Movies & TV

WWE's Kane Is Now Mayor of a Tennessee County

America in the year of our Lord 2018.
IMAGE Getty Images/Chris Ryan - Corbis

Knox County, Tennessee, elected Glenn Jacobs as its new mayor last weekend. He is a self-described libertarian, small business owner, a resident of nearly 25 years, and also a seven-foot professional wrestler whose character's family was killed by his half-brother in a funeral home fire that left his face brutally scarred and disfigured. Welcome to 2018.

After scooting by in the Republican primary by 23 votes, Jacobs dominated his Democratic opponent with nearly two-thirds of the vote on Thursday night. At a quick glance, his agenda for mayor of Knox County is reasonably appealing for the nearly-always-red district: keep taxes low, increase transparency, improve roads and infrastructure. Do those words mean anything in particular to the general voter? My guess is probably not as much as the name Kane does.

The news literally hits close to home, because Knox County is where I grew up. I remember hearing stories about how Kane, the WWE wrestler who was said to frequent a gym up the highway from my house, might run for office one day. We always laughed because how crazy would it be for a WWE Hall of Famer to run for office? Now it seems you're fit for office if you can choke slam taxes (or, in Donald Trump's case, get Stone Cold Stunner-ed).

His political and economic theory is outside the norm, previously citing Murray Rothbard as an influence, whose radical ideas about economics are second only to his support of historical revisionism and controversial opposition to civil rights. But those aren't the things that the everyday voter takes time to look into, and a mayoral campaign of Knox County's size isn't big enough to unpack what all of that means. The big point is, if you scream "Shining City Upon a Hill!" enough, and reference a few Hell in a Cell matches, you can become anything you want.


Jacobs has a degree in English and is staunchly opposed to government intervening in the lives of its citizens. I'm not sure that's a strong enough qualification to be mayor, but that's assuming that those qualities were even taken into consideration. America has become so restless and frustrated with career politicians that we look anywhere for a way forward—even inside the WWE ring. It's impossible to know why the people of my hometown elected Kane. My hope is that it's because they want a leader who hopes to strengthen schools and let the economic cycle take its course without government intervention. My assumption is that it "will be cool as hell to have a mayor who can execute a Tombstone Piledriver."

IMAGE: Getty Images/George Pimentel

Time will tell what our country's revamped interest in electing celebrities to office will mean—from Kane to (possibly) Cynthia Nixon to Trump. It's clear that, for better or worse, America is interested in graduating its Sunday Night Smackdown favorites to Monday morning briefings. In a time when it seems like no one is happy with reality, it's very much clear that while the world burns, we'd prefer a good show. Until then, I can only fall back on a Tennessean's favorite defense: at least we're not Florida.

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* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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About The Author
Justin Kirkland
Justin Kirkland is a writer for Esquire, where he focuses on entertainment, television, and pop culture. Prior to Esquire, his work appeared in Entertainment Weekly, Hollywood Reporter, and USA Today. He is from East Tennessee and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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