Jimmy McMillan (Audrey C. Tiernan-Pool/Getty)
Jimmy McMillan (Audrey C. Tiernan-Pool/Getty)

The breakout hit of NY1's gubernatorial debate was not the volatile Republican Carl Paladino or the pedigreed Democrat Andrew Cuomo, but the candidate from the Rent Is Too Damn High Party, Jimmy McMillan.

Throughout the debate, the baroquely-bearded candidate kept hammering his campaign platform home: Rent is too damn high. It was so catchy, even Cuomo agreed. Naturally, many are forwarding the video of his performance around the Internet for laughs. McMillan is in on the joke, telling the New York Observer that he uses humor to get his message out. But when you're done laughing at the self-proclaimed karate expert and musician, consider these facts: New Yorkers on average pay more than $1,000 a month for rent, and more than two-fifths of the nation's renting households spend 35 percent or more of their incomes to keep a roof over their heads.

Granted, it takes far more than a sound-bite-friendly message, a dream and a place on the ballot to govern a state. Yet in this campaign season of witchcraft dabblers, Nazi-uniform wearers and former madams, can we really discount McMillan's message over his sense of style? At least he has his priorities straight.


Sheryl Huggins Salomon is senior editor-at-large of The Root and a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based editorial consultant. Follow her on Twitter.

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