It hardly needs to be said that the 2024 Republican presidential nomination is surely Donald Trump’s for the taking, should he step back into the fray. Beyond another Trump term, though, what would scare Democrats the most? There is probably no greater threat to the political left in general and the Democratic Party in today’s America than the prospect of a black man – or woman – running for president of the United States on the Republican ticket. As obsessed as they are with identity politics and with skin color, in particular, leftists have surely always dreaded the day the Republican base nominates a candidate who is not a white man. Given that assumption, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott might just be the Republican Party’s secret weapon.
When it comes to the issue of racism, the American left has always had a rather embarrassing problem. Democrats, progressives, liberals – whatever label they choose for themselves – appear to be unaware of their astounding and painfully obvious inconsistency on the subject, while conservatives, libertarians, and anyone else who places themselves on the opposite side of the ideological spectrum to leftists can see the hypocrisy as clear as day.
An Obvious Duplicity
Ethnic minorities, along with women, are treated by the left as unthinking monolithic blocks of humanity that can be molded and manipulated by shallow rhetoric into voting how progressives want them to vote. That leftists have any genuine concern for the health, prosperity, or access to opportunity of any member of an ethnic minority is just not borne out by historical events or Democratic Party policies.
Sen. Scott may or may not be thinking about running for president, but were he to do so, and win his party’s nomination, leftists would find themselves struggling publicly with a terrible dilemma. It is one thing to castigate and racially abuse black conservatives in the media or on Twitter for daring to think for themselves while pretending to abhor racism and intolerance; it is quite another to practice that kind of blatant duplicity if one is dealing with a presidential candidate.
The Obama Factor
When Democrats chose Barack Obama as their candidate in 2008, they could hardly contain their glee at the prospect of being able to defend him from any and all criticism by playing the race card. Indeed, more than a few people continue to believe that this was the primary reason Democrat voters chose Obama over Hillary Clinton. While still a powerful weapon, the gender card would not have worked so well when it came to Clinton, who was, it must be said, not a likable character. Obama, though, never came across as unlikeable, but he did come across as black – despite having a white mother. Certainly, he was black enough to allow his supporters to label as racist anyone who spoke against him.
The mere prospect of a presidential run by the South Carolina Republican senator, whose star appears to be rising, is likely to be causing much anxiety within the ranks of the Democratic Party. Little wonder then that Scott has been continually bombarded with abuse – some of it very racist in nature – since he has become known as a force to be reckoned with.
Have They Gone Too Far?
Perhaps already, Democrats are realizing that going toe to toe with Scott on anything other than specific policy issues is a losing strategy. During his delivery of the GOP’s response to Joe Biden’s recent congressional address, the senator said very clearly that America is not a racist country. In fact, those were his exact words. While left-wing pundits took issue with the statement, Kamala Harris – perhaps demonstrating a little political savvy – waved the white flag during an interview with ABC News. “First of all, no, I don’t think America is a racist country,” she said before going on to tiptoe around the issue with a vague reference to the history of racism in America.
Harris may have perhaps realized, even just for a fleeting moment, that the left’s “everything is racist” narrative has been in the oven just a little too long and is now beginning to smell.
Perhaps it took a black Republican congressman, on primetime TV, dismantling the Democrats’ racially divisive rhetoric to make at least some members of that party realize that they may have taken this strategy as far as it will carry them. Whether Tim Scott deserves to one day sit behind the Resolute Desk is something for the American people to decide. Hopefully, though, he has at least shamed the left into toning down its race-baiting – as unlikely as that may be. Should he ever run for president, he will succeed or fail based on his character and his political platform rather than his pigmentation.
Read more from Graham J. Noble.