In between filming one of the most entertaining reality shows on television today and running a highly successful cosmetics and fragrances business, Kim Kardashian West has emerged as a staunch defender of progressive causes, and she proudly endorsed Hillary Clinton ahead of the 2016 general election.
But a recent Morning Consult poll measuring the potency of political endorsements found that, among independents, the most damaging endorsement a politician can receive is that of Kardashian West. Among Democrats, Kardashian West’s endorsement is the eighth most damaging, right after Steve Bannon and right ahead of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The maligning of Kardashian West is baffling. Placing her among Bannon and McConnell as a political enemy for Democrats and others on the left is nonsensical. That she wields such a negative force on voters in the U.S. is depressing.
For years, Kardashian West has used her Twitter account to call for stronger gun laws in the U.S., tweeting about the need for better background checks and advocating for Congress to take action.
Talking to my sisters now about the shooting yesterday. Just how is it that a mentally troubled teen can have access to a gun! #GunControl!!
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) December 15, 2012
He purchased the gun & ammo ONLINE! How is it so easy to purchase guns online!!! Does this not sicken you? No background checks needed!!!!!
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) August 13, 2015
We owe it to our children and our teachers to keep them safe while at school. Prayers won't do this: action will. Congress, please do your job and protect Americans from senseless gun violence
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) February 15, 2018
“We owe it to our children and our teachers to keep them safe while at school,” she tweeted the day of the Parkland shooting, which left 17 people dead at a Florida high school. “Prayers won’t do this: action will.”
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) October 4, 2017
In 2016, Kardashian West met with the families of people who had been killed by gun violence. “What will it take for this to stop?” she wrote on Instagram.
Kardashian West has expressed solidarity with DREAMers, spoken out about the injustice of banning transgender soldiers from serving, and Islamophobia.
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) January 29, 2017
Banning transgender people from serving our country is simply wrong. We should be so grateful to anybody who wants to serve!
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) July 26, 2017
I stand with the Dreamers…
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) September 6, 2017
Kardashian West, an Armenian-American, has also been outspoken about the oft-forgotten Armenian genocide. A letter she wrote in 2016 responding to Armenian genocide deniers ran as a full page ad in the New York Times.
“Money talks, and right now it’s talking shit,” Kardashian wrote in a letter originally published on her app. “Advocating the denial of a genocide by the country responsible for it—that’s not publishing a ‘provocative viewpoint,’ that’s spreading lies. It’s totally morally irresponsible and, most of all, it’s dangerous. If this had been an ad denying the Holocaust, or pushing some 9/11 conspiracy theory, would it have made it to print?”
Kardashian West also wrote about the Black Lives Matter movement, saying how heartbroken she was by the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, “two innocent black men… senselessly murdered by police officers.”
“I want my children to grow up knowing that their lives matter,” Kardashian West wrote. “I do not ever want to have to teach my son to be scared of the police, or tell him that he has to watch his back because the people we are told to trust—the people who ‘protect and serve’—may not be protecting and serving him because of the color of his skin.”
The distaste for Kardashian West’s politics, even among those who agree with her, certainly is due to how Kardashian West rose to fame. Yes, her father was a member of O.J. Simpson’s defense team. Yes, she made a sex tape and then teamed up with her family to spin the buzz into a reality show. But to write off Kardashian West because of ties to Simpson and a sex tape and a reality show is reductive, particularly for Democrats, who claim to be the party of social acceptance.
Everything Kardashian West touches turns to gold. She has made millions off her television show and smartphone app where she shares beauty and fashion secrets. She developed a successful smartphone game that generated more than $160 million in sales, and her Kimoji app — Kardashian West-inspired emojis — broke Apple’s app store.
When Kardashian West released a line of fragrances last fall, it did more than $10 million in sales in a single day, and the cosmetics line she released last year sold out entirely in three hours. (Ray-J, for his part, peaked on the Hot 100 chart at number three with “Sexy Can I” following the release of their sex tape.)
And isn’t one of the most vital aspects of American democracy is that anyone can engage, no matter their background or experience? Shouldn’t we celebrate successful American businesswomen engaging with the political system?
The distaste for Kardashian West feels particularly ridiculous when you consider the state of American politics, with the former host of “The Apprentice” in the White House and “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon mounting a formidable challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo in New York.
Kardashian West herself said it best in an interview with Interview Magazine last summer.
“I used to say, ‘I love being underestimated.’ But now when I hear, ‘They’re so not talented,’ — ten years into it — I’m kind of like, ‘Okay, give a girl a little respect,'” she said. “If I’m so not talented, if I do nothing, then how is my career my reality? … I don’t mind being underestimated because it does fuel me. But after a while, I do feel like, ‘C’mon, you can recognize a little bit.'”
C’mon, guys. You can recognize a little bit.