The Daily Chart: Thursday’s Undercard Debate

As everyone knows, this Thursday Gavin Newsom and Ron DeSantis will square off in a debate on Fox News that is clearly meant to be a proxy for the presidential race a lot of people in both parties wish we would have next year. Think of it as the undercard for the heavyweight bout to follow between the aging champs hanging on past their prime.

Don’t underestimate Newsom: he’ll come with spirited attacks on DeSantis’s culture war moves in Florida which the media are only too happy to distort (book banning, “don’t say gay,” etc.), and will parry the comparisons DeSantis will make between California and Florida. Like this one:

Not to mention this one, shared before in this space:

We’ll see how effectively Newsom can deflect these attacks. But I think Newsom’s real weakness to be exploited is not these state-to-state comparisons, but in cornering Newsom into defending Joe Biden. This puts Newsom in an awkward position, since Newsom would like Biden to step aside so he can run. Hence DeSantis should alternate between attacks on Newsom’s California and attacks on Biden’s America. DeSantis can get under Newsom’s thin skin by saying, “Hey—I’m running for president against Donald Trump and Joe Biden. How come you aren’t running for president?” Making Newsom repeatedly defend Joe Biden will undermine his reason for wanting to run, and if he begs off from defending Biden, many Democrats will be furious. Game and match to DeSantis.

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