Stardom Does not Equal Success in Politics


Media by Liza Cooper

Politicians should be famous for one thing: their ability to lead. Celebrities such as Caitlyn Jenner and Kanye West, well-known for their success in the entertainment industry, are now trying to convert their clout into campaign fuel. It just doesn’t add up.

This summer, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” star and former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner announced her candidacy for the governor of California. 

“Many people know me as a gold medal Olympian, television personality or as an advocate for fairness and equality for all people. But I’m serious about running for governor because California is worth fighting for,” she wrote in a letter on her campaign website,

Her letter goes on to bash the current governor of California, Gavin Newsom, and to point out all the things she sees wrong with the state under his government. 

I believe she does not have the qualifications to make these claims. Her years of experience in reality TV or training for the Olympic decathlon have not justified her to run for a political office in one of the biggest states in the country.

Jenner, who is running as a Republican candidate, said she will continue to advocate for a wall to be built on the Mexican-American border in an interview with Fox News; an idea that was popularized by Donald Trump. Taking this and other things she has said during interviews into consideration, she is clearly targeting a certain demographic of Republican voters in California, a demographic that might not support her because she is a transgender woman.

Politicians have to be smart. They have to know their audience, they have to know who will vote for them and they have to know their target demographic’s beliefs. Jenner, an unqualified celebrity, clearly does not know how to be a strategic candidate. 

Jenner is not the only celebrity who has launched a campaign. Rapper Kanye West took his political ambitions even further, running for president in 2020. With his name on 12 states’ ballots, he garnered 66,362 votes. This means more than 0.4 percent of the projected 158.4 million American voters bubbled in his name on their ballots.

During his first campaign rally, which was held July 19, 2020, in Charleston, S.C., West made inaccurate claims about slavery, saying Harriet Tubman “never actually freed the slaves.”

West is incorrect; Tubman actually helped more than 300 slaves gain their freedom, according to PBS. West believes his star power outweighs the fact that he has no idea what he is talking about.

Although there have been successful transitions from Hollywood to high office, like Ronald Reagan being elected president in 1980, the motives of today’s celebrity candidates appear to be different. 

Government positions should not be looked at as just another way to gain followers or clout, and elections are not popularity contests. Campaigns should be based on fact. Americans who vote for attention-seeking starlets will be let down in the end, for it’s not about the well-being of the state. It’s about the well-being of these celebrities’ fragile egos.