So now Caitlyn Jenner, the well-known male-to-female transgender individual who became famous as an athlete named Bruce Jenner, has announced that she is running for governor of California in the case of a recall election for Gavin Newsom. Of course, the proposition of a Newsom recall has not even made it on the ballot for 2021, but that does not matter, because this movement made up of failed Tea Party politicians has gained in liberal California over rather popular COVID-19 measures. Politico reported on 3/31/2021 that 56% of voters said they’d vote for Newsom in the event of a recall being put on the ballot — but we all have to pretend that’s not the case because Newsom is now the number one bad guy in America. (A role formally held by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.)
Of course, this is bad news for a few people. The biggest of them being Richard Grenell, who was supposed to be the first openly LGBT person to run for governor as a Republican and win. (And of course, he’s going to win, ignore the small fact that nobody actually likes him.) Now that honor is going to be stripped of him (although, as I’ve previously covered, Grenell’s attempts to soften the GOP’s opinion on gay people seems to have fallen on deaf ears), and by a member of a different letter that some in the LGBT community want to sand off.
Mind you, Grenell’s life has been rather sad since Trump left office. Grenell bills himself as Donald Trump’s number one gay supporter (and considering Milo Yanipolous is now ex-gay, he might be Donald Trump’s only gay supporter) but since Trump left office the most he’s done is argue with social conservatives on Twitter. It was on 3/1/2021 Grenell got into a Twitter argument with Lauren Witzke and Nick Fuentes about if the Republican Party should accept gay people.
But Grenell losing his place as the one and only LGBT Republican does not mean he’s the only one who lost something from this. Social conseratives, seeing increasing irrelevancy in an evolving world, also cannot believe, not only that Jenner is running for office, but also that Republicans are willing to go along with it. Take this 4/23/2021 tweet from The Columbia Bugle as an example:
Would never vote for Caitlyn Jenner. Get a real candidate to replace Newsom.
Wait a minute, I thought immigration had made it impossible for a “real candidate to replace Newsom.” (Even though, even if only white people voted in elections, California would still be a solidly Democratic state.) These talking points are making less and less sense every day.
Or how about this tweet from the same day from the Stanford College Republicans?
We oppose ‘Caitlyn’ Jenner’s candidacy for Governor. If Jenner is confused about his basic biology, how could he possibly run America’s largest state? We demand a conservative challenge to Newsom — this is a referendum on Newsom’s failings, not ‘gender identity.’ #NeverJenner
Again, this bizarre idea that a social conservative can win in California is one of the most confusing misunderstanding had by the populist-right. Of course, the populist-right is under the false impression that they’re on top of the world, when most Americans consider them nothing more than a rather vocal side show. Here’s a Tweet from Gavin Mario Wax, the President of the New York City Young Republicans, that should give you an idea of the massive disconnect between how populists view themselves and how everyone else views them:
I run a Young Republican Club in New York City. The vast majority of our membership (90% plus) are either politically aligned with Trump or to the RIGHT of Trump. The rest are basically a few conservative libertarians. Corporatist neo-con establishment types do not exist IRL.
As he types this, the New York City Republican Party is so non-existent that they’re not even putting up a candidate for Mayor in 2021. In 2017, De Blasio’s Republican opponent won 27.59% of the vote. Said opponent, Nicole Malliotakis sided with Trump on many things, especially the populist-right pet issue of immigration. (She actually won Donald Trump’s endorsement when she ran for Congress in 2020, and she then returned the favor by going along with Trump’s nonsense claims that the 2020 Election was stolen by Joe Biden.)
The fact is, there are no “libertarians” or “neo-cons” in New York because there are no conservatives in New York. New York was the place Nelson Rockafeller became governor of, who became the model for liberal Republicans for decades to come (to the point where the liberal wing of the Republican Party are still called “Rockafeller Republicans”). The last two Republican mayors of New York City, Rudy Guilliani and Michael Bloomberg, ran on “law and order” platforms while supporting things like abortion and LGBT rights — which is the exact strategy populists now tell us is a death sentence for the Republican Party. It was on this same platform — one of fiscal conservativism and very little social conservatism outside of basic “law and order” rhetoric — that caused Ronald Reagan to become governor of California, with Reagan not being known as the hardcore conservative he was during his presidency up until his 1976 Presidential Campaign against Gerald Ford.
Social conserativism was already unpopular outside of a handful of rural areas, but now it’s dying more than ever. Recent polls show that more people identify as LGBT than ever before, it’s much harder to sell oppressing people when those people are your family, friends, or even you. (This is also why it was only ever popular on a local level, in a massive and diverse country like the United States it has always been rather hard to divide people to such a point where they support segregationist policies.) The few remaining social conservative, the people unwilling to admit defeat, will be making their final attempts at politics over the course of the 2020s. We can possible put this beast to rest once and for all, but that will take some more work on our part.