lessons learned

Caitlyn Jenner’s campaign debrief has begun and OMFG what a mess that was

Even though it feels like forever ago, it was just last week that Caitlyn Jenner suffered a crushing defeat in her longshot bid to unseat California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Now, political analysts have begun dissecting her doomed campaign that kicked off with a high profile interview on Fox News filmed in her personal airplane hangar and ended with more than $156,000 in debt and a nutty CNN appearance that made Rudy Giuliani look sane.

“She did more damage to the trans community with this campaign than, I believe, any social conservative could do with an entire term in office,” Charlotte Clymer, a politics fellow at Georgetown University and former press secretary for the HRC, tells the Los Angeles Times in an article debriefing the whole thing.

During her campaign, Jenner spoke in support of issues like “religious freedom” and opposed trans athletes competing in sports. She also burned through more than $910,000 in campaign donations on things like limo rides and sushi dinners. Oh, and she took a month off to film a reality show in Australia.

Charles Moran, managing director of the Log Cabin Republicans, has a slightly more optimistic take on the whole thing, saying, “It’s important for people on the right to see people who are different than who they are, but have shared values. Her being out there and doing that is helpful.”

Then there’s Ron Nehring, former chair of the California Republican Party, who calls 71-year-old Jenner’s foray into politics an absolute “catastrophe.”

“Jenner’s catastrophic performances in interviews reflected a lack of seriousness,” he says, adding that she “wasn’t running for governor. She was doing something, but certainly not running for governor.”

The interviews, as you may recall, included regular attacks on homeless people for being, well, homeless, criticisms of Gavin Newsom for going out to a restaurant during COVID, bitching about mask mandates, and blaming the sun for global warming.

“I’m not a big believer in climate change, this and that,” Jenner told her local Fox affiliate last month. “Our climate has been changing. We used to be in an Ice Age here. … I think the climate is constantly changing, but I don’t know if it’s because of humans. I think it’s because of the big ol’ sun up there.”

Three weeks from recall election day, Caitlyn Jenner remains confident about her campaign. “California needs a…

Posted by KTVU Fox 2 on Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Democratic strategist Garry South says Jenner’s campaign was always destined to fail.

“I mean, the whole thing was just off key from Day 1,” he says, adding that she clearly “drew inspiration” from the campaigns of Donald Trump and Arnold Schwarzenegger, but that things didn’t pan out the way she assumed they would.

“I think she made a superficial determination that somehow she could replicate those two successes,” South says. “And she couldn’t.”

In her bitter concession speech last week, Jenner called her election loss “a shame” and said she “can’t believe that this many people actually voted to keep [Gov. Newsom] in office.”

“It’s a shame, honestly,” she griped. “It’s a shame. You kind of get the government you deserve.”

Graham Gremore is the Features Editor and a Staff Writer at Queerty. Follow him on Twitter @grahamgremore.