LARRY KUDLOW: Gavin Newsom chose a losing strategy


Spend less, tax less, regulate less, frack more. That’s the red state formula that is crushing in blue states, and with those policies, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis cleaned Gavin Newsom’s clock in the red vs. blue debate last night hosted by Sean Hannity of FOX News. Virtually all the facts were on his side, and he did a good job defending them.

Unfortunately, Gavin Newsom chose a losing strategy. He denied that those facts existed, but those were government factoids, kind of like Newsom’s hero Joe Biden, who is incapable of telling the truth about the economy or virtually everything else. 


As a supply-sider, I’m especially interested in the tax story. California has the highest taxes in the country and Florida is one of a handful of red states with a zero income tax, and importantly, talking about red states, they’re all congregating toward low, flat tax rates and zero tax rates, and that’s why their economies are out-performing blue states. 

Ron DeSantis could’ve really just made it simple and said, well, your top rate of 13% is higher than zero, and your middle rate of 8-9% is higher than zero, and your 6% is also higher than zero. Florida’s unemployment rate is lower. Florida’s in-migration rate is higher. Florida spends less. 


Florida’s unemployment rate is lower. The poverty rate is lower. The homeless rate is lower. The gas prices are lower, but DeSantis got it done and Gavin Newsom tried to fib his way through it. That wasn’t very good. I’ve known Gov. Newsom for years. He’s a personable guy. He’s a smart guy, but he had a bad night last night, too sarcastic, snooty and swarmy. I’m not saying DeSantis is Mr. Personality, but he was a whole lot better than Newsom. 

My guess is DeSantis climbs a few points in the polls, especially vs. Nikki Haley. The Republican race won’t be changed. It’s all Trump, all the time. Newsom on the other hand, who had a poor night, did not help himself either as a potential exit strategy from a Joe Biden collapse or even looking way ahead to 2028. Sean Hannity was the real hero of the night for having a very good idea for the debate and for being a terrific, even-handed host. Good for Sean. 

This article is adapted from Larry Kudlow’s opening commentary on the December 1, 2023, edition of “Kudlow.” 

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