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Friday, October 28, 2016

By Jamie Self, The State (Colombia, South Carolina)

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Strom Thurmond’s 1964 switch to the Republican Party helped make the GOP in vogue in South Carolina, prompting white conservatives to flock to the Grand Old Party. Now, Senator Tim Scott, the state’s first African-American senator, could help expand the party again, attracting minority voters, some conservatives say.

Scott was appointed to the Senate in December 2012, when Senator Jim DeMint resigned to run the Heritage Foundation. Scott now faces his first statewide race, a November special election to fill the balance of DeMint’s unexpired term.

While Lindsey Graham, South Carolina’s other Republican senator, is besieged by GOP primary opponents, Scott faces no Republican challenge in June. However, two Democrats have launched campaigns for Scott’s seat: Rick Wade, a former South Carolina Cabinet director, U.S. Commerce Department official and adviser to Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns; and Richland County Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson.

If Scott wins the November contest and then again in 2016, he would become a “national symbol for conservative values in the black community, and he will begin to force a re-alignment” of African-American voters with the GOP, said Clemson University professor Dave Woodard, a Republican consultant.

Scott’s successes would make it easier for African-Americans who do not agree with the Democratic Party’s positions on social issues — including abortion and gay marriage — to shift to the GOP, Woodard said.

State Senate President Pro Tempore John Courson (R-Richland), said Scott’s continued presence as one of 100 U.S. senators would give him “automatic credibility” and help the GOP appeal to minorities in the state and nationally.

But not everyone thinks a Scott win would result in an exodus of African-Americans to the Republican Party.

Thurmond’s transformation of the Southern GOP was “pretty dramatic,” said Scott Buchanan, a Citadel political scientist. “But I don’t see the same thing [happening] with Scott.”

That’s because even while many African-Americans already agree with the GOP on some social issues, they still do not vote Republican. “It hasn’t made any difference yet,” Buchanan said.

In a move meant to define himself, political observers say, Scott is trying to appeal to African-Americans by making education and access to jobs, traditionally Democratic issues, his issues.

Last month, Scott introduced his first two Senate bills, calling them his “Opportunity Agenda.” They are conservative proposals that should appeal to families stuck in struggling schools and economically depressed communities, Scott said.

Before introducing the bills, Scott said, he spent time during a congressional break riding a city bus, working at a restaurant “learning how to sweep floors again and cut chicken,” and talking to employees about what they need.

But, critics note, while Scott was introducing his “opportunity” legislation, he also was voting against other proposals intended to help the vulnerable, including extended jobless benefits, a bipartisan budget bill and a farm bill with money for food assistance programs that help poor families.

“The rhetoric doesn’t fit his actions,” said South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Jaime Harrison, also an African-American. “You can’t go out and say, ‘I’m going to see how it feels to be a single mom,’ and then vote against the programs that help them.”

Some of the criticism of Scott has been more fierce.

At a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event in Columbia last month, the Rev. William Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP, said of Scott: “A ventriloquist can always find a good dummy.”

“The extreme right wing down here (in South Carolina) finds a black guy to be senator and claims he’s the first black senator since Reconstruction and then he goes to Washington, D.C., and [he] articulates the agenda of the tea party, ” Barber said.

  • terry b

    The GOP hates women’s rights, minorities of all kinds and gays. Why? Because all of these people have a propensity to vote for democratic candidates. The GOP used to be a decent party until the right wing lunatics started to infect their thinking that drives intelligent people away from the party.

    • STMBT

      Here we go again, another minority that thinks that just because he is BLACK they (republicans) will get the black vote? they better think again, this guy is just another token black that the republicans has convinced that he is just as good as them. and he is too stupid to realize that he is being used!! BUT the black communityis not that stupid.

      • terry b

        Nice post. I like seeing someone who tells it like it is, just like me. Keep up the good work.

      • They seek to sell a pig in a poke by making promising through the mouth of a black face. Here’s where the plan falls apart. They don’t have any history supporting anything they’ve promised. They don’t even have history of promises made to their republican base, beyond keeping it white.

        Black folk know better based on the history of enslavers. Their words mean nothing, watch we they do and what they deliver. To many times of trusting and taking words from people without character or integrity or the ability to feel shame or embarrassment when confronted with the promises they broke. Telling the victims you got what you deserve.

    • jointerjohn

      Acknowledging the full and equal rights of women, gays and minorities would be to admit that it is no longer 1955, and that is their big problem. The Republican core longs for an outdated America where white males could succeed on mediocrity. A time when they didn’t have to compete with smart minorities and women for jobs or promotions. Many women remain republicans because they also want that fantasy world to return, where they can be Donna Reed rather than fully engaged adults.

      • terry b

        Wow!! You are good. I couldn’t have done any better than what you have put out here. I’m impressed and very glad to see that there are the occasional intelligent person(s) out here.

