In a bit of a twist, Joe Biden’s handlers are getting nervous about Gavin Newsom’s debate with Ron DeSantis in November. 

According to four different sources, the president’s political advisers now believe that Newsom debating DeSantis carries more risk than reward, and when you read between the lines, there’s one glaring reason they don’t want to see the clash take place.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is increasingly being viewed as a nuisance to some of President Joe Biden’s political advisers, according to four people familiar with the matter.

Though Biden’s camp no longer sees the California governor as a wannabe challenger to the president — and some in the president’s orbit praise him for acting as a top campaign surrogate — Newsom’s plan to debate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on television carries more risk than potential reward, these people say. 

That’s caused consternation within Biden’s operation and among Vice President Kamala Harris’ allies. 

So what is the actual risk here for Biden? It wouldn’t seem to be the possibility that DeSantis cleans Newsom’s clock, something that might happen by default given how superior Florida’s governance is to that of California. Why would the president care if Newsom gets embarrassed? He wouldn’t, and in fact, he might prefer it, which brings us to the real reason the White House isn’t excited about the debate: They do not want the visual of a younger, more coherent progressive Democrat juxtaposed with Joe Biden, who can barely stay awake, much less consistently formulate sentences. 

As the president continues to deteriorate physically and mentally, the angst within the Democratic Party will only grow. Most are scared to say it right now, but very few want Biden to run again.

That brings me to Kamala Harris, who would presumably replace Biden at the top of the ticket if he were to step aside. Is it any wonder her “allies” aren’t keen on Newsom showing her up by going toe-to-toe with the best GOP governor in the country? The vice president has been in the midst of yet another hopeless “reintroduction” to the country in which she tries to become something she’s not. Newsom garnering headlines as a well-spoken leftist (I can’t stand the guy, but he’s a good speaker) would no doubt start renewed calls for him to replace both Biden and Harris at the top of the ticket. 

Biden’s advisors all but admit that concern in the article.

Some Biden advisers have complained privately that the planned debate, which would be moderated by Fox News host Sean Hannity, could make voters think Newsom is running a shadow 2024 campaign at a time when most Democrats say they’d prefer a different candidate at the top of the ticket.

If it seems like Newsom is running a shadow 2024 campaign, that’s because he’s obviously running a shadow 2024 campaign. He wants to be the nominee, and he’s biding his time, trying to stay in the spotlight until there’s an opening. Harris is threatened by that, but so is Biden, whose ambition to keep living like a king on the taxpayers’ dime is unmatched. If the current president becomes incapacitated in office, that’s just fine with him. He’s going to milk it for all its worth instead of doing the honorable thing. 

Of course, there are risks to Newsom as well that he’s probably not even considering. DeSantis, who did far better than predicted at the first GOP debate, will have two more debates under his belt by the time November rolls around. There’s every reason to believe he’ll be sharp and ready to respond to whatever attacks come his way. The expectation is that Newsom blows DeSantis away. If he doesn’t, it’s a failure for the California governor, and that could put a stop to his White House dreams, even in 2028 and beyond.