We are still a long way away from the 2024 presidential sweepstakes, and right now the only thing that seems fairly certain is that Joe Biden won’t be the Democratic nominee. And, of course, on the GOP side of the ledger, Donald Trump is the wildcard.
But it could well be the battle of the governors of two of America’s largest states: California and Florida.
Right now, it’s a pretty good bet that California Gov. Gavin Newsom is running, and many Democratic handicappers put him at or near the top of the field. This is despite his awful handling of the pandemic. My group—the Committee to Unleash Prosperity—ranks Newsom as one of the three worst governors in America on the economy and handling COVID-19. He shut down the Golden State’s businesses, schools, churches, and restaurants with minimal health benefits.
Now Newsom is running TV ads in Florida advertising the virtues of California. His latest ad blitz touts his “job creating” record. But California still has barely recovered all the jobs it lost from the pandemic lockdowns, and the state ranks 24th in job recovery.
Florida ranks eighth in the percentage of jobs recovered. The Sunshine State has an unemployment rate well below that of California.
Sounds to me like the people coming up with these ads learned their math in the California public schools.
Maybe Newsom is trying to persuade the businessmen and women who’ve left California for Florida to come back. Over the last decade, California has lost well more than 1 million residents to other states. Over that same time period, Florida led the nation in net migration from other states. Over the past decade, Florida has been the top destination state in America. Florida is glad to take them as long as they leave their blue state liberal leanings at the border.
Ron DeSantis, meanwhile, has been a genuine superstar governor. While states like California, Illinois, and New York shuttered all economic activity, Florida stayed open while keeping its citizens safe from the virus. “We chose Freedom over Fauci,” the governor likes to say.
Florida has become the school choice state with hundreds of thousands of parents with low incomes given the funds to send their kids to the schools that are the best fit for their kids. He’s stood up to the woke culture that has taken hold in such a subversive way in so many other states.
He’s been tough on crime and pro-victims rights. Crime is much lower in Florida than in California. And, of course, Florida taxes are much lower than California’s.
In short, you have a red state that is a model of success. And you have a blue state that is in severe decline. It’s a sad state of affairs that their front-runner has such a miserable record. If it's DeSantis versus Newsom, the American people can easily figure out who should be the winner in that match-up.