A brewing rivalry is emerging between California Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, and Florida Ron DeSantis, a Republican, reflecting a stark contrast between democracy and tolerance, and the threat of fascism in America.
The governors not only represent the different futures of their parties, but also the separate realities blue and red Americans are living in —two people of opposing viewpoints looking at the exact same set of facts and coming to vastly different conclusions.
Newsom, the son of a state appellate judge, is a progressive hero around quieter legislative pushes. Meanwhile, DeSantis, the son of a Nielsen box salesman, represents the anti-elitist, reactionary politics that have consumed the GOP since Trump’s ascension to power in 2016.
As noted by CNN, the California governor is not waiting to see Florida become even redder, and is going on the air against DeSantis in Florida with the goal of trying to get Democrats to reclaim a sense of collective identity that could enable them to beat Trumpism in the long term.
Newson has released an ad on Fox News, –the first ad of the 2024 presidential race — targetting DeSantis as a regressive leader who is taking Florida back to the 19th century.
“It’s Independence Day — so let’s talk about what’s going on in America,” Newsom says in the ad, standing in the California sun, tieless, as “America the Beautiful” fingerpicks in the background. “Freedom is under attack in your state,” he says as a photo of DeSantis shaking hands with former President Donald Trump.
“I urge all of you living in Florida to join the fight — or join us in California, where we still believe in freedom: Freedom of speech, freedom to choose, freedom from hate, and the freedom to love,” Newsom says as the images proceed from an aerial shot of the Santa Monica Pier to a rainbow flag waving in the hands of two women with arms around each other. “Don’t let them take your freedom.”
The ad is paid for by Newsom’s reelection campaign, though this clearly isn’t about racking up potential absentee voters who have retired to the Sunshine State for what’s expected to be an easy win for California governor in November.
“He’s running for president,” Newsom told CNN last week. “I care about people. I don’t like people being treated as less of them. I don’t like people being told they’re not worthy. I don’t like people being used as political pawns. This is not just about him, but he is the poster child of it.”
“We’re as different,” Newsom said of both the governors and their states, “as daylight and darkness.”
Watch the ad below: