The below is a living repository of grift. The list is by no means exhaustive. Comment with any suggestions.
If you’re new to the political scene, the cast of characters dominating conversations can be overwhelming, confusing, and even dubious, with hucksters around every corner lurking to con you out of your time, resources, and money. Around here, we call these folks grifters, but how can you tell who’s who?
Maybe you're a former Bernie supporter who finally realized Venezuela and Cuba are not modern-day utopias. Or perhaps the feces-and-needle-ridden streets by your San Francisco tech firm’s office make you yearn for your red hometown to which you swore you’d never return. Whatever your background, the veil on the standard fare of today’s talking heads has been decisively pulled away.
Come in—the water’s fine. But, as we embark on this tour of the political landscape, I preface with this: not everyone who lines up with these categories is a grifter. The term itself is thrown around without much thought and, at its worst, becomes a form of purity testing that only weakens genuine critique of the status quo. And, to a degree, there comes a point when the term “grifter” just becomes synonymous with “person I don't like, succeeding by doing things I also don't like.”
Take the following with a grain of salt and a healthy dose of levity.
1. RACE HUSTLERS
Let's start with an easy one. Race hustlers are primarily the domain of the Left. They are empowered by believing (or pretending) they are on the same level as 1960s civil rights activists and actively try to position themselves as such. A fine example is Ibram X. Kendi, who writes books about the supposed modern-day oppression of black people while charging $20,000+ for hour-long virtual speaking engagements, whether at the University of Michigan, Fairfax County Public Schools, or the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education.
Using the media as a megaphone to prop up their fabricated, perpetual race struggle is the Race Hustler’s ultimate superpower. Journalist Joy Reid recently compared Florida Governor Ron De Santis to a 1960s segregationist sheriff for warning potential criminals against looting homes in the wake of Hurricane Ian, since Florida is a “Second Amendment state.” When their demand for racism is lacking, these grifters will simply manufacture it for ratings and clicks.
If Al Sharpton is the father of racial grift, its reigning champion is racial justice warrior Shaun King, who has spent years plugging fundraisers for failed projects. One such grift comes in the form of the Real Justice PAC and Grassroots Law PAC, both founded by King to elect progressive prosecutors. These groups have spent at least $524,778 on legal fees to defend King and the Real Justice PAC against a libel lawsuit launched by Carlos Vega, who accused King of making “false statements” about his career and derailing his DA election bid, the New York Post reported. The sum is more than 30 percent of the $1.7 million the PACs raised in 2021 and 2022.
The project follows a series of failures, such as his 2011 fundraiser to climb seven mountains on seven continents (including Everest) which he gave up after four days of training; a so-called “Life Goals University”; and a bounty fund to apparently “track, locate, and arrest the white supremacists and Neo-Nazis.”
2. NEVER-TRUMP CONSERVATIVES
Never Trump Conservatives, as you may have guessed, suffer from long Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS). Though the man is the only thing keeping them relevant as very civil and polite conservatives — as opposed to the ravenous basket of Deplorables that populate very scary rural white America — this group exists to gatekeep conservatives out of any meaningful populist impact.
One such poster boy is writer Tom Nichols, who yearns for the good ol’ days of regime-change neoconservatism. His greatest fear is the MAGA movement, which he described as composed of dangerous “anti-American nihilists,” published, of course, in The Atlantic. These types deride and gaslight political expressions of blue-collar political grievance (e.g., MAGA), berating conservatives to “do better.”
No mention of Never Trump grift would be complete without the Lincoln Project, a super PAC that bills itself as the speartip of the “Resistance,” which took in millions from heirs and founders of big names like Hyatt, Cargill, DreamWorks, and Walmart. This culminated in the organization’s implosion in 2021 after more than 20 young men, including a 14-year-old boy, accused co-founder John Weaver of sexual harassment.
On top of that, only $27 million of the $90 million they raised went to political ads, raising critical questions of financial mismanagement, with paper trails that show tens of millions split among firms headed by the Project’s founders. Since their near demise, their former CEO (who remains as a senior adviser) Fred Wellman founded a new grift, The Beer Hall Project, an advocacy group that solicits donations based on the premise that Jan. 6th was on par with Hitler’s rise to power.
For their service to the empire, Never Trumpers get plum columnist gigs, comped tables at the Democratic National Convention, a lifetime subscription to The Bulwark, and vouchers for gender reassignment surgery.
3. BOTH SIDERS/FENCE SITTERS
Fence sitters come from both ends of the political spectrum. Their grift is simple: both the Democrats and Republicans are bad and irredeemable beyond repair, so the answer is: vote for us; join our movement; donate to us; or picket for third party candidates. Slightly more advanced than the Never Trumpers, Fence Sitters honestly believe they'll reverse the historical trend of single-digit third-party election results and turn out a populist wave of people set on overcoming the “divisive nature of modern politics.”
In short, they'd rather lose on their own terms than have a real shot at winning, which would be kind of admirable if not for it being a dead-end strategy. The biggest resource that these types extract is hope: Hope that the “duopoly” can be abolished in favor of the perceived utopia of European election slates. While they orient themselves toward a decades-long trajectory to move forward an inch, the rabid encroachment of the globalist agenda will likely further emaciate viable, genuine national resistance. But hey, at least we stuck to our guns to rise above partisan politics.
Leaning left, this looks like Andrew Yang and his newly formed “Forward Party”, which brings together Never Trumpers and political C-listers to feign an alternative to the Democrats. Leaning right, it’s hands-off libertarians who think their morally superior rejection of state power will simply wake up the authoritarian Left and stop them from overtly censoring free speech, queering education for kindergarteners, and actively fighting to keep in place universities’ ability to discriminate based on race for admissions, courtesy of the ACLU. Because nothing says “civil liberties” like choosing who gets access to higher education based on skin color.
