When California Republicans announced they were spearheading a recall effort against Governor Gavin Newsom, it was clear that foul play was afoot. No Republican can legitimately get elected Governor in a liberal state like California. But a recall election, in which most people don’t bother to vote or aren’t even aware of what’s going on, is an infamous backdoor for Republicans to seize power in California (see Arnold Schwarzenegger). Now we’re seeing some of what the California GOP has in mind.
Reality show star and former Olympic athlete Caitlyn Jenner has announced today that she’s running for Governor of California in a potential recall election. This is surreal, considering that Jenner is a far-right extremist on most issues, and that she supported Donald Trump in 2016. Notably, Jenner is using disgraced former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale to help run her campaign.
On the surface, none of this makes any sense. Jenner is way too far-right to have any chance of winning a statewide election in California – even a recall election. Moreover, Trump is toxically unpopular in California, and putting a notorious Trump stooge like Parscale in charge is a good way to make sure Jenner’s campaign is tied to Trump in the minds of voters. Also, Parscale has repeatedly proven himself massively and laughably incompetent, to the point that his ineptness could sink Jenner’s campaign even if she did have a chance.
Given all that, it’s not too difficult to guess what’s likely going on. Caitlyn Jenner knows she can’t win, so she isn’t trying to win. She’s simply going to run a stunt campaign to bring attention to herself and try to make herself relevant again. If her losing campaign jumpstarts her stalled entertainment industry career, the whole thing could be quite profitable for her. And if there’s one thing Parscale is good at, it’s getting big headlines while running embarrassing campaigns into the ground.
The big thing to watch for will be what the California GOP does in response to this. If it gets behind Jenner’s campaign, that’ll be a sign that it knows it can’t win the recall election, and that it’s merely looking to tap into far-right pro-Trump fundraising along the way. On the other hand, if the California GOP shuns Jenner and fields a more viable Republican candidate instead, it’ll mean that the GOP is indeed trying to win the runoff election, and that it sees Jenner’s campaign as a nuisance.
Of course this kind of campaign will only serve to remind most Americans why they turned against Caitlyn Jenner in the first place: she’s a far right extremist with disgusting political views. This is less likely to restart her career on a mainstream level, and more likely to turn her into the kind of widely despised pariah who’s only popular with bottom feeders. In other words, Jenner could end up being the next Scott Baio.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report