The first time I became aware of Jimmy McMillan, he was sitting in a camping chair outside his compact SUV, parked at the corner of Franklin Avenue and Eastern Parkway in the summer of 2010. He spoke through a bullhorn while a set of speakers played his voice on a loop, saying, “The rent is too damn high. The rent is too damn high.” In front of him was a table draped in signs saying the same, and a petition to do something about the rent. McMillan’s campaign platform is fairly unimpeachable, and that may be why he’s decided to run for governor of New York a second time, fresh off his 2013 mayoral bid.
As founder of the Rent Is 2 Damn High Party (distinguished numerically from the Rent Is Too Damn High Movement), McMillan believes he’s got a shot against incorruptibly corrupt incumbent Andrew Cuomo and Zephyr Teachout, recently endorsed by the New York State chapter of the National Organization for Women and The Nation magazine.
The website for the Rent is 2 Damn High Party sells T-shirts, buttons, and a Jimmy McMillan action figure, which if nothing else will be great vintage memorabilia when McMillan’s 2018 campaign comes along. We have to wonder, though, whether the rent in Albany is as too-damn-high as ours.
Follow John Sherman on Twitter @_john_sherman.