Editor’s Note: Clay Cane is a Sirius XM radio host and the author of “Live Through This: Surviving the Intersections of Sexuality, God, and Race.” Follow him on Twitter @claycane. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his. View more opinion articles on CNN.
Scherie Murray is the most recent black Republican getting heavy rotation on conservative media outlets. Not because of policies or any political experience. She is a black Donald Trump supporter, which is the latest stunt to become famous in politics or social media.
Last week, Murray announced she would challenge Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York’s 14th district, calling the freshmen congressional representative’s politics “toxic” and claiming that she is just “worried about being famous.”
However, just a year ago, Murray was praising AOC, writing on Twitter, “Congratulations Alexandria. #Queens is headed in a new direction and It’s time for new leadership. #Yes.”
AOC has only been in office six months and was clear about her vision before her opponent congratulated her. Murray has a history of being a Democrat who reportedly switched to being a Republican a decade ago; however, she admittedly voted for Barack Obama twice. Challenging AOC as a Democrat would not have gotten her the press she appears to crave.
Shouldn’t that time be spent talking to her constituents, who are predominantly Democrat and obviously not Fox News watchers? Most bizarre, the Jamaican-born immigrant does not even live in the district she wants to represent; she resides in Laurelton, Queens. However, her Twitter followers have skyrocketed and, I predict, so have her donations.
So what changed? The same thing that may have changed Candace Owens, Omarosa Manigault Newman, or countless others. The access to political fame is much quicker when you are in a black body condoning, advocating, and providing talking points to support blatant racism, and appalling policies that target black and brown communities.
Omarosa Manigault Newman is certainly a trailblazer in the field of opportunist Trump worshippers. After she disappeared from media, she saw an opportunity and campaigned for Trump. She claimed she knew he used the N-word before the 2016 election but that didn’t stop her. Trump has denied that he used the N-word.
The reality star, who once worked in – and was fired from – Bill Clinton’s administration, gleefully wore the “Make America Great Again” hat and told the country to “bow down” to Trump. Only after she was fired from Trump’s White House did she claim to see the racist light and went on a failed apology tour. By the way, what happened to the damning Trump recording she promised would drop before the 2018 midterms? Anything to sell a product, just as Trump taught her, and her book was a New York Times bestseller.
Then there is Candace Owens, Omarosa 2.0. The 30-year-old was the CEO of a website, called Degree180, which frequently had anti-Trump posts. When the site shut down in 2016, no one knew her name until she “came out” as a conservative on YouTube a few months later. Her videos quickly went viral and soon she was tap-dancing on Fox News.
Owens now calls the NAACP “one of the worst groups for Black people,” when the organization helped her win a $37,500 settlement over racial discrimination. Connecticut NAACP president Scot X. Esdaile, who helped with the case, told Mic in April of 2018, “We’re very saddened and disappointed in her. It seems to me that she’s now trying to play to a different type of demographic.”
Owens, who once said on Fox News that the NRA was founded as a civil rights organization that protected Black people from the KKK, got the airtime she wouldn’t have gotten as a liberal commentator or via her failed doxxing site. She now speaks all over the country and has over 1.5 million followers on Twitter. She also made hateful comments while she was communications director of Turning Point USA, a conservative student activism group. Her most vile moment was when she babbled that she would be okay if Hitler just wanted to “make Germany great .” After comments like these (though she did later try to clarify them), she was still invited by Republicans to speak before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on “Hate Crimes and the Rise of White Nationalism.” Without her convenient conversion, she would still be a struggling personality.
Even MTV’s latest season of “The Real World” is marketing a Black, pansexual Trump supporter, and Refinery 29 predicts “culture clashes.” Considering the Trump administration’s rollback on LGBT protections, we’ll see how sincere the 25-year-old’s support of Trump is.
Contrary to what Kanye West, who says he’s never voted, might want you to believe, black Trump worshippers are not free thinkers. Throughout history, there have always been black folks who betrayed their own but the path to freedom has never been forged by aligning with the oppressor.
Do Republicans know this new flock of Trump worshippers may be frauds? Absolutely. How could they not when the receipts are easily traceable? Nonetheless, a fraud is worth it if they can find a black apologist who will allow Republicans to use the trite excuse of, “See, Trump can’t be racist – look at Ben Carson!”
Black Republicans are in the very fabric of American history. The first African Americans to hold political office were part of the Radical Republican Party in the late 1800s. But this isn’t about policy; it’s about fame and followers, another result of our cult of celebrity.
Owens, Murray, neck-rolling Diamond and Silk, Pastor Darrell Scott and a handful of other Trump supporters’ main talking points have been “get off the Democratic planation” and “welfare policies are destroying black people” – when there are more white people who are helped by federal assistance programs than black people. Their talking points are trite, combative and often times factually incorrect.
These are not the Republicans of Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice or Sen. Tim Scott, with whom I vehemently disagree but whose careers speak to their commitment and intentions – which may be why you never see them associate with the current crop of black Trump followers. Moreover, being a black Republican doesn’t mean you have to be a black Trump supporter.
There is a robust market for the delusional black Trump supporter. It is, as we’ve seen, a shorter line to fame, money, celebrity and power. Scherie Murray is the latest to have sold her soul and she will be welcomed with open arms, regardless of her chances of winning or the fact that she was openly supportive of Obama and Ocasio-Cortez. Ironically, it is comparable to the affirmative action that Trump’s administration has been against.
Trump denies that he is a racist, but the rhetoric and policies – which are supported by white nationalists – are clear. For the black Trump supporters, they are not in the dark. They know exactly who the President is. Yes, black people are not a monolith – but we must all be a monolith against white supremacy and the politicians who fail to speak out against it.