Let the excuses begin.
The highly anticipated debate between California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis took place Thursday night in Alpharetta, Georgia, hosted by Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
And while the cage match between the blue-state and red-state governors might be over, Newsom’s camp is still firing shots.
According to Politico, Newsom’s team complained that DeSantis and Hannity “cheated” during the debate.
The Democrat’s team accused the Fox News host of rigging the event in favor of the Republican and said DeSantis broke certain rules to which the two governors had agreed.
“The debate was rigged, and Newsom still won,” said Sean Clegg, an adviser to the California governor.
Newsom’s team claimed DeSantis violated an agreed-upon rule that candidates would not receive advice during the debate. The Republican was seen speaking with his wife, Casey, who serves as a political adviser to her husband, during the intermission.
“She was ready to coach him when his fake bathroom break happened,” an aide to the Democrat said, according to Politico. “Our guy never left the podium once. He didn’t take a bathroom break.”
Newsom’s staff further claimed Fox News and Hannity violated a rule that multimedia would not be used during the debate. The Democrat’s team said Fox News producers confirmed the prohibition at a pre-debate walkthrough.
However, Hannity proceeded to show several graphics on screen, some of which cast an unfavorable (though accurate) light on Newsom’s governance.
That’s not all the Democrat’s staff complained about. It also accused DeSantis of violating a supposed rule that candidates could bring only a pen and pad of paper onto the stage.
The Republican turned heads when he displayed a map of San Francisco that showed places where human feces had been found. DeSantis also held up images from the book “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” which he described as “pornography.”
This is a book that’s in some of the schools in California.
This is pornography. It’s cartoons. It’s aimed at children — and it’s wrong.
This should not be in schools. pic.twitter.com/XjM1QMrCJQ
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantis) December 1, 2023
However, the DeSantis team said it wasn’t aware of any rule about what they could bring onto the stage, and a Fox News representative said “the word ‘props’ was never discussed ahead of the debate, not one time,” according to Politico.
“The final agreement simply stated that neither side (Newsom or DeSantis) can use multimedia production,” the representative said. “That was an issue about whether each side wanted to do a short production on what makes their individual states great at the start of the debate.”
The accusations made by Newsom and his staff reveal one thing: The California governor knows he lost the debate.
If the Democrat was confident in his performance, he wouldn’t be nitpicking fine details and trying to steer the conversation away from the important issues raised by DeSantis.
It also doesn’t help Newsom’s case that his wife stepped in to end the debate, according to a DeSantis aide. Politico reported that was confirmed by a second person. (A Newsom aide said both men wanted to stop.)
While we can’t confirm the veracity of all of the Democrat’s claims, we can confirm that he wasn’t able to defend his administration’s policies that have resulted in the mass exodus from California.
DeSantis hit Newsom hard on several key topics, including his undermining of parents’ rights, his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his enabling of left-wing prosecutors like Los Angeles County’s George Gascon, whose refusal to prosecute crimes has caught national attention.
Newsom couldn’t muster any reasonable justification for any of these policies. How could one justify allowing kids to have access to pornography in school or permitting people to defecate in the streets?
What Thursday night showed was that left-wing politicians struggle to rationally defend the policies they enforce and that their default tactic is to shift the conversation away from their failings.
That’s why Newsom and his team resorted to crying foul about DeSantis’ supposed violations of debate rules instead of responding to anything the Florida governor said.
If there is anything to take from this sparring session, it’s the importance of confronting the radical left-wing ideology head on.
DeSantis showed how effective this can be Thursday night. Newsom’s state has suffered tremendously with him as governor, and that becomes clearer every time his policies are brought into the spotlight.
Talking about the issues in a candid manner — and trying to come to real solutions — is the only way America can move forward.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.