  • Rene Isaac-martin

    REALLY? Good luck with that. This is precisely the foolishness I’m talking about — Tim Scott (SC) Republican, running for election in that state is just another Black man who believes he has arrived and can take DEMOCRATIC voters along with him, so you all be ware. Get educated and learn the strategies they are using to sway those who don’t know better!

    • In a way I don’t blame them for believing the democratic base voted for Barack solely because he’s black and therefore like them. They base it on knowing the republican base won’t ever vote for a black person because he doesn’t look like them. What’s extremely offensive is a black politician believing the same and knowing better.

      You could hand out rebate checks on a silver platter to Black folk and still not make them vote for a black republican.The republicans want to further enslave blacks, co-opt their votes, and never ever allow them a voice or decide on policy. The republicans are really quite confused by blacks as to why they havent’ been able to make any traction with them. They look at Blacks and believe they’re uneducated, slow thinking, easily manipulated and still they are not falling for the bullshit the republicans are selling. It’s pissing the republicans off. Eventually they are going to admit to themselves Black people are interested in policy and issues and not a handout.

  • Jimmy Agler

    Someone ask the GOP how well that worked with Ken Blackwell here in Ohio. He is trying to attract black voters because he knows too many white GOP voters in SC won’t vote for him so he is doing this out of self preservation.

  • solver04

    I live in the the coastal part of SC, where Scott speaks; Gibberish, nonsense, TEA party BS, and general misrepresentation and misinterpretation of the Constitution. Example : I sent him the Dem. party “blanket” letter in regard to the ENDA vote. He sent back (a month later) a letter stating that the First Amendment, states that it is the RIGHT of an employer to not hire or keep in employ; an employee that does not have the same beliefs. Yea, that’s what I said. If the African American community (or anyone) feels the need to trust and believe this imbecile; This country has bigger issues than we thought. Then again, this is the same territory and district that RE-elected Mark Sanford to Congress. Scary.

    • Kurt CPI

      Sorry to inform you that in many states it absolutely IS any employer’s right to keep or dismiss any employee for any reason or, in fact, for no reason. That is the case in Washington state where I live and a short web search concludes that it is so in South Carolina (reference: If indeed he used the First Amendment as basis for that view (which I would have to see to believe), that’s a stretch. But it is the legislative right of an employer in that state to hire and fire “at will”. In a previous discussion forum I pointed out that any reason other than “at will” is seldom used by employers – even when dismissing a worker for cause, i.e. they were caught stealing or willfully violating policy, because the dismissed employee can mount a challenge to an accusation. There is no challenge possible (or at least the burden of proving unjust cause for dismissal is formidable) when no reason is given.

      • Bill

        Its called right to work, some people call it right to work you to death, but what it really is the employer has all the rights, the worker has none.

        • Kurt CPI

          “Right to work” and “Employment at will” are completely different things. Washington State is an “At Will” State, but is NOT a “Right to work” State. Our minimum wage is significantly higher than the federal minimum. “At will” doesn’t excuse an employer from discriminating on the basis of protected worker rights. It simply means they can hire people based on personal judgment rather than cookie-cutter guidelines. There’s no way to quantify “the guy gave me the creeps”, but it absolutely is a business owner’s right to choose someone who doesn’t give them the creeps over someone who does (both IMHO and according to state law). Employers aren’t any more likely to let people go for no reason in an “at will” state than one that requires the employer to provide cause for termination. Anyway, solver04 clearly believes he or she has a right to work (or a right to a guaranteed job as the case may be) as long as it’s exclusively an employee’s right. I was just pointing out that Scott’s assertion was based on SC law, not his personal interpretation of employers’ rights. For the record, I’m an employee, not an employer. And I support “at will” employment as do the vast majority of us in Washington – one of the bluest of blue states. So it’s not just a Republican thing.

          • Bill

            I’m saying in a right to work state a employer can fire a employee for any reason or no reason at all, I don’t presume to tell an employer who they can hire, I’m just saying the employer has all the rights and the employee has none.

  • ExRadioGuy15

    I wonder when all people in the GOP who are not rich, old white Conservative men will realize that those rich, old, white Conservative men consider those unlike them to be “Useful Idiots”?
    That statement is not really coming from me…it came from Karl Rove, who said it on Fox “News” one night. So, if you’re a GOP Progressive, Moderate, Libertarian, Tea Partier, woman or minority, congratulations! Your party’s leadership considers you a “Useful Idiot”.
    I’m a Non-Affiliated voter and I last belonged to a political party in 1990. But, I can tell you one thing, for sure: I would never be a member of a political party that considers me to be a “Useful Idiot”…why would anybody?

  • John

    Other than racism, why did the writer feel the need to mention that the SC Democratic Party Chairman is “also an African-American”?

  • The answer is NO…a BIG FAT RESOUNDING NO. No clear thinking black person would get behind this autobot, simply because the republican leadership believes they will behind a black face; any black face. Idiots. That’s how the republican base rolls, not Black folk. If this were the case Black folk would not have sought to vote in any election; seeing how there weren’t any black faces to select from.