Joy Behar apologises for repeatedly misgendering Caitlyn Jenner

Caitlyn Jenner: What are her politics and what has the reaction to her campaign for governor been?

Reality TV star announced plans to take on Gavin Newsom in possible recall

Louise Hall
Saturday 24 April 2021 15:44
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Caitlyn Jenner recently announced her intention to run for California governor, having filed the initial paperwork to run, hired a campaign team, and launched a website for her candidacy.

The reality TV star and trans activist hopes to unseat California’s current governor, Gavin Newsom, in a likely recall election later this year.

“Californians want better and deserve better from their governor,” Jenner said in a statement on Friday. “We need a leader with a vision and the resolve to see it through.”

What are her policies?

Jenner’s initial announcement offers only a broad outline of what her agenda as governor may look like. She mentions cutting taxes, repairing the economy, and pushing against California’s Democratic-dominated politics.

Her website holds no details on her policy positions and key issues facing the state such as the pandemic and the economy, but displays links to purchase various merchandise and for supporters to donate to her campaign.

David McCuan, chair of the political science department at California State University, Sonoma, told the Associated Press that Jenner has “remained silent” on such issues and “doesn’t have a record of political participation.”

Her statement stipulates that there “more updates will be announced in the coming weeks” regarding her campaign.

What are her politics?

Jenner’s stance on politics has shifted in recent years, with the Olympic gold medal-winner having initially offered her support for former president Donald Trump in the 2016 election.

The 71-year-old spoke at the Republican National Convention (RNC) in 2016, and defended her support for the controversial former president, saying she thought he would be good for women’s issues.

“I think he’d be very good for women’s issues. I don’t think he’s out there to destroy women or take things away, or do any of that kind of stuff,” she said in her TV series, I Am Cait, before calling Hillary Clinton a “f***ing liar.”

After coming out as transgender, Jenner said she would continue to support the Republican party and conservative views due to her father having served in the military.

“I get it. The democratic party does a better job for the LGBT community, the trans community, all that kind of stuff,” she said in 2016 at the RNC.

However, she argued that “our best hope to get back to a constitutional government... is a Republican Party... I’m not giving up on this country. I’m not giving up on this constitution.”

She noted at the time that the party needed to change and “note its trans members”, many of whom the GOP “would not even know” are transgender.

Jenner received backlash at the time from LGBT+ advocates for speaking in support of Ted Cruz, a strong advocate for states’ anti-trans “bathroom bill”, which forces transgender people to use the bathroom of their birth gender.

In 2018, Jenner announced in an op-ed published in The Washington Post that her stance on Mr Trump had changed.

“Following Trump’s election as president, I saw fertile ground for change within the Republican Party on LGBTQ issues,” she wrote.

Jenner continued: “Sadly, I was wrong. The reality is that the trans community is being relentlessly attacked by this president.”

She also reversed her earlier support for Mr Trump after he said transgender people would not be allowed to serve in the US military.

In 2015, Jenner said she was a “traditionalist” who was at first against same-sex marriage but was now “okay” with it. In an interview with ABC News in 2017 Jenner clarified she was now “100 per cent” behind it.

What has the reaction to Jenner’s campaign announcement been?

Jenner’s announcement to run for governor has received a largely negative reaction from LGBT+ rights groups online, with many citing her previous support of the former president and the GOP.

One of the state’s largest LGBT+ rights groups, Equality California, criticised Jenner for the move. "Make no mistake: we can’t wait to elect a (hash)trans governor of California," they tweeted.

"But Caitlyn Jenner spent years telling the LGBTQ+ community to trust Donald Trump. We saw how that turned out. Now she wants us to trust her? Hard pass,” they said.

Trans activist Charlotte Clymer said that Jenner “doesn’t care about anyone but herself” calling her views “terrible” and branding her a “horrible candidate."

She noted that it was not appropriate for people to misgender Jenner as a transphobic response to her launching a campaign.

Wyatt Ronan of the Human Rights Campaign, a major national LGBT+ rights organisation, said Jenner "is not the leader California needs."

"Her support of Donald Trump, the most virulent and vocal anti-LGBTQ president in American history, and her decision to hire Trump’s inner circle for her campaign are just two examples why," he said.

“I’m LGBTQ but I won’t be voting for Caitlyn Jenner. Just so we’re clear,” Star Wars actor George Takei posted.

Some activists found reason to applaud Jenner’s announcement, saying it marks a positive reflection of how transgender Americans are running for office more frequently.

"Voters want leaders who will deliver results for their communities, no matter who they are," Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen of the National Center for Transgender Equality Action Fund said.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press

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