Ron DeSantis and Gavin Newsom: What Will They Do in 2024? California Gov. Gavin Newsom says he is “all in” on President Joe Biden’s reelection and will not challenge him for the Democratic nomination in 2024. The freshly reelected Newsom is saying he won’t run for president in the next election regardless of what Biden decides to do.
What Will Newsom Do?
But it does suggest big-name Democrats might be getting ready to clear the field for Biden after a better than expected midterm election result.
Most Democrats have been telling pollsters they don’t want Biden to run or be the nominee again for months. The midterm exit polls said much the same thing despite the lack of red wave. Newsom had positioned himself as Plan B, but is taking himself out of the running at a critical time.
Ron DeSantis: What Will He Do?
Now all eyes are on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. He is also coming off a big reelection win in a state that has become a symbol of his party’s governance nationwide. He and Newsom were putting themselves in position to run for president while respecting the frontrunner status of former President Donald Trump and Biden, respectively.
Though weakened by the midterms, Trump has already announced he is running for president again in 2024. Biden was strengthened by them, and while a final decision is still forthcoming, he appears to be leaning heavily in favor of seeking a second term.
Newsom has all but said he is willing to wait for 2028 at the earliest. Some are urging DeSantis to do the same. Yet waiting didn’t help recent presidential aspirants as disparate as Chris Christie and Elizabeth Warren, while candidates who struck while the iron was hot — think Barack Obama — won regardless of experience level or their place in line.
If elected, Biden or Trump would be rendered ineligible to run again by the 22nd Amendment. They’d also presumably be considered to old for another candidacy after a defeat, though most observers would have assumed the same of Biden in his 80s until recently.
As diminished as Trump now looks, he would be favored to win the nomination unless someone of DeSantis’ caliber enters the primaries. It is difficult to see former Vice President Mike Pence beating his old boss, and even harder to see soon-to-be former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan or a variety of Never Trumpers doing the same.
In the absence of DeSantis or someone like him, 2024 would likely be a rematch of 2020. If the economy further deteriorates, perhaps that would be winnable for Republicans. At the moment, especially based on how the midterm unfolded, it does not look good for the GOP.
Biden versus a fresh face, a person under 50, someone who has never been a national candidate before, someone unlikely to keep talking about 2020 and the past — that could be a game-changer.
Of course, there is no guarantee that DeSantis would beat Trump or that the GOP nomination would be worth much if he did. Trump is likely to run a scorched-earth campaign for his third straight Republican nod. He could drive up DeSantis’ negatives. He could even bolt the party and throw the general election.
Trump’s willingness to watch the world burn is at this point as much a source of his strength and his readiness to build the wall.
But if the Democrats have taken a step closer to renominating Biden if he wants to run again with Newsom’s latest comments and the midterm election results, this month has left the GOP presidential contest wider open than ever before.
DeSantis faces similar considerations to Newsom, beyond just the fact he is understudy to a president ahead of him. DeSantis has been reelected as governor of an important state and hasn’t even taken his second oath of office yet. He will be keen to show at least some commitment to Florida before he makes any public decision about his future.
The only time Democratic challenger Charlie Crist had DeSantis on the defensive at all during the final weeks of the reelection campaign was on the question of whether the latter would commit to serving out his full term if reelected. (DeSantis didn’t.)
But most candidates will need to decide whether to run for president sometime next year. Newsom has apparently made his decision. A lot is riding on DeSantis’.
Expert Biography: A 19FortyFive Contributing Editor, James Antle III is the Washington Examiner’s politics editor. He was previously managing editor of the Daily Caller, associate editor of the American Spectator, and Editor of the American Conservative. He is the author of Devouring Freedom: Can Big Government Ever Be Stopped?