4. MASCULINITY GURUS
If you've ever gotten random Twitter notifications saying "10 minutes left," "5 minutes left," "2 minutes left!"... chances are it's a masculinity guru selling his latest e-book or offering coaching services to “level up your life” via automated Twitter management tools.
Some of these guys actually have great things to say, but much of it just amounts to “man up and do the thing.” This type of grifter might not be so bad if there weren’t hundreds of them all trying to cash in on the rising tide of dissident masculine thought. And, considering they’re routinely mocked and disempowered by the mainstream, it’s no wonder disaffected young men gravitate toward any dude who has a reasonable amount of gruff, a proper beard, and discusses the finer aspects of grip strength.
The breed is best exemplified by Andrew Tate. Though he makes some valid points, they’re overshadowed by his grifting escapades– including bilking millions of dollars out of desperate men by hiring models to extract tips from the virtual suitors with fake sob stories. And, while his $50-a-month Hustler’s University seems to benefit some, the benefits for Tate likely outweigh those of the demoralized hustler hopefuls (this is especially illustrated by the program’s heavy leveraging of affiliate links).
YouTubers Fresh and Fit pose as High Value Men who sleep with thousands of women, selling courses on how to get rich and how to pick up women. But Myron Gaines, a.k.a. Fit, was found to have his own profile on sugar baby site Seeking Arrangements. (This, from a man who constantly stresses to never pay for sex.) Not to mention, he was found to have messaged fitness influencer Anna Quinn insisting he’d only collaborate with her in exchange for sex, according to publicized screenshots.
These hustlers will lament the decline of the traditional woman while working overtime to breed a class of dysfunctional men who endlessly chase tail to achieve some midwit benchmark of success. The best grift, after all, is one that makes new marks with each product or service sold.
5. BASED RED PILL GIRLS
For a long time, the Red Pill and “trad chad” arenas were dominated by men – including the aforementioned masculinity gurus. But, as the New Right comes into vogue, more women have joined the fray. They are still a rare breed in the space, not unlike women in the gaming scene. And, since they're women, they’ll naturally attract attention from the digital hoards of men hidden behind Greco-Roman avatars.
A living embodiment of this type is Shannen Michaela, a social media figure who has gained notoriety for her rants denouncing feminism as a scam, as well as her “acrobatic archery” involving shooting a bow and arrow with her feet while in a handstand. Though she positions herself as traditionally feminine, she certainly isn’t afraid to use her body to get her message across. However, it’s hard to critique this as an exclusively female phenomenon when New Right aesthetes idolize the Greek God physique and obsess over vascularity and getting “swole af.”
Michaela represents an emerging coalition of women who are cleaning out their cabinets of seed oils, experimenting with carnivore diets, and denouncing what they see as Leftist attacks on traditional gender roles. They work out religiously... and they make sure to gratuitously post about it, flaunting lean bodies, frilly dresses, and clear skin that blue-haired banshee activists can only dream of. Hmm... on second thought, maybe this category isn't so bad.
6. SOCIALISTS & COMMUNISTS
This may be the OG of political grifting, going strong since the 19th Century. This is perhaps the worst grift of all because its ideology is so completely antithetical to the spoils of grifting, yet its modern-day adherents profit handsomely in the form of outright wealth, social status, and power. From BLM leaders buying multi-million dollar houses to Hasan Piker’s overpriced place in West Hollywood, it certainly pays to be a socialist these days. When they say they want to redistribute wealth, what they really mean is: from your pocket into theirs.
Politically, modern “democratic socialist” acolytes like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez succeeded Bernie Sanders, directing the smoldering populist energy leftover from Occupy Wall Street into the Democratic machine. It’s unclear if AOC really drinks the socialist Kool-Aid. Nevertheless, she’s a hustler through and through, selling the same tired DNC talking points dressed up with melodramatic flair tailored for gullible Millennials and Gen Z’ers.
7. OPEN BORDERS
The open borders grift may just be one of the most lucrative, maybe even more so than the socialist grift. The entire apparatus of the US government, intentionally or not, now funnels taxpayer dollars to cheapen the cost of labor and use migrants as political pawns. An excellent grift, sponsored by too many people to name. They play on Americans’ seemingly endless well of empathy for everyone but actual citizens to hustle the rest of us into believing we are doing the compassionate thing.
Up until now, the open borders grift has paid off enormously, with red states having to deal with the mess, but it seems GOP governors are now forcing blue “sanctuary” cities and states to make good on their promise to embrace our new fellow “undocumented” Americans. Recently, the residents of Martha’s Vineyard actually did so — for about 48 hours — before dismissing their new arrivals via National Guard. But don’t worry, Vineyard residents offer thoughts, prayers, and “visioning” for the migrants.
At the heart of the open borders grift is passing the buck: “Someone else will handle the problems I cause.”
THE GRIFT NEVER ENDS
The climate of political dissatisfaction has opened the floodgates for new operatives of all stripes, which unfortunately includes those looking to rake in quick bucks, extra click-throughs, and more followers — on your dime. It wouldn’t be a societal breakdown if there weren’t money to be made from it.
However, general awareness of the common grifter can provide an ounce of prevention before you find yourself buying New Right starter kits filled with raw beef liver, poorly formatted PDFs with rehashed drop-shipping guides, and one-on-one video calls with gurus who would make you turn tricks for their own gain if they could.
So, be sure to like, comment, subscribe, bookmark, share, follow, and donate.