Listen to this article here
National media is focused on the expected duel between twice-impeached former President Donald Trump and anti-woke Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for the 2024 Republican Presidential Nomination. Yet South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott has been making quiet signs that he plans to throw his hat in the ring, too.
It’s a decision he shouldn’t expect the majority of Black Americans to support.
Recently, Sen. Scott, whose gentle-natured persona masks his detrimental voting decisions, scheduled a series of visits to voters in Iowa and New Hampshire in April, ahead of a high-profile retreat in Charleston on April 14 and 15, according to Politico.
Visiting early Republican primary states represents a sure sign that he’s interested in becoming a presidential candidate. Meanwhile, supporters like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham have pitched Scott as a viable running mate for Trump.
Regardless, does Sen. Tim Scott really believe Black Americans will forget he single-handedly killed the George Floyd Justice in Policing bill?
Tim Scott refused to budge on qualified immunity
The public, police lynching of Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers in the summer of 2020 sparked the largest and most diverse mass uprising in American history. Yet, what followed was a bitter disappointment.
The first major civil rights legislation since the 1960s, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would’ve responded to the national call for transformation in a country where police kill over 1,000 people per year, according to Mapping Police Violence.
Despite the never-ending gridlock in Congress, the bill actually had a chance to pass. That is until Tim Scott decided to revoke his support over qualified immunity.
If passed, the bill would:
- Establish a nationwide database of police misconduct.
- Create nationwide standards for police use of force.
- Ban the use of chokeholds.
- Make it easier for prosecutors to indict officers for excessive force.
- Ban the use of qualified immunity, which frees individual officers from facing any personal financial liability for misconduct and abuse, passing the cost onto the city’s taxpayers.
The bipartisan group of Black federal lawmakers, then-Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA), Sen. Corey Booker (D-NJ) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), failed to come to an agreement. Even the National Fraternal Order of Police supported the bill, yet that wasn’t enough to convince Scott to give ground on qualified immunity.
Black America creates a new hashtag for martyrs of police violence on a weekly basis. Yet Scott made it clear that proximity to power means more to him than a society free of state violence.
Only 11 Black Senators in U.S. history
Being a Black Republican is not a crime, and it doesn’t automatically disqualify Scott from being a member of the community. But his decisions do.
By reneging on a promise to achieve true police reform, Tim Scott wields the power of his office not to dismantle white supremacy, but to appease it. By allowing his GOP colleagues to use his face to deflect from their bigotry, Scott isn’t confronting systemic racism, he’s caping for it.
When one considers how few Black Senators have existed throughout U.S. history, Tim Scott’s dereliction of duty to Black Americans becomes more disgusting.
Since the end of the Civil War, only 11 Black Americans have been elected to the U.S. Senate. Seven of them were elected since 2005, with the rise of Barack Obama. Currently, with Kamala Harris as vice president, only three U.S. Senators of African descent remain: Democrats Corey Booker in New Jersey and Raphael Warnock in Georgia, along with South Carolina Senator Tim Scott.
According to the U.S. Senate website, a total of 2002 people have served as senators since 1789. Only 0.5% of them have been Black. That makes every decision made by a Black senator that much more crucial.
Ultimately, Sen. Tim Scott is free to reach for the highest office at the expense of the country’s most marginalized citizens, but he should do it without expecting the support of Black Americans. Let him organize his own cookout.