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The man many Democrats want to replace Joe Biden has been his most loyal defender

The man many Democrats want to replace Joe Biden has been his most loyal defender

The media has accused Gavin Newsom of running a ‘shadow campaign’ against President Biden

Back in 2020, Biden ran his campaign on being a ‘transition President’, with many taking that to mean he'd hold office for just one term if elected.

It’s perhaps no surprise his candidacy for 2024 has not been hugely popular with his party; during the primaries there were calls for him to take part in a debate, which would have been the first time a sitting President had done so in decades. Those calls came as questions about Biden's age — he'll be 82 at the beginning of a second term — dominated talking points around his re-election bid.

Biden initially suggested he'd be a 'transition' President.
Drew Angerer/ Getty Images

So who do Democrats want to take his place?

California Governor Gavin Newsom has strong progressive credentials. As the Mayor of San Francisco, he famously granted marriage licenses to thousands of gay couples in 2004. He was 36 years old at the time and just weeks into his role as Mayor.

At the time, it was branded ‘political suicide’ but Newsom, who called himself an ‘idealist’, would ultimately prove to be years ahead of his party as the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal in 2015 – over a decade later.

Newsom has proven to be an excellent communicator. He regularly appears on conservative-leaning news outlet Fox News, and effortlessly backs up his arguments with facts and stats.

His ability to go into what Democrats would consider enemy territory and not just hold his own but often win these debates was highlighted when he took part in a live Fox News debate with Ron DeSantis, Florida Governor and one-time favorite for the Republican nominee for President.

The debate, moderated by Sean Hannity, one of the network's most conservative hosts, took place in DeSantis's home turf of Florida. Both men defended their respective states in an unusual exchange billed as a ‘red state versus blue state’ event.

The event gave Republicans and Democrats a possible peek into their parties' future leaders.

Gavin Newsom has been accused of running a 'shadow campaign' against the sitting president.
Randy Shropshire/ Getty Images


Newsom's political abilities haven't gone unnoticed, and the media has accused him of running a ‘shadow campaign’ against President Biden, presenting a younger, slicker alternative to the current commander-in-chief. Newsom has repeatedly denied that he was doing that and blamed Fox News’s ‘anger campaign’ for such talk.

When interviewed by the likes of Sean Hannity, a vocal Biden critic, Newsom repeatedly pivoted from thinly veiled questions about him replacing Biden to touting his historic accomplishments as President.

‘A man of decency and character’ is how Newsom referred to President Biden, citing the strong American economy and the lowest unemployment numbers in over half a century.

When pushed about Biden's mental acuity, Newsom would offer his own positive experiences of speaking with the President and point to the accomplishments of the Biden administration.

This effectively made the argument for a second term for the President on a network that has appeased a huge Republican audience by bashing him.

There were calls for Biden to take part in primary debates earlier this year.
Eros Hoagland/ Getty Images

Newsom/ Trump links

Gavin Newsom was married to Kimberly Guilfoyle while he was Mayor of San Francisco. She is now engaged to Donald Trump's eldest son, Don Jnr.

Newsom has spoken of his former relationship as a political positive, insisting that he had a direct line to President Trump during the covid pandemic and that Trump ‘never played politics’ with California as a result.

Guilfoyle was even once friends with current Vice President Kamala Harris when both were lawyers in California but has since become a right-wing influencer.

She has regularly been used as a surrogate for former President Trump in the media, calling California a ‘land of discarded heroin needles in parks, riots in streets, and blackouts in homes’ in what was seen as a direct attack on her former husband who she said is ‘desperate to be President’.

Newsom has links to the Trump family.
Chip Somodevilla/ Getty Images

Trump, possibly sensing a future political opponent, has started referring to the California governor as ‘new scum’.

Political future

In the highly unlikely event of President Biden deciding not to seek a second term, there are still complications to replacing him with Newsom or having Newsom on the same ticket as Kamala Harris.

Both are from California, so it's doubtful they'd run together – and presidential nominees typically pick a running mate who would help them with the college electoral vote.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

Topics: Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Politics