Kamala Harris doesn’t have: He can walk and talk and chew gum at the same time. And he knows politics, and he knows how to reach his base. He also has the charm and appearance that draws people to him. Additionally, he is the governor of the largest state in the country. While I have never voted for Newsom, I can see the draw. Newsom brings to the table what Harris doesn’t, and is unable to.
DeSantis must be panicking at this point. His poll numbers consistently lag behind Trump, who still leads by a wide margin. And just this week, billionaire Charles Koch announced that he would be backing Nikki Haley. So what has DeSantis got to lose? Not much. But I guess he could stand to gain some good publicity for himself and Republicans at large if he cleans Newsom’s clock. While DeSantis is also the popular governor of a large state, his appearances have been lackluster, and his tilt toward authoritarianism should not be ignored. Unfortunately for DeSantis and Haley, they are still playing for second place. Unbelievably.
You can watch the debate on Fox News at 6 pm tonight.