Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Welcome to 2028

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) might end up facing Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) in 2028, but Newsom is wasting no time. He is already running an ad attacking DeSantis mercilessly. Here it is:

The ad attacks DeSantis for signing a 6-week abortion ban earlier this year, ending Florida's status as the last abortion refuge in the South. It is narrated by Newsom himself and shows "Wanted" posters for women and doctors. It says that women who have abortions after 6 weeks or doctors who perform them are now guilty of a felony in Florida, punishable by 5 years in prison. The ad specifically blames DeSantis for signing the law.

Nominally, there is another reason for the ad. Newsom and DeSantis are going to have the first 2028 debate next week, roughly 5 years before the 2028 election. It will be moderated by Sean Hannity and is sure to be full of fireworks. Needless to say, it is far from certain that either Newsom or DeSantis will be their parties' candidates in 2028. Newsom will face competition from many others, possibly including Kamala Harris, Gretchen Whitmer, Gov. Andy Beshear (D-KY), and probably others. If DeSantis runs in 2028, he will face tons of competition from Republicans who are hugely unimpressed by his feeble campaign this year.

Nevertheless, each governor has a reason to debate the other one. DeSantis is flailing badly and he thinks that taking on a popular liberal governor will help him with conservatives. It might, but only if he bests Newsom in the debate, which may not be so easy. Newsom is an excellent public speaker and DeSantis is kind of wooden, especially when he can't read his text from a teleprompter. Newsom is term-limited and has nowhere to go next other than the White House, a location he is clearly interested in. The debate is likely to give him nationwide publicity and possibly raise some campaign cash. He will also use the debate to mock DeSantis as a poor imitation of Donald Trump and champion Joe Biden, increasing his popularity with ordinary Democrats. The topic of the Walt Disney Company might just come up, what with it having large parks in both states. Generally speaking, Disney is a popular company and DeSantis will be forced to trash it, not a popular position. It is hard to see how debating DeSantis could hurt Newsom in the 2028 Democratic primary, especially if he crushes DeSantis. (V)

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