Reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner announced on April 23 that she’s running to be governor of California, and now the 71-year-old Republican has released her first campaign ad, which debuted earlier today during ABC’s “Good Morning America.” With a runtime of three minutes, “Caitlyn For California,” as the piece is titled, is low on specifics—offering essentially nothing that could be called a platform—but high on production values.
At the start of the ad, as we glimpse scenes of Jenner at home intercut with iconic shots of California (the Hollywood sign, the Golden Gate Bridge, palm trees, surfers), we hear her say, in voice-over, “I’ve always been a dreamer. California was once the envy of the world. We had what everyone else wanted. The American dream grew up here.” And then we’re shown stark scenes of homelessness and pandemic shutdowns as Jenner continues: “Yet career politicians and their policies have destroyed that dream. It’s been locked away. Closed. Shuttered. Left in the dark. Burned down.”
Jenner, who at one point in the spot positions herself as a “compassionate disruptor,” is seeking to replace Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom in a recall election, which is on track to take place this fall.
Arguably the oddest moment in the ad comes when Jenner, who made a fortune both in her past life as an Olympic-medalist decathlete (we’re briefly shown scenes of those glory days) and as a reality TV personality (clips from “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” and “I Am Cait” are conspicuously absent), declares that “This past year has redefined career politicians as elitists. And the people of California as the warriors, the kings and the angels.” A soaring, symphonic score serves as the soundtrack for scenes of essential workers and health care workers.
Near the end of the ad, Jenner says she wants to “bring back the gold to the Golden State. ... And together we’ll restore and renew the California dream.”
Among the reactions to the YouTube version of the video so far are this comment from user eldiablomanatee1: “Exactly what’s your plan? Because this looks like politician propaganda bull shit with no real knowledge of what to do.”