The Gangsta Rap Campaign Attack

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Competing in a three-way Republican primary, Tennessee congressional hopeful George Flinn has become the subject of an unlikely campaign to portray him as a gangsta rap overlord.

The latest campaign attack in Tennessee’s 8th district has assailed Flinn for owning a Memphis radio station, Hot 107.1 FM, which bills itself as broadcasting “Non-Stop Hip-Hop,” Politico‘s Alex Isenstadt reports. Behind the offensive is the brother of Ronald Kirkland, one of Flinn’s primary opponents, who’s spent nearly $1 million on ad expenditures in the campaign. “A TV ad hammers Flinn for broadcasting music that ‘promotes gang violence, drug abuse, and insults women,’ while a companion mailer accuses him of bringing ‘filthy gangster rap into our district,'” writes Isenstadt.

Commercial hip-hop has become so mainstream and anodyne that it’s hard to see the attempt to paint Flinn as the next Suge Knight gaining much traction, even in a GOP Tennessee primary. In a neighboring district, in fact, another House candidate made a memorable attempt to use his hip-hop cred to his advantage. Behold Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), who broke it down for supporters in the majority-black 9th district:

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate