If our country survives until 2024, a Republican and Democrat will face off for the office of President. Traditionally in this cycle, this election would be between the incumbent President and an out-of-power candidate. President Joe Biden – who will be 82 years old in 2024 – is already the oldest president to take office. Biden’s stated plan is to run for a second term, even amidst rumors and signs of cognitive decline. At the time of this writing, betting markets have a 40% chance Biden is the 2024 presidential nominee.
It’s worthwhile to explore alternative candidates to the sitting President. Many believe Vice President Kamala Harris may take the mantle. Others believe Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg may run again. There is one candidate no one is talking about for a 2024 run: current California Governor Gavin Newsom.
In this article, we will discuss why Newsom’s political connections, national name recognition, and hard liberal policies could make him the Democrats’ candidate of choice. Newsom’s latest political advertisements in Florida of all places have added fuel to the fire, suggesting Newsom is attempting to nationalize his figure more prominently in the crucial electoral prize of Florida.
Newsom ran this ad early in July:
Gavin Newsom’s Background
Gavin Newsom was born in San Fransisco, California. His father was the former California Courts of Appeal Judge William Newsom, a man with deep political ties in San Fransisco and the State of California.
William Newsom was a board member of the Trans-International Computer Investment Corporation which was awarded classified government contracts. W. Newsom would later tour Europe with former SS Gestapo member Otton von Bolschwing to obtain U.S. government contracts, due to his former Nazi intelligence connections. Bolschwing was brought under the wing of the American government due to Operation Paperclip – a CIA-run program that gave jobs to German scientists, technicians, and engineers in the wake of WWII. He was also a trust manager who oversaw the Getty Family Trust (valued around $2 billion).
Gavin Newsom’s grandfather ran the district attorney campaign for Pat Brown, who later became governor of California.
Newsom comes from a family of professional politicians. He is Nancy Pelosi’s nephew.
Newsom began his political career when he was appointed to the San Fransisco Board of Supervisors in 1997. He then ran for mayor of San Fransisco in 2004, where he secured two terms as mayor. In 2010, he became lieutenant governor of California and was re-elected in 2014. Finally, in 2018, Newsom was elected the 40th governor of California.
Newsom survived a recall election in the state of California in 2021.
Reasons Why Newsom is Dangerously Electable
Traditional Family Structure
Democrats often display public hatred for the traditional family structure (a married mom and dad in the household). But in their personal lives, many successful liberals have families that look strangely conservative in form.
Newsom is married to Jennifer Newsom and has 4 children, ages five through twelve. Gavin and Jennifer were married in 2008 at a ranch in Stevensville, Montana.
He has not always towed the traditional line, being married twice and admitting to an affair once. But image is the only thing that matters when a politician is running for office, and his family image is likely good enough for most voters.
Gavin Newsom is a talented politician
Newsom uses his personal wit, bright smile, and flowing West coast hair to engage progressive and moderate audiences in California. His coalition is largely progressive, but he can play to a moderate’s fear of Republican overreach to secure their vote.
Newsom can tell stories and craft sentence structures that flow well. His inflections are timed to add a personal touch when telling stories. It’s clear he’s practiced.
It’s widely known that Newsom studies Bill Clinton in detail. He created VHS tapes of the former President, which he watched often throughout his early career. When he was mayor, his staff would know when he’d been reviewing these Clinton tapes because he would have a slight Arkansas accent.
He has had his ups and downs as a politician and can come off as conceited or ecocentric. Newsom attended a party at the high-end restaurant, the French Laundry, during the height of his own COVID-19 restrictions. Many felt this was a gross expression of liberal elitism. Nonetheless, he survived this incident.
Good politicians know how to adjust their political pitches when speaking with different coalitions of people. The internet has made this more difficult, as a campaign speech can be recorded, clipped, and be analyzed all over the country. Barack Obama was famous for adjusting his accent and word selection based on whether he was talking with a group of largely white or black people. Even Kamala Harris, who is not a great retail politician, tries to replicate Obama’s method of catering to the audience’s mother dialect.
In a way, Newsom attempts to do the same thing with progressive, business-minded, and moderate groups in California.
Eleven years before gay marriage was legalized by the Supreme Court, the mayor of San Fransisco, Gavin Newsom, ordered his county clerk to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This scored big political points with the progressive Left and is still cited today by supporters as a large reason they like him.
He uses progressive platitudes in regard to racial politics. In 2020, Newsom told Black Lives Matter demonstrators in Sacramento he was dedicated to “dismantling institutional racism” and that their “rage is real”. Newsom expressed understanding for the BLM movement’s anger, saying, “People have lost patience because they haven’t seen progress.”
Newsom is also a business tycoon. He has made money in real estate, wineries, restaurants, and lodging. He is clearly not a socialist who has an interest in redistributing his own wealth.
Multimillionaire Gavin Newsom has made most of his wealth in the wine business. Tax returns from 2010 to 2016 show that he averaged more than $1.4 million in adjusted gross income for each year. Newsom’s largest wine venture, PlumpJack, accounted for a large portion of the $6 million of income from wine-related businesses during that time.
The seed money for PlumbJack came from various investors, including the Getty trust. $7,500 came from the trust, which was 9% of the overall startup funding. When asked about the Getty ties to the business, Newsom often downplays the influence of the family’s investment in his business success.
