California Gov. Gavin Newsom is using the recent Supreme Court decision to reverse Roe v. Wade to assert his role as a future national leader of the left and the Democratic Party — possibly with a view to a forthcoming run for president.
Newsom has been in the vanguard of left-wing policy on social issues ever since becoming the first public official to legalize gay marriage, doing so as mayor of San Francisco in 2004 — though his own party blamed him for a national backlash.
In recent months, he has devoted energy to picking fights with Texas and Florida, two Republican-governed states that have attracted businesses and residents from California — and which also have taken conservative social stances on many issues.
When a draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization leaked last month, Newsom promised to build a “firewall” around California to protect abortion. He even tried reframing pro-abortion policies as the real “pro-life agenda.”
Now, the Los Angeles Times notes, Newsom is using the decision in Dobbs to catapult himself to the forefront of debate over the future of Democratic Party leadership, with an angry press conference Friday and a raft of new pro-abortion state laws. Newsom has led Democrats, the Times points out, on a variety of other issues as well, from gun control to vaccine mandates:
Newsom clearly embraces his rise as a dominant, resonating voice for Democratic states nationwide and as a foil of governors such as [Greg] Abbott [of Texas] and Ron DeSantis of Florida, whom he condemns as disciples of the hard-right, Donald Trump wing of the Republican Party.
The day after the May 24 elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Newsom announced that he would back more than a dozen additional bills to further tighten California’s extensive gun-control laws. They include allowing the state Department of Justice, local governments and gun violence survivors to sue gun industry members for violating a “firearm industry standard of conduct.”
California was the first state to announce that it would require all public employees and healthcare workers to show proof of vaccination or be tested weekly.
The risk of a backlash remains: Newsom also joined former President Donald Trump’s social media network, Truth Social, earlier this month, promising to troll Republicans. In doing so, however, he also gave the fledgling network new relevance.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.