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What If 'Hamilton' Was About Donald Trump Rap Battling The Ghost Of Ronald Reagan

By Kristy Puchko | Politics | July 31, 2020 |

By Kristy Puchko | Politics | July 31, 2020 |


It was inevitable. With Hamilton riding a fresh wave of popularity following the Tony-winning stage show’s release on Disney+, it was only a matter of time before someone used the rap battle formula to rewrite history to influence the 2020 presidential election. Enter Jerry Media of F*ck Jerry/Fyre Fest infamy. They are rolling out a series of “rap cartoons” aimed at lampooning Donald Trump. That might sound like a good thing, but the first entry makes some real choices when it comes to cherry-picking the legacy of Ronald Reagan.

“Reagan vs. Trump Debate” imagines a seance scenario in which Republicans including Mitch McConnell, Susan Collins, Lindsay Graham, Rudy Giuliani, and Mike Pence, raise the ghost of former president Ronald Reagan to get him to weigh in on the grave situations the GOP face. Naturally, all of these white politicians rap, and with a clunkiness that makes the concept even more cringe-worthy. Worse yet, the vid is set solely in the GOP perspective, allowing that maybe Trump isn’t perfect, but hey Reagan pretty much was, right?

Seemingly aimed at conservatives, this vid rushes past Reagan’s heinous avoidance of confronting the AIDS crisis, which like Trump’s pandemic denials led to the deaths of many, many Americans. The LGBTQA+ community hasn’t forgotten Reagan’s deadly homophobia. Yet all the rap battle offers is a single word in rebuke: “AIDS.” Yet that’s more direct attention than the Iran-Contra Affair gets, along with a slew of other Reagan administration scandals, including the lobbying scandal that led to a conviction of Reagan’s Press Secretary Lyn Nofziger.

The video idealizes Reagan as “The Great One,” then the dead president urges the audience to Vote. For who? For what? What is the message Jerry Media’s Meme 2020 campaign thinks they’re sending?

THR spoke with Beau Lewis, whose company, Rhyme Combinator, worked with Jerry Media to conceive and produce the above short.

Inspired by South Park, this group is hoping to get 2016 Trump voters to consider a different path in 2020. Lewis believes firmly these videos will be more impactful than traditional attack ads, which he says spark ire more often than consideration. “These rap cartoons can lower the viewers’ immune response so they are open to receiving information,” He explained. “That’s a long-winded way of saying we took a surprisingly scientific approach to arrive at light-hearted content.” (Emphasis ours because can you f*cking believe this guy?)

This seems to translate to “White people voted for Trump. White people love Hamilton and South Park, so ripping off both might change the hearts of white people who are not moved by immigrant children held in cages, rampant police brutality against Black people, the violence enacted against Black Lives Matter protesters and the press by police and Trump’s secret police, the assault on LGBTQA+ rights, the Islamaphobic travel bans, and the 155,000+ COVID deaths.”

Ugh. Sounds about white.

Kristy Puchko is the film editor of Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter.

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