California gubernatorial candidate Caitlyn Jenner compared Silicon Valley to the Soviet Union and claimed that she can beat them because she “took on the Soviet Union and won” at the 1976 Olympics, hearkening back to when Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) claimed that Alaska’s proximity to Russia gave her foreign policy experience.
“In 1976 I took on the Soviet Union and won,” Jenner tweeted. “Today Silicon Valley’s mono-culture seems to espouse the same values. I will take on Big Tech’s woke cancel culture and win for all of California and America.”
In 1976 I took on the Soviet Union and won. Today Silicon Valley’s mono-culture seems to espouse the same values. I will take on Big Tech’s woke cancel culture and win for all of California and America. 🏅Time has come to stop silencing our voices!https://t.co/Yvnkc7MO6Q
— Caitlyn Jenner (@Caitlyn_Jenner) May 24, 2021
When she said she “took on the Soviet Union and won,” she was referring to winning the gold medal in Men’s Decathlon at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Silver went to West Germany and bronze to the Soviet Union.
Jenner did not explain how she will force tech workers to change their values or how they are the same as the Soviet Union’s in the 1970s.
Claims of defeating Russia and the Soviet Union have been used in the past by politicians with little experience to establish foreign policy credentials. In 2008, when then Gov. Palin was picked to be the Republican vice presidential nominee, her thin resume was a constant subject of criticism.
ABC News’s Charles Gibson asked her about the McCain/Palin campaign’s claim that being the governor of Alaska counts as foreign policy experience and what insight into Russia she gained from being governor. She responded: “They’re our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.”
In the tweet, Jenner linked an article in the British tabloid The Daily Mail. The article discusses how some people are moving out of California – including tech mogul Elon Musk – because they want to pay less in taxes, buy cheaper homes, and see fewer homeless people.
The article doesn’t say how many people are moving out compared to how many are moving in, or even what percentage of people moving out are moving out for the reasons they cite. California’s population has grown every year for the last century, including in 2020.
But the idea that wealthy people are fleeing California is a central focus of Jenner’s campaign.
“My hangar… the guy right across, he was packing up his hangar and I said, ‘Where are you going?’ And he says, ‘I’m moving to Sedona, Arizona, I can’t take it anymore. I can’t walk down the streets and see the homeless,’” Jenner told Fox’s Sean Hannity several weeks ago, explaining why she’s running.
Attacking California’s technology industry might not be the best move for the fledgling campaign, which got only six percent support from the state’s voters in the first poll since Jenner announced her campaign to unseat Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) in the recall election.
The new UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies/LA Times poll asked Californians about four candidates who are trying to unseat Newsom in the recall election. Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and lawyer John Cox tied for first place with 22% support, and former Rep. Doug Ose (R-CA) got support from 14% of voters in the poll for his campaign.
“Even among Republicans, only 13% say they’d be inclined to vote for her,” pollster Mark DiCamillo told the LA Times. “It’s a very poor showing.”
She has also alienated LGBTQ people and specifically transgender people. Her first position as a political candidate was opposition to transgender girls participating in school sports, and last week she shared an ugly meme making fun of Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Rachel Levine, the first transgender person to be confirmed to an appointed position by the Senate.
A source in Jenner’s campaign told Atrios in April that she will attempt to use her celebrity status – especially her past as an Olympian – to overcome questions about her lack of political experience.