One of the most impressive candidates for US president in 2024 isn’t even formally entered yet. Growing evidence points to California’s dynamic and popular Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, as a possible presidential contender if Joe Biden declines to run for reelection.
Recent events suggest that Newsom, who barely needed to campaign to win reelection a year ago, is prepared to go on with his preparations for a 2028 presidential run. Concern that Biden might be too old for a second term is developing among voters and within the Democratic party. There are many who have called for him to resign because, if re-elected, he would begin his second term in January 2025 at the age of 82.
At 56 years old, Newsom is a representative of a new wave of well-known and well-liked Democrats who are anticipated to rise to prominence and offer novel viewpoints. He has already positioned himself ahead of his rivals with audacious strategic decisions that have attracted notice and support.
Still, not every Democrat is as excited about Newsom’s possible run. Senator John Fetterman of Pennsylvania introduced Newsom to Congressman Dean Philips, who has publicly announced his intention to challenge Biden, at a dinner in Iowa. According to Fetterman, there are now two candidates seeking the presidency: a Minnesota congressman and a California governor. However, only the former has mustered the guts to declare their candidacy publicly.
In the Democratic nomination process, South Carolina has an early primary, and winning in these early states is seen to create momentum for later races. Professor Eric Schickler of the University of California, Berkeley, who teaches political science and serves as co-director of the school’s Institute of Governmental Studies, believes that Biden’s win in South Carolina was crucial in elevating him to the forefront of the 2020 contest. Thus, establishing relationships with state legislators who have sway is thought to be an essential first step for prospective candidates.
Because of Joe Biden’s low approval ratings and numerous state polling deficits with Donald Trump, the Democratic party is growing more and more anxious about his chances. Since many party members are fed up with Biden, this has caused them to search for a different candidate who will inspire greater fervor, particularly among younger people. As a result of her low public approval ratings, vice president Kamala Harris is not considered a serious contender.
Eric Schickler claims that there isn’t a large group of Democratic leaders that are thought to be worthy presidential candidates. But Newsom has positioned himself nicely, and he would be considered for the short list, along with some other candidates like Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The difficulty is that there are many different voices and interests inside the party, making it hard for any one person or organization to firmly support Newsom.
Even though 2028 is still seen as the most likely year for Newsom to pursue a presidential candidacy, he is setting himself up for that eventual campaign by acting now. In the next six months, unanticipated things might happen, but they won’t disqualify Newsom as a viable candidate.
Other signs suggest that Newsom wants to work in a more senior role. He contributed $10 million to a political action group earlier this year with the intention of promoting Democratic ideas in states controlled by Republicans by authoritarian leaders who he saw as endangering individual liberties. The conservative governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, who may run as the Republican nominee for president in 2024, is one of his targets. November 30 is set aside for a nationally broadcast discussion between Newsom and DeSantis, which was once expected to be a matchup between the two front-runners for the presidency.
During their discussion, Newsom will be able to show off his debating prowess and prove that he can successfully take on and overcome a difficult opponent. There are still Democrats who want to see Newsom win the debate, even though DeSantis’s chances may have decreased. Even while Newsom will gain from the occasion, DeSantis’s waning popularity might make the effect less noticeable.