By Nolan Page
A recall election for California Governor Gavin Newsom has been proposed, and the most prominent candidate for his replacement is reality star Caitlyn Jenner. This proposed recall came about because many Californians, particularly conservatives, have been upset over Newsom’s strict pandemic restrictions. This issue came to a head when Newsom recommended that Californians stay home for Thanksgiving, but was caught having a dinner party in Napa. This stirred up enough outrage that a petition to start a recall vote for the governor has reached the required number of signatures, meaning that a recall election will likely be held this November.
The Democratic Party has stayed united behind Newsom, with none running to replace him; however, several Republicans have stepped forward to announce that they will run to replace Newsom as governor. Among them are Kevin Faulconer, the mayor of San Diego, former U.S. Representative Doug Ose, and Newsom’s former opponent from the 2018 election, John Cox. However, the most prominent candidate to step forward has been Caitlyn Jenner, nationally known reality star, former olympic athlete and self proclaimed trans advocate. With her widespread fame, she stands out over the other candidates.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, who followed a very similar path to the one Jenner hopes to follow, having been a celebrity elected California Governor in a recall election against a Democrat, has said that he thinks Jenner has decent chances of winning, saying on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, ““Anyone has a chance because the people are dissatisfied with what’s going on here in California.”
Jenner was a supporter of former President Donald Trump, only denouncing him in 2018 after the Trump administration’s attack on trans people’s ability to use public bathrooms and is running in the recall election as a Republican, stating that her candidacy is necessary because she is, “only outsider who can put an end to Gavin Newsom’s disastrous time as a governor.” Until now she has been mostly quiet about her political views besides her support of Trump and for the most part, her policies are not yet known.
Despite being an influential trans woman and describing herself as a trans advocate, Jenner has recently been met with sharp backlash from activists in the trans community. Activist Charlotte Clymer tweeted, “Caitlyn Jenner is a deeply unqualified hack who doesn’t care about anyone but herself.” Many have expressed concern that Jenner would serve as a token for the Republican Party in California. They’d be able to say that Jenner’s position showed that it supported trans people while allowing it to pass anti-trans legislation. This would just add California to the wave of legislation in places like Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee that have limited the access of trans youth to transitioning resources and prevented trans youth from participating in sports. Jenner has recently provided evidence justifying these fears. On Saturday, May 1, in a quick interview in a parking lot, Jenner said on the issue of trans youth in sports, “That’s why I oppose biological boys who are trans competing in girls’ sports in school. It just isn’t fair. And we have to protect girls’ sports in our schools.”
Additionally, even though the petition to trigger a recall election was a success, whether or not a Republican has the potential to win the election is still up for debate. A poll in March by the Public Policy Institute of California found that only about 40% of Californians support the recall, and a spokesperson for Governor Gavin Newsom said that Jenner’s candidacy is “a transparently partisan attempt to install a Trump supporter as governor of a state that elected Newsom and rejected Trump in historic landslides.”