There is currently a recall election for the governor of California and according to the way the system works, there are two things to vote on on the same ballot: Whether to recall the current incumbent Gavin Newsom and, if that vote garners 50% + 1 of the vote, then who should replace him among all the people vying for the position. As I have written before, this is a strange system in that in a highly contested race, it is possible for the incumbent to be voted out by getting just shy of the 50% mark and be replaced by someone with a much smaller fraction of the vote.
And since this is California, home of celebrities, one has to expect someone with name recognition to decide that they can repeat Arnold Schwarzenegger’s feat in 2003 when he became governor following the recall of Gray Davis. Former Olympic decathlete turned reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner is the celebrity seeking the brass ring this time. She has not evinced much interest in politics before and that ignorance shows as she has made several blunders right out of the gate.
One is her answer about how her wealthy friends were leaving the state because they did not want to see homeless people. She said that she had this conversation with that person because he had the neighboring private airplane hangar.
She was asked in an interview who she had voted for in 2020 and she gave the curious answer that she had not voted at all. She gave as the reason that in California, the numerous ballot propositions are often of greater import than the elected offices and since there was no issue that she really cared about, she decided to play golf instead of voting on election day.
That by itself is pretty damning because there were plenty of important issues. But it turns out that in California, whether you voted or not is a matter of public record and an investigation revealed that she had in fact voted. So why did she lie?
I think Jenner must have felt that Trump is very unpopular in California and saying that she voted for him would have alienated people. On the other hand, saying that she did not vote for him would have alienated Trump supporters. By trying to avoid both situations and saying that she did not vote, she alienated people who feel that someone seeking elected office should exercise the right to vote. By finding out that she lied about it, she alienated people who don’t like blatant lying as well as those have contempt for an aspiring politician who does not have the slightest clue that voting is a matter of public record. So all in all, a grand slam of incompetence. It is no wonder that despite her name recognition, she is polling a just 6%.
But when asked to select a replacement candidate should the recall succeed, registered voters prefer more experienced GOP candidates over Jenner. Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and former 2018 Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox each have 22 percent support from registered voters, while former Rep. Doug Ose has 14 percent. Democrats for now have opted against running a candidate in the free-for-all ballot out of concern that it would detract from overall opposition to the recall.
One has to agree with an analyst who thinks that for Jenner this is just another reality show to keep her in the media limelight.
“This is not someone who is serious about public life. If she were, she would know there is record of who votes — and who doesn’t,” said Claremont McKenna College professor Jack Pitney, a former GOP campaign operative. “She hasn’t said anything even remotely sensible. It’s a reality show, and she likes attention. This gets her attention. Mission accomplished.”
So I too have been suckered into her reality show by writing about her.