Charlie Spiering: What Ron DeSantis Could Learn From Gavin Newsom 

Columnist Charlie Spiering writes, "So what on earth could DeSantis practically learn from Gov. Gavin Newsom, the radically leftist governor of the failing state of California? Politics."

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Charlie Spiering

July 27, 20233 min read

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Everyone in Washington, DC right now is talking about Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' struggling presidential campaign as he tries to pick up the pieces and get back in the national conversation. 

The numbers do not look good. In Iowa, Trump is leading with 50 percent support to DeSantis' 17 percent, according to the Real Clear Politics average. In New Hampshire, Trump is leading 41 percent while DeSantis only has 19 percent. Nationally, Trump is leading 54 percent and DeSantis has 18 percent, according to the latest YouGov/Economist poll. 

So what on earth could DeSantis practically learn from Gov. Gavin Newsom, the radically leftist governor of the failing state of California? Politics. 

It's no secret that Newsom was seriously eyeing the presidency while it remained unclear whether President Joe Biden would run for reelection. When Biden finally made up his mind, however, Newsom abandoned his ambitions and backed the president. 

His sharp pivot toward the aging Biden was audacious. 

“I am here, Mr. President, as a proud American, as a proud Californian, mesmerized by not just your faith and devotion to this country, and the world we’re trying to build, but by your results, by your action, by your passion, by your capacity to deliver,” he said at a California fundraiser in June. 

His words certainly elicited some eye-rolling at the fundraiser, but Newsom's saccharine flattery demonstrated a keen understanding that if he ever wants to run for president again, he has to inherit the Biden political coalition.

Politics is an awkward business, but one thing that smooths over perceived grievances is a substantial amount of flattery, not just for the person who holds the job now, but the voters who put him there. 

Launching negative attacks against someone who still commands the allegiance of a majority of the voters is unlikely to earn a candidate any political points. 

Take for example the 2020 Democratic primary race, where Biden was seen by the establishment as old, tired, and past his prime. Democratic voters, however, viewed Biden differently, reacting negatively when Democrat candidates like Sen. Kamala Harris tried to attack him.

Biden represented a return to normal, a choice they had made in the past, which they were comfortable with on the national stage. Biden's unflinching support of Obama also earned him enough points to catapult him to victory.

We all know that as president, Trump not only redefined the Republican Party but created a substantial political coalition that changed presidential politics. 

If Ron DeSantis wants to be president one day, he has to respect that coalition and yes, even flatter the leader who created it. 

The unlikely rise of relatively unknown Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy proves this point. Although he is running against Trump, he continues traveling the country and praising his rival, even while offering voters another option.  

His efforts are paying off. The latest national polls show Ramaswamy now leading candidates like former Vice President Mike Pence, Senator Tim Scott, and former Ambassador Nikki Haley. Support for DeSantis is higher than Ramaswamy, but the Florida governor is losing support instead of gaining it.  

Charlie Spiering is a Wyoming native who works in Washington, D.C., where he continues writing about the White House, Congress and national politics. A former writer for Breitbart News, The Washington Examiner and columnist Robert Novak, Spiering frequently returns home to the family farm in Powell to escape the insanity of Washington.

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