Getting Smarter on Race

Getting Smarter on Race

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Edgefield Advertiser.

By: Robert Scott

One of our two U. S. Senators is Sen. Tim Scott, a Republican from Charleston. Appointed to his Senate seat by Gov. Nikki Haley in 2013 when Sen. Jim DeMint resigned, Sen. Scott was elected in 2014 to fill out the balance of DeMint’s term. In doing so, he became the first African-American from South Carolina ever elected to the United States Senate.

The 2016 election, of course, was the election year that Donald Trump won the majority of electoral votes despite having lost the official popular vote count by just under 3,000,000 votes. The election returned a Republican majority to both houses of Congress, including Sen. Scott’s winning a full six-year term. This November, the Senate vote was split, with Republicans losing 2 of 9 contested seats (22%), while Democrats lost 4 of 26 seats (15%). In the House, Democrats picked up 40 seats (including Sen. Scott’s old House seat) to regain a majority: 235 of the 435 seats. The popular vote totals for the House reflected a Democratic lead over Republicans by 8.5%, considerably more than the overall Presidential margin two years earlier.

Sen. Scott was not up for reelection in 2018, but made the news nevertheless. During the first two years of the Trump administration, there were 85 judicial appointments made and confirmed by the Senate. Many of these were judges whose records on civil rights were far more conservative than those appointed during the Obama administration. Sen. Scott was aware of this trend but nevertheless voted for his party’s nominees in what were in many cases very close, party-line Senate votes. But shortly after November’s election, Sen. Scott reversed that trend and stated his intention to vote against Thomas Farr, a nominee for a judgeship in the Eastern District of North Carolina. This was only the second time Sen. Scott had taken such an action against Republican nominees, both times citing their support for alleged voter suppression and/or racial profiling. Sen. Scott’s announcement in both cases was enough to ensure those nominations were withdrawn before the confirmation votes.

With Sen. Lindsey Graham so frequently in the news, we in South Carolina can be forgiven for overlooking the growing independence of our junior Senator, Tim Scott. He has clearly shown himself not to be a mere rubber stamp in the Senate for the GOP agenda, and he has demonstrated more than just a personal interest in ensuring equal opportunity and civil rights for minorities in our state and nation. This year’s election results showed that 90% of black voters voted for the Democratic nominee in the House of Representatives, and the new Congress has 33 black members, 31 of whom are Democrats. Of the three African-American Senators, Tim Scott is the only Republican. Certainly Sen. Scott is aware of all of those figures.

How well the 116thCongress represents the viewpoint of all Americans will be one of the interesting political questions of 2019. All members of Congress, including Sen. Tim Scott, are getting smarter on question of race this year!

One of our two U. S. Senators is Sen. Tim Scott, a Republican from Charleston. Appointed to his Senate seat by Gov. Nikki Haley in 2013 when Sen. Jim DeMint resigned, Sen. Scott was elected in 2014 to fill out the balance of DeMint’s term. In doing so, he became the first African-American from South Carolina ever elected to the United States Senate.

The 2016 election, of course, was the election year that Donald Trump won the majority of electoral votes despite having lost the official popular vote count by just under 3,000,000 votes. The election returned a Republican majority to both houses of Congress, including Sen. Scott’s winning a full six-year term. This November, the Senate vote was split, with Republicans losing 2 of 9 contested seats (22%), while Democrats lost 4 of 26 seats (15%). In the House, Democrats picked up 40 seats (including Sen. Scott’s old House seat) to regain a majority: 235 of the 435 seats. The popular vote totals for the House reflected a Democratic lead over Republicans by 8.5%, considerably more than the overall Presidential margin two years earlier.

Sen. Scott was not up for reelection in 2018, but made the news nevertheless. During the first two years of the Trump administration, there were 85 judicial appointments made and confirmed by the Senate. Many of these were judges whose records on civil rights were far more conservative than those appointed during the Obama administration. Sen. Scott was aware of this trend but nevertheless voted for his party’s nominees in what were in many cases very close, party-line Senate votes. But shortly after November’s election, Sen. Scott reversed that trend and stated his intention to vote against Thomas Farr, a nominee for a judgeship in the Eastern District of North Carolina. This was only the second time Sen. Scott had taken such an action against Republican nominees, both times citing their support for alleged voter suppression and/or racial profiling. Sen. Scott’s announcement in both cases was enough to ensure those nominations were withdrawn before the confirmation votes.

With Sen. Lindsey Graham so frequently in the news, we in South Carolina can be forgiven for overlooking the growing independence of our junior Senator, Tim Scott. He has clearly shown himself not to be a mere rubber stamp in the Senate for the GOP agenda, and he has demonstrated more than just a personal interest in ensuring equal opportunity and civil rights for minorities in our state and nation. This year’s election results showed that 90% of black voters voted for the Democratic nominee in the House of Representatives, and the new Congress has 33 black members, 31 of whom are Democrats. Of the three African-American Senators, Tim Scott is the only Republican. Certainly Sen. Scott is aware of all of those figures.

How well the 116thCongress represents the viewpoint of all Americans will be one of the interesting political questions of 2019. All members of Congress, including Sen. Tim Scott, are getting smarter on question of race this year!

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