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Gavin Newsom for President in 2024? Why It Could Happen

Gavin Newsom
Governor Gavin Newsom speaking with attendees at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California. Image Credit: Gage Skidmore.

Less than a year ago, it would have seemed laughable to ponder California Gov. Gavin Newsom running for president in 2024.

For a time, polls showed he could lose the recall vote and be replaced by a talk radio host. Merely reaching the threshold of enough signatures to force a recall vote indicates a significant dislike for a governor in a state the size of California. A state that was formerly a symbol of economic vibrancy has descended into a dystopian, third-world wasteland on his watch. Income inequality has skyrocketed. So many people left that the state was lucky to only lose one congressional district.

So, well, it’s still sort of laughable to think Newsom could win a general election. But, he could be well-positioned to win the Democratic presidential nomination.

Many things have to happen. A lot of Democrats don’t want President Joe Biden to run for a second term. But the alternative, Vice President Kamala Harris, is even more alarming to Democrats looking at her favorable ratings. If Biden opts not to run for age or health reasons, Democrat heavyweights might seek a way to give Harris a soft landing, with a high-paying corporate board seat or a more noble post as a president of an Ivy League university.

Or, if not, maybe Democrats consider Harris weak enough to challenge in a primary without Biden.

A recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll, conducted in late June, showed that Newsom fared better in hypothetical general election matchups with either former President Donald Trump or Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis than either Biden or Harris would against the two leading Republican prospects for 2024. Interestingly, this particular poll showed each Democrat winning a narrow margin over each Republican. But, there were fewer undecideds when the question involved Newsom.

Newsom is likely watching polls and must have at least wanted the speculation when he appeared in an ad campaign aired throughout Florida urging Floridians to leave the state to come to California. While that sentiment is absurd considering Florida is among the states Californians flee to, it was designed to troll DeSantis.

Picking a fight with the second-highest polling Republican in the country is not a bad strategy, since every Democrat is already at war with the top polling Republican, Trump. And Newsom already declared victory over Trumpism with his recall victory in 2021.

He not only won but did so in stunning fashion, as about two-thirds of voters rejected the recall, defying many of the polls that projected a close contest.

The recall effort boosted his national profile, much as the failed 2012 recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker did. Of course, Walker seemed to be that candidate that checked most of the right boxes but never caught on when he ran for president. Newsom’s fate on that remains to be seen. But there’s no doubt he has used the recall victory to burnish his national profile.

As NBC Bay Area political analyst Larry Gerston said, “Gavin Newsom has made it a point to extend his presence on national issues, and position himself, so, that if for some reason Biden doesn’t run, and if Harris falters, there is Newsom.”

If, if, and if. It would be a pretty curvy road to the White House for Newsom for 2024. And, while he seems to be polling well now, it seems the concerning situation California finds itself in would perhaps be a disqualifying factor for general election voters.

However, Newsom has pushed new gun control laws, making California an abortion sanctuary state, and other progressive policies that thrill Democratic primary voters. He could likely go to the primary debate stage and declare he has delivered more progressive results than the other candidates—perhaps including the administration of his fellow California and embattled vice president.

Fred Lucas is chief national affairs correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Abuse of Power: Inside The Three-Year Campaign to Impeach Donald Trump.”

Written By

Fred Lucas is chief national affairs correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of "The Right Side of History" podcast. Lucas is also the author of "Abuse of Power: Inside The Three-Year Campaign to Impeach Donald Trump."

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Dan Roberts

    July 6, 2022 at 9:51 am

    Gavin Newsom as President? Well why not? He’s done such great job running California off the cliff I’m sure he’d complete the job Biden has started for the entire country. Hey America! Want to live in a third world dystopian future? Newsom’s your man for 2024!

    • Lester e Powers

      July 7, 2022 at 2:45 pm

      100% correct.

  2. Omega 13

    July 6, 2022 at 10:51 am

    Newsom? What a cluster foxtrot!

  3. Dude

    July 6, 2022 at 11:11 am

    Newsom is just another version of Trudeaue. Both POS. I hope SCOTUS can stop election shenanigans before the get started or he may just win.

  4. mcswell

    July 6, 2022 at 12:00 pm

    I can’t believe that in a nation of 300 million, with something like 200 million being at least 35 years old (the minimum age for a President under the US constitution), the Democrats can’t find someone more sensible than Biden, Harris and Newsom. And likewise on the Republican side, where the front runners are even worse, if that’s possible.

    My only conclusion is that no one in their right mind wants the job.

    I guess that’s not uncommon across the world: Putin and Xi are megalomaniacs, Boris Johnson can’t keep out of trouble, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is shaping up to be just like Sr., Modi seems to be aligning himself with Russia and doing everything he can to inflame Hindu vs. Muslim tensions, and so on.

  5. Eric-ji

    July 6, 2022 at 1:11 pm

    Whatever.

  6. GhostTomahawk

    July 6, 2022 at 1:47 pm

    🤣🤣🤣 Newsom won his recall because his AG moved the election date and the ensuing chaos caused massive confusion. Then the media ran a racist smear campaign against Larry Elder to give him cover. Newsom is a clown and everything that embodies what is wrong with American politics today. Corrupt, hypocritical lying… he’s profited on covid at tax payer expense. He has mismanaged the state. CA lost seats but it should’ve been more… but CA counts illegals in the census. So the 1.2 million California’s that left were off set by the 1 million plus illegals that flooded in. Dumb people from the 3rd world are easier to manipulate

  7. Mare

    July 12, 2022 at 5:14 pm

    That’s right. Lord knows we need Newsom to mellow out some of this madness!

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