Jimmy McMillan: The Rent Is Too Damn High

"They took 'Damn' out our party name. Without it in, ain't gon be the same."
               -Jimmy McMillan, New York gubernatorial candidate

There is something even more fascinating than Carl Paladino going on in New York's gubernatorial race, and his name is Jimmy McMillan.

McMillan is running for governor as a member of The Rent Is Too Damn High Party, which he founded and on whose ticket he ran for governor in 2006 and for mayor of New York City in 2005 and 2009.

Visit the Rent Is Too Damn High website, and you'll hear McMillan rapping and singing over synth-funk stylings. Don't worry, it plays automatically in the background.

"Ain't nothin' to talk about, ain't nothin' else to talk about," McMillan tells visitors. "Rent is too damn high."

"Y'all better know about me," he adds.

In 2006, the state Board of Elections did McMillan dirty, prohibiting "Damn" from being included in the party name as listed on ballots in 2006. Officials argued that "The Rent Is Too Damn High" is simply too long to include in full.

But McMillan came back at them: in addition to recording a song about it (see italicized quote above--you can hear it on the website), he filed suit against the elections board (as attorney general, Cuomo's office defended), seeking $50 million in damages and alleging that "Damn" was removed for religious reasons--McMillan holds that "Damn" is "the word of God"--and that the elections board confused voters and weakened his message of how atrociously high studio, 1-bedroom, and room-for-rent rates actually are in New York. (And, let's be honest, they really are.) In June of this year, a mutually amendable compromise was reached: "The Rent Is 2 Damn High" will be the name of McMillan's party, as it appears on ballots.

Last night, McMillan appeared onstage with Cuomo and Paladino for a televised gubernatorial debate. He wore black gloves.

Not only did McMillan tell people about the rent, he at one point declared that, "As a karate expert I will not talk about anyone up here, because our children can't afford to live anywhere. Nowhere. There's nowhere to go. Once again, why? You said it, the rent is too damn high."

And on the question of marriage: "The Rent Is Too Damn High Party feel if you want to marry a shoe, I'll marry you."

Watch clips of the performance below:


Presented by

Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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