Caitlyn Jenner seems to be the new face of everything.
Since her debut on the cover of Vanity Fair a few short weeks ago, she has become the new face of the LGBT community and just landed a column on a popular website. It is fair to say that Caitlyn Jenner is the hottest ticket in town right now — so much so that it appears her hat is being thrown into the political ring.
But not how you think.
Jenner’s splash into the public eye — reaching 1 million Twitter followers in record time, becoming a pop culture icon, getting her own reality TV show — has caught the attention of the Grand Old Party.
During her interview with Diana Sawyer, Caitlyn (who at that time still identified as Bruce Jenner) declared she was a conservative Republican. Yes, the political party best known for opposing women’s rights, same-sex marriage and a host of other LGBT issues. Jenner has even been hailed as a “solid Reagan Republican” by key GOP members.
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Traditionally, most high-powered celebrities support the Democrats because of their stance on cultural and societal issues. So when a high-profile member of the Hollywood elite declares their conservatism, they get the royal treatment.
“Republicans are always looking for celebrities to promote their party. Famous people in the entertainment industry are generally liberal Democrats, so those who are not can win a special place in the GOP — Ronald Reagan being the most famous example,” says Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.
So it makes perfect sense that Jenner is being given the red carpet treatment by a lot of high-profile Republicans — like South Carolina presidential hopeful Lindsey Graham, who said recently on CNN’s State of the Nation, “I haven’t walked in [Jenner’s] shoes, I don’t have all the answers to the mysteries of life. I can only imagine the torment that Bruce Jenner went through. I hope he — I hope she has found peace… If Caitlyn Jenner wants to be Republican, she is welcome in my party.”
Another Republican presidental candiate, Rick Santorum, said, “My responsibility as a human being is to love and accept.”
Do top Republicans really think that Jenner is the new face of their party? Well, none have come right out and said so, and Kondik points out a very good reason why. He said, “It’s hard to imagine a party so reliant on conservative Christians would really embrace a transgender woman as a surrogate. Having Caitlyn Jenner speak, for instance, in a prime-time slot at the 2016 GOP Convention would certainly represent outreach to the LGBT community. It’s just hard to image that happening, even if Jenner wanted to do something like that.”
It seems whether she wants to or not, Jenner is going to be part of this presidential race as it seems inevitable that questions about her will arise.
One thing’s for sure: The attention Jenner is getting is doing wonders for education about the transgender and LGBT community, especially for more conservative groups who might not otherwise hear or listen, traditionally.