WATCH: The Moment Ron DeSantis Won the Debate With Gavin Newsom

News & Politics

The Red State vs. Blue State debate between Govs. Ron DeSantis and Gavin Newsom was truly a sight to behold. It was amusing to see how DeSantis was armed with the facts, and Newsom was so impotent that he simply refused to answer question after question, instead choosing to launch into generic talking points, avoiding the substance of the issues being discussed.

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Seriously, if I had a dollar for every question Newsom actually answered, I wouldn’t even have enough money to buy a can of soda. Time after time, he was presented with raw data—facts comparing California and Florida—on migration, crime, jobs, COVID, etc., and Newsom’s response each time was to simply deny the facts and make up his own story. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a debate where a person evaded questions as much as Gavin Newsom did Thursday evening. For someone who is routinely hailed as an expert debater and suave politician, he made it clear that he couldn’t defend the indefensible.

There were a lot of great moments for DeSantis, but there was one in particular that stood out as the one where I knew Ron DeSantis had won the debate. It was early on, too. Everything afterward was just icing on the cake.

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DeSantis often made a point to highlight the fact that people are fleeing the oppressive policies of California for more freedom-loving states like Florida. Early on in the debate, he told a story about meeting a man who had fled to Florida.

“So I was talking to a fella who had made the move from California to Florida. And he was telling me that Florida is much better governed, safer, has a better budget, lower taxes, all this stuff, and he’s really happy with the quality of life. And then he paused and said, ‘You know, by the way, I’m Gavin Newsom’s father-in-law.’ So we do count Gavin’s in-laws as some of the people that have fled California and come to the state of Florida.”

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At that moment, it was clear that this was going to be a brutal debate for Gavin Newsom. DeSantis wasn’t going to make it an easy night for him, and he never relented. Newsom would have been better off the stage at that point.

I’d wondered if DeSantis would bring this up, and I was thrilled when he did and shocked that Newsom didn’t have any comeback for it. Why not? Because it was completely true. PJ Media reported on Newsom’s in-laws bailing on California last year. In fact, they moved to Florida in 2020 during the COVID lockdowns. What could Newsom have possibly said about it to save any face at all?

Newsom was the one who initially challenged DeSantis to a debate, and yet, Newsom was the one who was so unprepared to answer questions that he surely expected. Sure, he’s more articulate than Joe Biden (as Ari Fleischer would point out after the debate on Fox News), but that’s a rather low bar.

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Will this change the dynamics of the GOP primary? No. In fact, Trump supporters were in full force on social media during the debate, panning DeSantis’s performance as we all knew they would. But their shilling for Trump in the hopes of crushing DeSantis can’t change the fact that DeSantis dominated this debate.

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