California Gov. Gavin Newsom continues in his push to “save democracy,” condemning what he considers to be the country’s biggest menaces – Republicans.
Newsom is yet again taking aim at his favorite target, Ron DeSantis. Over the weekend, he called Florida’s governor “functionally authoritarian,” but believes Donald Trump and his brand are more of a threat.
Trump vs. Desantis – Who’s a Bigger Threat to Democracy?
In one of his last interviews on the show, Meet the Press’s Chuck Todd asked Gavin Newsom flat out who he thought was a bigger threat to democracy – DeSantis or Trump?
Newsom tried to wriggle out of the question replying, “I’ll leave that to more objective minds.”
Kudos to Todd for not letting him get away with it. He pressed, saying, “I understand you say from more objective minds … what’s your mind? Tell me what’s in your mind?”
“I think the vengeance in Donald Trump’s heart right now is more of a threat,” Newsom said.
I can’t say I wholeheartedly disagree with Newsom, which shocks even me. I wouldn’t go so far to say that the former president is a threat to democracy. In fact, it’s become increasingly clear that most voters don’t have a problem with Trump’s policies. It’s his posture or personality that turns people off.
But the demagoguing of one man does baffle me. I become very concerned when I see memes on social media or billboards associating Donald Trump with the Messiah.
The True Threat
However, a true threat to the American order will never come from one person, even someone with as much support as Trump.
If Newsom thinks America’s political order is so fragile, he clearly doesn’t have much faith in those who are entrusted to run it – the electorate he supposedly serves.
Newsom said in the interview, “I worry about the fetishness for autocracy that we’re seeing not just from Trump, but around the world and notably across this country.”
California’s governor is very concerned about “Trumpism – what transcends well beyond his term and time and tenure.” It’s also known as populism, not autocracy, and Newsom is absolutely right. The push toward more conservative principles, and Trump, stems from a desire to return authority to the people as opposed to an elite class who pulls the strings of unelected bureaucrats. It absolutely transcends Trump’s time in office. As it should, because as much as it seems to be, it’s not about Trump.
The populist movement sweeping the country, and indeed the world, is a reaction to what leaders like Newsom assert: The one size fits all style of governance. The refusal to abide by principles in the Constitution. The reordering of election processes. The insistence on worshiping external characteristics such as race and gender in education and the workplace. The erasure of the middle class and reordering of the economy in the name of climate and public health.
Members of the elite ruling class, both Democrat and Republican, seem to have forgotten who truly rules this country. Hint: It’s not them.
If anyone is responsible for the rise of Donald Trump, it’s career politicians who are drunk on power and the spoils it affords them.
If this American experiment fails after almost 250 years, it won’t be because of one man. It will be because a majority of people have forgotten that “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.
“It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
I believe those who support Trump are fighting for freedom, at least in their minds. I may not agree with their choice of leader, but I respect their decision to choose him and to stand up against a government they feel no longer represents them.
Ultimately, no politician – not Gavin Newsom, or Donald Trump, or Ron DeSantis – is going to save us.
A tweet from Lance Christensen, the runner up for California’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2022 states this beautifully:
“This cultural malaise we’re trudging through won’t be fixed by elections. It needs to be fixed in our souls.”
He offers a panacea. “Go to church today. You might get some answers there you wouldn’t get anywhere else.”
Jennifer Galardi is the politics and culture editor for 19FortyFive.com. She has a Master’s in Public Policy from Pepperdine University and produces and hosts the podcast Connection with conversations that address health, culture, politics and policy. In a previous life, she wrote for publications in the health, fitness, and nutrition space. In addition, her pieces have been published in the Epoch Times and Pepperdine Policy Review. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.