By Eliza Gray
Nearly all accounts of Rep. Tim Scott’s appointment to South Carolina’s vacant Senate seat mention his race. He will be the first African American senator from the South since reconstruction, and the only black Senator in the body. His race has been made all the more prominent because he’s a Republican. “[M]odern black Republicans have been more tokens than signs of progress,” read one op-ed in the New York Times.
The preoccupation with Scott’s race, however, obscures his considerable political talents. For as long as he’s been in politics, Scott has had a knack for navigating the complex internal politics of the GOP. Armed with an ever-present smile, Scott has been able to be all things to all people. He is an insurgent Tea Partier beloved by the House leadership who keeps his constituents happy with the occasional pork project. In a Republican Party that is constantly at war with itself, Senator Scott will offer much more to the GOP than the color of his skin.