In case you hadn’t heard, Caitlyn Jenner is running for California governor in the state’s 2021 gubernatorial recall election. And in case you don’t regularly watch Fox News, Jenner appeared on Hannity last night to talk about how bad things have gotten in her state.
The interview was a flub. Jenner said some predictably crappy things, like reiterating her belief that transgender girls shouldn’t be able to play girls sports. She also said that news of her gubernatorial run led California governor Gavin Newsom to ease COVID-19 restrictions in the state. But perhaps the most mind-boggling moment was her story about a friend leaving the state for good.
Caitlyn Jenner to Hannity: "My friends are leaving California. My hangar, the guy right across, he was packing up his hangar and I said, where are you going? And he says, 'I'm moving to Sedona, Arizona, I can't take it anymore. I can't walk down the streets and see the homeless'" pic.twitter.com/Z1WbBBQXq7
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 6, 2021
It’s genuinely difficult to determine the most absurd part of what Jenner said (leaving the absurdity of Caitlyn Jenner running for governor and making a prime time appearance with Sean Hannity off the table, of course). Is it Jenner thinking an airplane hangar tale is relatable? That rich people are allegedly moving out of California because of the very sight of homeless people? Or is it that Jenner (supposedly) sees this as motivation to “stay and fight” and run for public office?
Dumb and offensive though Jenner may be, this type of privileged griping plays with conservative audiences. But it also plays well because of who Jenner is running against. Newsom is an easy target because he’s a Democrat and, well, he stinks. His approval ratings have fallen off a cliff after his brutal handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and botching his state’s vaccine rollout.
The final nail in Newsom’s coffin, though, was attending a birthday party after he’d re-instituted stay-at-home orders. You couldn’t cook up a more out-of-touch liberal elite in a lab. He’s the perfect target for Fox News’ ire. And his recall is the kind of race that will receive Fox’s full attention solely for the chance to shove it up a blue state’s ass. Jenner’s celebrity only amplifies it all. If you don’t think an aggrieved celebrity has a chance to win major elected office, you might not be conscious.
Jenner’s drawn several comparisons to Donald Trump, though based on this interview she’s a bland imitation at best. There’s no political acumen here, no instinct for media attention, no flair or personality. Fox News and Hannity types are only paying attention because they want to stick it to Newsom. Jenner might not want to leave, but she doesn’t give a shit about the actual people who may or may not vote for her. Nor does she want to help the homeless people she’s tired of looking at. She’s interested in “fixing” California for herself and her airplane hangar friends—the kind of people who can afford to fly off to some other city whenever they feel like it, in part because of insanely low tax rates.
Still, Jenner is no Trump, no matter how badly she wants to be. It’s not clear whether she actually admires the man or is doing what she thinks will work best. But the only thing she and pre-presidential Trump have in common is way too much time on their hands. And disdain for poor people, which is a practically a conservative political prerequisite at this point.