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Florida versus California is the election we should be having DeSantis and Newsom are willing to debate major policy issues in front of the country.

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Florida versus California is the election we should be having DeSantis and Newsom are willing to debate major policy issues in front of the country.

DeSantis and Newsom are willing to debate major policy issues in front of the country

National elections should be about contrast and choice — and those choices should offer the clearest opportunity for parity in the candidates and the parties. If the polls are to be believed, the 2024 election as it stands now, before any debates or primaries, does not offer that. Instead the country currently faces the prospect of two senior citizens clashing, both with low approval ratings, personal and legal baggage and questions of mental acuity.

There is a side debate forming, however, between Florida governor Ron DeSantis, a declared candidate for president in 2024 and the only polling alternative to Donald Trump at the moment, and California governor Gavin Newsom, an all-but-declared candidate running a standby campaign, should Joe Biden decide to step aside and Kamala Harris be found unviable (as her own polls would suggest).

This week, while appearing on Hannity, DeSantis accepted a debate offer from Newsom, with Hannity moderating, possibly to happen in the fall. It’s an unorthodox move by a presidential candidate to appear in a debate with a non-candidate, and it carries risk for DeSantis. It also carries a huge reward as he continues to poke Newsom into declaring against Biden, where he would certainly be viewed as a serious alternative to a president whose own party is concerned about both his age and stamina for another five years in office.

All the grandstanding and politicking by governors and candidates aside, there could not be a better debate for this country coming out of the pandemic. As we are still attempting to navigate a post-pandemic world, there’s an profound contrast between the current extreme progressive model of California Democratic policy versus the hyper-wartime conservatism on offense of DeSantis and Florida. The country has yet to have an open policy debate about the fallout of Covid policies that saw record numbers of Californians pack up their homes and move out of state, with approximately 500,000 of them landing in Florida in 2020.


Governor Newsom has never really had to account for his own masking and lockdown policy of schoolchildren, as he dined at exclusive restaurants and went on state-funded excursions. On the other hand, DeSantis has made a national name for himself on keeping schools mask-free and open, disagreeing with the national media, local Democrats, teachers’ unions and both Trump and Biden White Houses.

Newsom has been one of the most outspoken critics of Florida’s new education policies, which has removed pornographic books from K-3 libraries and made the Parental Rights in Education act law. Newsom and his media allies have stood by enacting a school curriculum that celebrates LGBTQ culture, while leaning into the progressive framing of Florida’s law as “Don’t Say Gay.”

California’s large city municipalities are being swallowed up by rising energy costs due to a “green” agenda, as well as record crime, open-air drug use and immigrant populations descending due to the Biden administration’s relaxed border polices. DeSantis has made a name flying migrants to progressive enclaves, sending assistance to Texas and signing a law protecting fossil-fueled gas appliances, such as stoves.

Whether it’s post-Covid policy with vaccine and mask mandates, Critical Race Theory and gender debate in schools, energy independence, AI development and regulation, border policy or crime and prosecutorial enforcement… every major policy and culture fight happening in this country is taking place at the intersection of California and Florida.

It’s good that DeSantis and Newsom are willing to debate these issues in front of the country. It’s the debate and the election we should be having. It’s the one we could still have, if we wanted it.





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