Next Thursday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will debate each other. While DeSantis has virtually no chance of becoming the 2024 GOP nominee absent Trump pulling out or otherwise unable to run, Newsom - while he's denied it, is absolutely running a shadow campaign to face Trump in the event Biden is not hte Democratic nominee.
The debate is scheduled for Nov. 30 on Fox News, and will be moderated by Sean Hannity.
As journalist John Seiler notes via the Epoch Times;
Basically, each candidate isn’t really debating the other, but auditioning for the nomination in his own party. Any slights or barbs aimed at the other really are aimed to impress voters in the taunter’s own party, not win votes among the general electorate. Mr. DeSantis especially is aiming at those in the first crucial states, Iowa with its caucuses on Jan. 15 and New Hampshire with its Jan. 23 primary.
Mr. Newsom, by contrast, has to assume Mr. Biden at least will sail through the first primaries and, after Super Tuesday March 5, garner enough delegates to nab the nomination. Newsom therefore effectively is auditioning before the Democratic National Committee, which would pick a potential Biden replacement. In particular, Mr. Newsom has to show he’s far better than his obvious challenger, Vice President Kamala Harris, who generally is not looked on favorably for her verbal gaffes and apparent lack of leadership skills.
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At this point, however, we're not sure there's much for DeSantis to audition for, given Trump's widening lead.
Speaking of DeSantis' fall (and Nikki Haley's rise), the head of a super PAC backing the Florida governor announced on Wednesday that he's stepping down.
"Never Back Down’s main goal and sole focus has been to elect Governor Ron DeSantis as President. Given the current environment it has become untenable for me to deliver on the shared goal and that goes well beyond a difference of strategic opinion," said Chris Janowski, CEO of the Never Back Down super PAC, via a spokeswoman.
"For the future of our country I support and pray Ron DeSantis is our 47th president," he added.
Jankowski’s announcement came against the backdrop of reported disagreements between leadership within Never Back Down, with NBC News reporting Tuesday that several members of the pro-DeSantis group got into a heated argument during a budgeting discussion.
It also came against the backdrop of the creation of a newer super PAC, called Fight Right, that received a $1 million infusion as DeSantis and his wife reportedly expressed frustration with Never Back Down, according to NBC News and The New York Times. -The Hill
Back to the debate - while DeSantis clearly has no chance if Trump's in the race, we're sure the former president watching Newsom like a boxer training for the big fight.