Following the announcement by gold medal winning Olympian and reality television star Caitlyn Jenner that she will be running for governor of California, the sensitive and unresolved question must be asked: is the state of California ready to elect a governor who’s only qualification is being famous?
The top office in state government is one that Californians are used to entrusting only to dedicated public servants with deep political resumes. If Jenner hopes to win this bid, she will have to convince the voters in her state to find value in things like fame or being connected to the Kardashian family. Do voters in the Golden State really respect something as simple and superficial as stardom?
Recent state governors have successfully run on their political track records for things like kindergarten policing programs, preventing a single mother and her child from being terminated, reversing global warming with a process of global cooling, and advancing male pregnancy rights. Meanwhile Jenner has not even stated her position on issues like memory implantation or whether or not government agents should keep their work secret from their spouses.
Her greatest achievements were all in athletics. Would the people of California really vote for somebody who first became known for their peak physique?
As far back as you care to look in the history of all the governors of California, each and every one came from a political background, whether it was a familiar title like Mayor, or a less familiar one, like Gipper. California prides itself on avoiding the kind of slavish worship at the altar of celebrity more typical of cultural hubs like Minnesota and their historic support of A-listers Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura and Al Franken.
Adding to Jenner’s challenges is the fact that she is a Republican. The Republican party is known for its disdain of celebrity, frequently dismissing all of Hollywood under one giant liberal umbrella. Would Republican voters ever be willing to vote for a reality television star?
It seems unlikely that the people of California will find glitz and glamour to be more dazzling than sensible public policy.