The governor certainly has not done any favors for small businesses in California (around 40,000 small businesses shuttered in 2020 due to his COVID-19 policies). As of June 2021, nearly 50% of San Francisco’s small businesses have remained closed. But Newsome does at least have an understanding of the business mindset – enough to build an empire and have this empire pay returns while he is in office.
Newsom can appear moderate if the situation requires moderation. He has a traditional family and can speak in more moderate tones.
Many hardcore progressives see Newsom as a moderate and some of his positions have been described as “irritating” to the Left. Early in his career, he has been very pro-business and supported the privatization of healthcare. As mayor, he even supported a policy that weakened San Fransisco’s “sanctuary city” ordinance (which gave protection to illegal aliens) in an attempt to prosecute crime.
Newsom has described himself in the past as a “dogmatic fiscal conservative and a social liberal”. While he may not feel like a moderate from the perspective of the nation as a whole, he has the ability to wear the face of a moderate.
Deep Political Connections in California
The Getty family is an old oil family from California. J. Paul Getty was an oil tycoon who passed his wealth down the generations. Gavin Newsom’s father, William, was the estate manager for the Getty Estate for many years and when asked about this he said “I make my living working for Gordon Getty”. Gavin Newsom received seed money for his wine business from the Getty Estate.
Newsom is related to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Newsom’s aunt, Barbara Newsom, was formerly married to Ron Pelosi. Ron Pelosi is Nancy Pelosi’s brother-in-law. This couple divorced in 1977 – but the Pelosi and Newsom families remain close to this day. In 2021, the great-granddaughter of J. Paul Getty got married. Nancy Pelosi officiated the wedding, and Gavin Newsom was seen in attendance.
Two governors of California have been from the Brown family: Pat and his son Jerry. Pat Brown knew both John Pelosi and William Newsom and approved a controversial concession for these business partners. In turn, William Newsom was a Brown campaign donor. Jerry Brown appointed William Newsom as a judge later in his political career.
These four families have carried much sway over San Fransisco and California politics. Gavin Newsom has many connections he can work to run for President of the United States (or at least remain the governor of California). Newsom did not simply show up on the political scene. In many ways, he was destined to be involved in California politics.
Newsom and Kamala Harris are also deeply connected. Both of their political careers happened nearly at the same time. Harris became the district attorney of San Francisco on the same ballot as Gavin Newsom’s mayorship. Later, when Newsome became lieutenant governor, she become the attorney general of the state.
Kamala Harris is now Vice President of the United States. She helped campaign for Newsom when he was facing a recall. This relationship between the two politicians will likely play a big role in Newsom’s decision to run for President.
More Popular than Vice President Kamala Harris
If we assume Joe Biden is not the 2024 Democratic presidential candidate (who has only a 37.8% approval rating as of today), the natural successor to the throne would be VP Harris. But Harris has trouble of her own.
Kamala Harris had a 28% approval rating as of November 2021. This is an all-time low for modern vice presidents, and even lower than congressional Democrats (29% approval) and congressional Republicans (35% approval). Most Democratic strategists and newspapers will admit this is a giant problem for the VP – even if they chalk up the poor approval rating to “sexism” or “racism.”
Gavin Newsom has held a consistent 57% approval for most of 2021. According to Morning Consult, Newsom’s approval rating has never dropped below 52%. Even among independents, 44% approve of Newsom. While California is certainly a left-wing state – this stability even in the face of a recall election is something to note.
Newsome is simply more popular.
Even though Harris and Newsom have worked together in California politics for decades, Newsom is more charismatic and more well-liked than Harris. Harris may resent this fact – but any honest political observer would note the same characteristics.
Does Gavin Newsom Want to Run for President in 2024?
On the record, Gavin Newsom has said he has no plans to run for President in the future. Newsom told CBS news that running for president has, “100 percent never been on [my] radar…it was never a childhood dream.”
This public position is likely calculated. President Biden has publicly stated he wants to run for reelection in 2024. Newsome announcing his candidacy would conflict with Biden’s wishes. VP Harris also has political ambition, and it’s very likely this plays into his political calculation.
Newsom could change his mind in an instant.
As with every politician, Newsom has problems. From the perspective of the economy, crime, and standard of living, he does not run the State of California well. Homelessness has been rampant in both San Francisco and California. Under the leadership of Newsom, homelessness grew by 24% from 2018 to 2020. His COVID-19 lockdowns shuttered many small businesses and destroyed the state.
Newsom is not on the top 2024 Democratic presidential nominations PredictIt list as of December 2021. But this could change quickly. Biden’s physical and mental longevity is wearing thin. Kamala Harris is not popular and she is not a good speaker. She has powerful connections, which she uses to achieve political power. Pete Buttigieg is a far less talented politician than Newsom. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is too controversial. Warren is unlikable and ‘screechy’. Bernie Sanders is an open socialist and will never be allowed to win the Democratic nomination. Hillary Clinton was beaten by Donald Trump in 2016 in large part due to her being detached and unlikable.
Democrats do not have much margin to play with. They do not have a deep bench of great candidates from which to draw. Newsom would be the most charismatic and likable guy for the Democrats.
2022 Will Determine 2024
The results of the 2022 midterms could have a huge impact on who the Democratic Party selects to lead the charge in 2024. If the elections go well for the Democrats – they may feel better about running a less ideal candidate for the sake of political correctness (a woman, person of color, etc). If things go poorly for the Democrats (as predicted), they may go to the bag for their most charismatic, good-looking, well-spoken leader – even if this takes the form of the “evil” wealthy, straight, white male archetype. In the end, power is more important than principal for the Left.