California Governor Gavin Newsom often comes up as a prospective Democratic presidential candidate. While Newsom has vowed not to run in 2024, he’s young, ambitious, and prominent. Accordingly, the consensus is that Newsome will run eventually.
Newsom began his second term as governor of California last January. At Newsom’s 2023 inauguration ceremony, he tried to “contrast his agenda with that of Republican leaders in rival states who have moved to restrict abortion, voting access and LBTQ rights,” Cap Radio reported.
A lot of Newsom’s rhetoric is standard Democratic stuff. During Newsom’s inaugural address, for example, he denounced California’s history of colonization and racist policies, but pronounced that California is now “freedom’s force multiplier” (I don’t know what that means) and is “protecting liberty from a rising tide of oppression takin root in statehouses.” Newsom continued in the same vein, denouncing January 6th as an “unthinkable” event “fomented by people who have a very different vision of America’s future.”
Gavin Newsom: Eyeing the national stage
Newsom has positioned himself, as his inaugural speech rhetoric suggests, as a national figure, waging battle not just against California’s problems – but against the nation’s. Most obviously, Newsom is taking the time to criticize Republicans (in states other than California) in a way that indicates Newsome is thinking beyond the borders of the Golden State.
“The governor’s second term will likely see him drilling down on his highest priorities – homelessness, policies to mitigate climate change and social issues like reproductive and LGBTQ rights – which could also serve to lay the groundwork for a platform for higher office,” Cap Radio reported.
Newsom has also promised his constituents that he would serve all four years of his second term, and that he has “sub-zero” interest in running for president.
Even when we take Newsom’s promises at face value, his second term will be his last due to term limits – and he has spent considerable energy in raising his national profile.
For example, Newsom has picked fights with the Republican governors of Florida and Texas (DeSantis and Abbott); Newsom has even spent campaign funds to purchase billboards – outside of California – promoting California’s record on abortion rights.
And of course, Newsom does things like talk about January 6th during his inauguration speech.
How has Newsome done so far?
COVID jacked up Newsom’s first term, and he spent much of his first term putting out fires. Now, with the pandemic settling down, and everyone but the most neurotic liberals accepting that life can be lived normally again, Newsom will be held to a higher standard.
Newsom’s stated top priority is the same as seemingly all west coast governors: addressing the homeless crisis.
Newsom, like most liberals, is leaning into affordable housing as the end-all-be-all solution to the homelessness crisis (he vowed to build 3.5 million new homes).
A shortage of affordable housing is certainly a piece of the puzzle – but a significant portion of the ever-increasing homeless population is living on the streets because of unsupported mental illness, and rampant drug abuse.
And for the mentally ill or drug-addicted homeless, affordable housing will not do much.
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Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.