The closer we get to 2024, the more evident it becomes that many Democrats have resigned themselves to the fact that Joe Biden should not be the Democratic nominee for president.
Even if Biden weren’t exhibiting the symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, his approval ratings are in the toilet and appear to be getting worse. Even more ominous for Democrats is that Donald Trump has opened up a nine-point lead on Biden. And recently, Robert F. Kennedy — sporting a name that’s still magic with many Democrats — says he may challenge Biden as an independent candidate.
Right now, Biden still has the support to weather any challenges to his leadership of the party. But how long will that last?
Politicians being politicians, any Democrat who might have visions of sitting in the Oval Office has already begun to — quietly — plan for lightning to strike. If Biden drops out, either for ill health or otherwise, several Democrats will be poised to jump into the race immediately.
One of the most prominent Democrats toying with the idea of a run for the presidency is California Gov. Gavin Newsom. It’s no secret Newsom wants to be president. He almost ran in 2020 and then wisely backed off.
If Biden falters, Newsom will almost certainly take the plunge. To do that, he’s going to have to tack toward the center if he doesn’t want to be seen as just another California radical leftist beholden to Democratic interest groups.
Case in point: Newsom vetoed a bill that would have given striking union workers in California the opportunity to apply for unemployment benefits as well. The bill was supported by every labor Union and every radical left group in the state. That Newsom vetoed it raised a few eyebrows in California and among the national press.
In a veto message, Mr. Newsom said that $302 million in interest is due on the federal loan in September alone. “Now is not the time to increase costs or incur this sizable debt,” he said.
Business owners argued that broadening eligibility would have been tantamount to raising their taxes, and reiterated that the pot of money used to pay jobless benefits has for years verged on insolvency.
The legislation was last minute: This summer, as hundreds of thousands of California workers in industries from show business to tourism participated in labor actions, the California Labor Federation and pro-labor Democrats seized on the momentum to introduce it, long past the point when California’s legislative session typically enters its homestretch.
Why did they wait until the last minute? It could very well be because the unions thought that Newsom was on board. By vetoing it, Newsom is sending a message loud and clear that he’s not owned by the unions or any other far-left group.
That might be reassuring for some people. But when you look at the totality of his record, it doesn’t matter. He’s a creature of the left, and he’ll have a very hard time living that down.
For example, I doubt very much he’s going to rescind the large pay increase he gave to burger flippers. Newsom signed a bill last week to give fast food workers a raise to $20 an hour.
His “moderation” only goes so far.