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The conservative case for Caitlyn Jenner as Californina’s next governor | COMMENTARY

Caitlyn Jenner speaks at the 4th Women's March in Los Angeles on Jan. 18, 2020. She is exploring a run for governor in California. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Caitlyn Jenner speaks at the 4th Women's March in Los Angeles on Jan. 18, 2020. She is exploring a run for governor in California. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) (Damian Dovarganes/AP)

With the news that former Olympian, businessperson, Republican activist and television reality star Caitlyn Jenner is exploring the possibility of running for governor of California in the upcoming recall election, I was honestly shocked at some of the bigotry and hate that popped up on twitter via some “conservatives” mocking her for her looks and, worse, because she chose to transition to a woman.

The tweets are sadly easy to find and beyond cruel, offensive, ignorant and demeaning.

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As a conservative/libertarian who worked in a couple of Republican White Houses back in the day, I find the transition of Caitlyn Jenner to be beyond courageous. We have but one life to live and she chose to be true to herself knowing the negative consequences she would face. In 1956, then Senator John F. Kennedy won the Pulitzer Prize for his book titled: “Profiles in Courage.” Today, Caitlyn Jenner surely personifies that theme.

With regard to Ms. Jenner running for governor of California, as one who worked on three winning presidential campaigns, I believe her to be incredibly qualified. While the vermin mocking her can’t see above the sewer they permanently inhabit, any fair-minded person with a brain not poisoned by irrational hate can see that she brings a great deal to the political table and would be an exceptional candidate. A candidate millions of Californians would surely embrace.

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Why? Because Caitlyn Jenner possesses one of the rarest commodities in politics: successful real-world experience across a very broad spectrum. Experience that speaks to voters from every single demographic in the state.

In contrast, many of today’s politicians have only worked in politics and come only from wealthy backgrounds. They know little or nothing regarding the personal sacrifices needed to chase a dream, to create a business or to meet a payroll or to help lift a community that was forced into the shadows by bigotry, ignorance and hate for decades.

Caitlyn Jenner knows all of those things and more.

In 1976, against all advice and predictions, she won the gold medal in the Olympic decathlon. How? Sheer force of will. As Ms. Jenner said four years earlier, after coming in 10th in the 1972 Olympic decathlon in which a Soviet athlete won the event: “For the first time, I knew what I wanted out of life and that was it, and this guy has it. I literally started training that night at midnight, running through the streets of Munich, Germany, training for the Games. I trained that day on through the 1976 Games, 6-8 hours a day, every day, 365 days a year.”

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Who does that? Especially while struggling to survive financially and pay the bills.

Ms. Jenner did because she believed in herself and her abilities, and she outworked everyone in the process to win that gold medal and a place in Olympic and American sports history.

From that win, came the title of “The World’s Greatest Athlete,” the cover of Wheaties cereal box and Sports Illustrated magazine, non-stop media attention, and an introduction to the television, film and business worlds.

Then came 2015. The year she did personified and exemplified a true “profile in courage.” For that was the year Caitlyn Jenner came out as a transgender woman. And in doing so, lifted the spirits and inspired millions from the LGBT community, those who identify as transgender and those who support their God-given and legal rights.

Oftentimes, those who criticize the “swamp” know it best because they exist within it while hiding in the darkest recesses of its corrosive center. Caitlyn Jenner has chosen to stand tall in the brightest and oftentimes harshest of light to compete or fight for the goals and rights she believes in.

Let the cowardly swamp creatures mock her from the shadows. If she decides to run for governor of California, I have no doubt the people of the Golden State will not only see Caitlyn Jenner for the winner she is, but as someone who will fight for their rights because across the board, she is one of them.

Douglas MacKinnon (douglas.mackinnon@verizon.net) is an author and a former White House and Pentagon official.

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