You scoff now, but you’ll feel differently in 2019 when Trump and McConnell enact sweeping entitlement reform with the barest majority. Deciding votes: Senator Jenner of California and Senator Rock of Michigan.
I can’t decide if Jenner would be better off running for the House than for Senate or if a statewide run is realistically her only play. Fun fact: In the past 25 years, only one Republican has topped so much as 43 percent in a Senate race in California. That was Arianna Huffington’s husband, Michael, who in 1994 spent the most money on a non-presidential race in American history (to that point) in challenging Dianne Feinstein. He finished just shy of … 45 percent. The state has grown even bluer in the decades since, to the point where last year’s race for Barbara Boxer’s open seat produced a general election between Democrat Kamala Harris and, er, Democrat Loretta Sanchez. Thanks to California’s jungle primary, a Republican didn’t even make the top two. In fact, the largest share captured by a Republican in last year’s jungle primary was a measly 7.8 percent. Combined, the 11 Republican candidates on the ballot captured 27.9 percent, more than 10 points behind the 39.9 percent captured by Harris, the eventual winner.
Could Caitlyn Jenner even crack the final two of a primary with Dianne Feinstein in the race and/or other ambitious Democrats, like Eric Garcetti and Antonio Villaraigosa, eyeing their opportunity for higher office? Jenner’s big advantage over most other Republicans would be name recognition, of course. Her big disadvantage is that California’s conservative Republican minority might not cotton to a trans celebrity the way they would a more traditional GOPer. Jenner could be left without a constituency, too Republican for most of the state’s Democratic electorate and too personally unorthodox for the rump Republicans. That’s why I’m torn on whether House or Senate would be a smarter play. She may have an easier time running statewide as a centrist Republican than trying to get elected in one of California’s conservative red districts. Besides, why would a national celebrity want to fart around in the House for two years? The reason people like her and Kid Rock focus on the Senate is because that role would give them something of a national profile, which is what they’re used to. Getting elected to the House and becoming a face in the crowd in the lower chamber would feel like a step backward for them fame-wise.
The key bit comes at 5:45 of the clip. Exit question: Jenner’s only flirting with this idea because she has a book to sell, right? If there’s one thing Kardashians know how to do, it’s promote.