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Caitlyn Jenner’s Debut Campaign Ad Outlines Plan to ‘Disrupt’ Calif. Status Quo

'The American dream grew up here, yet career politicians and their policies have destroyed that dream...'

California gubernatorial candidate Caitlyn Jenner‘s debut campaign video emphasized a message of inclusive conservatism, setting an optimistic and affirmative—yet defiant—tone that channeled former presidents Ronald Reagan (himself a former California governor), and Donald Trump.

“California needs a disruptor—a compassionate disruptor,” Jenner said in the three-minute spot, which made direct references to Reagan’s “shining city on a hill” and Trump’s “make America great again” slogan.

Jenner planned to follow up with an appearance on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show Wednesday night, shifting the closely watched campaign into high gear after what some said was a slow start.

But, as the saying goes, the push toward the yet-to-be-determined finish line of the state’s special recall election is not a sprint; it’s a marathon—something with which Jenner has plenty of experience.

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“I came here with a dream 48 years ago to be the greatest athlete in the world,” said the former Olympic gold-medalist. “Now I enter a different kind of race, arguably my most important one yet: to save California.”

POLITICAL WEAPON OR LIABILITY?

Better known now for being a reality-TV personality and transgender icon than for the 1976 men’s decathlon, Jenner is the highest profile GOP figure to have entered into the gubernatorial race thus far.

The recall petition against Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom reached the necessary threshold of verified signatures, but its official certification is currently pending a statutory waiting period.

Assuming petitioners do not withdraw their names, Democrat Secretary of State Shirley Weber is expected to schedule the election by mid-June.

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Several established political figures—including former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, former US Rep. Doug Ose and former gubernatorial runner-up John Cox—are among those currently in the running, and the already-crowded field is likely to draw more heavyweights as the race heats up.

Yet, Jenner’s candidacy is poised to overshadow those of traditional Republicans hoping that Newsom’s policy failures alone might be enough to carry the state back into red territory.

The campaign has evoked parallels to Trump, who—like Jenner—was a former reality TV star with a larger-than-life persona when he entered the 2016 presidential race.

Trump stymied the Republican establishment by turning his outsider status and ability to draw headlines into his greatest political assets, although it led some to suspect that he might be a leftist plant.

But in California, the success of two prominent movie stars—Reagan, who famously enticed the support of many Democrats by emphasizing the GOP’s “big tent,” and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the state’s last Republican governor and a dedicated centrist—suggest that some sort of appeal or concession to the Left may be a political imperative.

THREATENING THE STATUS QUO

Already, Jenner’s trailblazing candidacy has forced a reassessment of core values and political allegiances for both the Left and Right.

A major GOP victory in the high-stakes race would be a devastating blow for Democrats’ momentum nationwide as buyer’s remorse begins to take hold against the radical left-wing policies of the Biden administration.

It also could be a boon for those seeking to establish transgender identity—once considered a clinical psychological disorder—in the mainstream of American culture.

“California is facing big hurdles,” Jenner said in the new campaign ad. “Now, we need leaders who are unafraid to lead to new heights, who are unafraid to challenge and to change the status quo.”

Newsom has garnered considerable public outrage over his draconian lockdown policies and hypocrisy during the coronavirus pandemic.

His stewardship continues to wreak havoc on a state whose $3 trillion economy is larger than that of any sovereign nation except the US, China, Japan and Germany.

“The American dream grew up here, yet career politicians and their policies have destroyed that dream,” Jenner said in the video.

“It’s been locked away, closed, shuttered, left in the dark, burned down,” Jenner continued. “The government is now involved in every part of our lives. They’ve taken our money, our jobs and our freedom.”

IDENTITY CRISIS

Regardless of what else Jenner has to say, transgender issues and, more broadly, the influence of left-wing identity politics are likely to remain front and center.

That may help mitigate leftists’ go-to rhetoric that Republicans are the party of intolerance, potentially posing pitfalls for those who seek to undermine Jenner with ad hominem attacks.

Jenner’s announcement roiled leftists such as gay “Star Trek” actor George Takei and “View” co-host Joy Behar, who was slammed last week for “misgendering” the newly declared candidate by using male pronouns.

Such talk is sure amplify if Jenner proves to be a serious, viable candidate and a reliable conservative in a state so deeply blue it is nearly indigo.

Meanwhile Jenner’s decision to embrace both male and female identities by continuing to speak in a husky, masculine voice could reshape popular understandings of nonbinary gender identity—but it also risks sowing confusion and putting off potential voters.

Some conservatives remain leery of embracing a transgender figure for such a key role as standard-bearer of the GOP platform.

Nonetheless, Jenner reassured skeptics by speaking out recently in opposition to allowing biologically male candidates to compete against female athletes.

That, along with the new video articulating Jenner’s political philosophy, could make the political neophyte a powerful vehicle for delivering the hybrid of Republican policies steeped in classical liberalism that is necessary to reclaim the country’s most populous—and politically influential—state.

“I don’t care if you’re a Republican, Democrat—I’m running to be governor for all Californians—to reclaim our true identity, to bring back the gold to the Golden State,” Jenner said in the video.

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