After peripheral involvement in last year's election cycle, one celebrity signaled this week that she may throw her own hat in the ring to work in politics soon. Caitlyn Jenner said that she may run for office during an interview this week, which could turn out to be a divisive issue for liberals. Jenner is a prominent LGBTQ+ advocate, and she seems to be pushing the idea that she would be a good choice for liberals who support increased rights for the community, but her vocal identity as a Republican could be a major factor in preventing her from appealing to voters from both sides.
"Yes, I would have to look, over the next year or two, look and see — can I do a better job on the outside, or am I in a position now that I can do a better job for my community on the inside?" Jenner said during an interview with CNN's Don Lemon on Tuesday. "And if that's the case, if I find us on the inside, I would seriously look at it," Jenner said, referring to public office as "the inside."
Jenner is a staunch Republican and an ardent supporter of Donald Trump, but she was also careful to distance herself from the president during the interview. "My loyalties are not with Donald Trump. I will come after him and come after Republicans if they come after my community," said Jenner, implying that she considers herself a LGBTQ+ American before a Republican.
Jenner's prioritization of the LGBTQ+ community over her political affiliation could be a signal that she is trying to split the aisle and attract both Republican and Democratic supporters. She said in another interview this week with Fox News' Tucker Carlson that Trump has "disappointed [her] in the first hundred days" on LGBT issues (namely, Trump issued an executive order in February rolling back Obama-era protections for transgender students in public schools). Due to her name recognition and connections within the Republican party, Jenner could be a driving force for reshaping the mainstream Republican party's views on LGBTQ+ issues, which may entice some liberals to campaign for her in a potential run.
However, with political partisanship at a record high, the effectiveness of such a strategy is dubious. Even Bernie Sanders is having difficulty convincing his base to think of candidates' issue positions as a hierarchy — for many voters, the Trump era of politics doesn't feel like a time for compromise. Jenner hasn't been too specific about her political beliefs, save her stance on LGBTQ+ issues, but since she has openly identified as a Republican, it's a major strike against her for liberal voters.
Jenner certainly has the resources to independently finance a run for office, and it could be a strong qualification for candidates in a political age that is increasingly distrustful of special interest monetary influence. According to CelebrityNetWorth.com, Jenner has a net worth of $100 million, which would be more than enough to support a bid for lower office. The one issue facing her potential run is that she currently resides in Malibu, which lies in California's 33rd congressional district, an area that voted Democrat by a margin of 33 points in the 2016 U.S. House of Representatives election.
Jenner didn't specify what office she would consider, but her bid could be potentially historic. According to The Washington Post, no transgender American has ever won statewide elected office, meaning Jenner could be the one to break that glass ceiling. The sheer progressiveness of her candidacy could bring her some liberal support, but the left is currently judging candidates more on their specific policy prescriptions than the whole package. Though her potential campaign is still a long way out if it ever happens, she may need to amend her approach if she wants any true chance at being elected.