If Newsom truly has no presidential aspirations, his rhetoric doesn’t show it. The governor is known for bashing Republicans across the country (particularly those in Florida and Texas) and often positions California — and himself — as a national defender of liberal values. He’s not afraid to go after state and federal laws that he deems unsavory, he talks up California’s successes on national daytime television, and he posts contemplative photos of himself reading banned books to needle political opponents.
Earlier this month, following POLITICO’s report of a draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, the governor even expressed frustration with his own political kin, saying he has felt an “enormous sense of frustration” with national Democrats as he’s watched Republicans barrel forward with their agenda.
“Where’s the party?” he said. “Why aren’t we standing up more firmly?”
At very least, it sounds like Newsom isn’t interested in challenging Harris, both of whom came up in the San Francisco political scene. But deferring to Harris means potentially delaying a run for multiple election cycles, and the further out from office he gets, the harder it could be to mount a comeback into political life.
There are a few scenarios where Newsom’s White House window gets wider. If a Republican wins in 2024, and Harris declines to run in 2028, Newsom would only be two years out of the governor’s office and a likely candidate for the top job.
The same thing could happen if Biden wins in 2024 and Harris doesn’t run in 2028, but in that case, voters may be less inclined to put a Democrat in power for the third term in a row.
Will this woman run for president? Republicans are already gunning for her!