Reviews for The Grift

by Clay Cane

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A take-no-prisoners attack on the small but vocal community of Black Trump supporters and their ideological forebears. “All my skin folk ain’t my kinfolk,” writes Cane, borrowing a line from Zora Neale Hurston. Where emancipation was wrought by Republicans, real advances afterward were effected by people such as Frederick Douglass, “who disrupted the GOP to achieve important victories for Black citizens.” Ever since the Reagan years, the GOP has increasingly become a fortress of white supremacy, and those Black Americans who have supported it, from Mia Love to Tim Scott, are, in Cane’s term, “grifters.” A classic tactic among them is to claim that racism does not exist, then to accuse their political opponents of being racist. A case in point was the “shape-shifter” Republican representative Love, who “would succeed if she moved in a way that supported her white Republican voters’ racist assumptions—but once the racism turned on her and she spoke out, Love would lose her base.” True enough, and Love is now out of office, outflanked on the right. Another classic case is South Carolina senator and now presidential candidate Scott, who earned a mere 8% of the Black vote in his home state in 2016—which, Cane adds, is beside the point, given that “Scott is the mouthpiece to make white conservatives feel good about their anti-Black policies.” Cane singles out a handful of exceptions, such as former Texas representative Will Hurd, a former CIA agent and “throwback Republican” who represented a heavily Hispanic district. By the author’s account, however, most of the players in his book are a rogues’ gallery of crooks, among them Clarence Thomas, Ben Carson, and Omarosa Manigault Newman. A full-bore assault on Black politicos who buy the GOP line and are thus tolerated, “but only if they know their place.” Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.