If Biden doesn’t show up in 2024 and Harris does it, Newsom might not oppose her. There are practical reasons for this. Harris, despite collapsing in the 2020 presidential campaign, would have the weight of her office and the historic character of her office as the first woman and first black vice president on her shoulders.
Newsom, who is only 54 and on the verge of winning a second term as governor, may have a better opening in 2028. And he waited before dropping out of his first gubernatorial campaign in 2009, months before the primary, once he was of course Brown was leaving. gain.
But it’s not clear to people who know Newsom whether he would prefer Harris in an open presidential primary strictly out of personal loyalty. A Democratic strategist in the state who knows them both said, “Publicly courteous and civil, but no love lost there.” Another described their relationship as “tense and highly competitive.”
If Newsom were to run against Harris in 2024 or 2028, said a top Democratic negotiator in California, “acting vice president by definition” would be problematic for him because of the stature of his office.
“But Gavin’s donors like him more than his donors like her,” he said.
When I asked the packager, who is familiar with the operations of both, if those donors are not the same, with Harris and Newsom sharing a support base in San Francisco, he said: “Right. That’s what I’m trying to say.”
Of Newsom, the bagger said, “He’s doing what you do. Be a successful two-term governor of a large state, raise a ton of money, make a name for yourself on national issues that people admire, and hit the ground running. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t. At best he wins president. At worst, he has been appointed secretary of some department.”
The real obstacle for Newsom may not be so much Harris as the state they both hail from. In his ad in Florida and billboards in other Republican states, Newsom offers California as an alternative: a haven for abortion rights or, in the case of florida ad, a state “where we still believe in freedom.” In that way, he is following a long tradition of California exceptionalism espoused by state governors from both parties. The then Republican Governor. Arnold Schwarzenegger, in his 2007 State of the State address, called California “the modern equivalent of the ancient city-states of Athens and Sparta”, with the means not only to “lead California into the future”, but also to “show the nation and the world how to get there”. Newsom on his thing State Address State in March, he said that amid “powerful forces and strong voices stoking fear and seeking to divide us,” there is “a better way, a California way, forward.” And it’s hard to spend any amount of time with a California politician without him volunteering, as Newsom did during his on-stage remarks in Austin, that California, if it were a nation, would have the world’s fifth-largest economy.
Elizabeth Ashford, who was a senior counsel in the offices of Brown and Schwarzenegger and Harris’s chief of staff when she was state attorney general, described Newsom of California’s positioning against the governors of Texas and Florida as “entering into a longer tradition of California governors who make sure we are, in a sense, exporting our culture to the rest of the country,” acknowledging that California “is a physical place, but it’s also an emotional and cultural destination.”
But it’s not that for everyone, or even for most Americans. The national electorate is not as liberal as California’s. The cost of living is astronomically there. Homelessness is an epidemic, and the state’s K-12 public schools among the lowest in the country.