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Gavin Newsom and Ron DeSantis debate in the framework of the 2024 and, perhaps, 2028 presidential elections

2023-12-01T00:38:52.548Z

Highlights: Gavin Newsom and Ron DeSantis debate in the framework of the 2024 and, perhaps, 2028 presidential elections. The governors of Florida and California will debate in Georgia and on national television. Both seek to remain in force for future elections.. By Jonathan Allen - NBC News                When California Gov. Gavin Newsom. and Florida Gov. Ron deSantis square off in a televised debate Thursday night in Georgia, viewers might wonder which presidential election is happening: 2024 or 2028.DeSantis is running in the primary for the 2024 Republican nomination. Newsom is not on the ballot.


The governors of Florida and California will debate in Georgia and on national television. Both seek to remain in force for future elections.


By Jonathan Allen - NBC News

When California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis square off in a televised debate Thursday night in Georgia, viewers might wonder which presidential election is happening: 2024 or 2028.

DeSantis, of course, is running in the primary for the 2024 Republican nomination. Newsom is not on the ballot. However, he is considered a possible Democratic candidate for 2028 and, at one point, his eagerness to find and maintain a national platform worried some Democrats, who thought he was trying to prevent President Joe Biden from running for reelection.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and California Gov. Gavin Newsom will debate each other Thursday night. Getty Images

Newsom's decision to debate DeSantis on Fox News is a "brilliant strategy" to stay at the forefront of voters' minds this election cycle "if Biden were to pull out," explained another Democrat who is often mentioned as a possible candidate next time around. However, Newsom risks becoming obsolete within four years.

DeSantis is breaking an iron rule of conventional politics: Never pick a fight with someone who isn't running for office. But, as he continues to trail former President Donald Trump by wide margins in the polls and has to contend with the rise of former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, the showdown offers DeSantis an opportunity to show Republican voters that he can deal blows to a Democratic Biden representative.

There is nothing conventional about this unique moment in American politics. Presidential hopefuls already know that a Biden-Trump rematch would leave a seat vacant in 2028, because this is the first time since the 22nd Amendment limited presidents to two terms in 1951 that a defeated former president seeks to succeed the man who beat him.

While most Americans don't want revenge, Trump and Biden have their respective primary electors in their hands, which has created gridlock at the top of both parties.

All of this has left the brightest stars of the next generation circling in the dark. Sometimes they have to struggle to explain that what looks like a fight for the next election is actually about the next election.

On Wednesday, the two governors backing DeSantis' campaign, Republicans Kim Reynolds of Iowa and Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma, wrote an op-ed in the Washington Examiner that framed the debate in terms of the 2024 election.

"DeSantis is the only candidate who can get the job done, especially in a potential showdown with Newsom," they wrote. "Newsom led California to ruin. If he were to replace President Joe Biden at the helm of the Democratic nomination, we expect the same results and the same treatment for our citizens on a national scale."

At the same time, Newsom maintains that he has sought a national platform to elevate the Democratic Party's message and help Biden win reelection. If he's thinking about a presidential bid, in his opinion, it's not this time.

"We have to move on from the idea that [Biden] is not going to run," Newsom said in an interview in September. "President Biden is going to do it, and I look forward to him being re-elected."

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So, for one night, in a time warp, a 2024 candidate will debate a potential 2028 candidate, if we go by what everyone says. What's really amazing is that it's not even the first time it's happened this year, or even this month.

In early November, 2024 Republican candidate Vivek Ramaswamy debated in New Hampshire with a potential 2028 Democratic challenger, Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif.

Khanna, sensitive to the perception that he could undermine Biden, wanted to avoid the theatrics of a debate hosted by a major cable network, and Ramaswamy, determined to show that the event was focused on his current campaign, wanted to do so in the state of New Hampshire, where the primaries are being held, according to people familiar with the event.

The two were able to come to an agreement on a civil exchange at Manchester's St. Anselm College, which is open to cameras but not presented by MSNBC, Fox or CNN.

By contrast, the DeSantis-Newsom showdown is "designed for a cable TV show," a Ramaswamy aide noted.

There is a long history of candidates losing primaries and winning elections again in their second or third round. Biden lost the 1988 and 2008 primaries before becoming the Democratic nominee in 2020. The late Senator John McCain clinched the GOP nomination in 2008 after losing in 2000. And Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah lost his Republican nomination in 2008, only to win it again four years later.

Still, political operatives say it's difficult to run an effective campaign without losing sight of the upcoming election.

"You can't think about that, because you're going to be so safe that you're going to hurt yourself," said Matt Gorman, who was an aide to Republican Sen. Tim Scott's 2024 campaign, which has since been suspended.

The latter is a danger for both DeSantis and Newsom when they debate Thursday night. But they wouldn't take that risk if they didn't think it would pay off in 2024 or 2028.

Source: telemundo

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