California Gov. Gavin Newsom warned members of his party Saturday that the GOP is "winning right now" as that party controls the national conversation -- arguing that Democrats' failure to offer a "compelling alternative narrative" has put the "entire rights agenda" of the last half-century at risk.
Newsom accused GOP rivals like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott of trying to undo "the rights revolution of the last century" with their "zest for demonization (and) humiliating people every single day" by pushing for restrictive abortion laws, attacking protections for the LGBTQ community, attempting to ban specific books from schools, and busing migrants to liberal cities and enclaves.
Newsom and the "anger industry" that he claimed surrounds them, saying, "These guys are ruthless on the other side." "They control the narrative, which has supplanted facts as the primary concern in modern American politics. They use deception to rule. We are also crumbling. We constantly have to defend ourselves."
At the Texas Tribune Festival on Saturday, Democratic candidate Gavin Newsom again denied that he is considering a bid for the White House in 2024 or 2028. But he defended the actions he has taken this year, such as erecting billboards in seven red states that have restricted or outlawed abortion, encouraging out-of-state women to come to California for their reproductive care, by saying that Democrat leaders like himself must more forcefully oppose the policies of GOP governors like DeSantis and Abbott.
He claimed that he was not criticizing President Joe Biden, saying that during his first two years in the White House, the President had been "busy" giving a "masterclass" on "substance and policy." But he asserted that Democrats are failing in "organizing from the bottom up: "Where are we — constantly committing an offense? They are currently winning."
As he drew attention to the erosion of abortion rights state-by-state, including in Arizona, where a Pima County Superior Court judge on Friday reinstated a 1901 nearly total ban on abortion except to save the mother's life, the governor of California argued that more than electoral success is at stake for his party.
He particularly attacked DeSantis, his go-to opponent, for supporting a law that forbade abortions in Florida after 15 weeks and made no exceptions for rape, incest, or human trafficking. In court, this law is currently being contested.
Ron DeSantis stands there preaching the gospel of freedom, and in that state, he says you can be an 11-year-old girl who has been raped by your father and forced to bear your brother or sister? What in the world is happening?" said Newsom. "I'm not going to give them that mantle of freedom," she said.
When they go low, we go high was a famous phrase uttered by former first lady Michelle Obama, according to Newsom, but Democrats do not currently have that option. He asserted that same-sex marriage, voting, civil, and abortion rights are all "on the chopping block."
They want to return us to the period before the 1960s, Newsom claimed. "We must become aware of it. Damn it, and the Democratic Party needs to assert itself more forcefully than we have to meet this moment head-on."