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Tim Scott smashes the black GOP 'bargain' over King

Black Republicans often make an unspoken bargain with their party: Don't talk about race/racism, and when an...

Posted: Jan 13, 2019 7:37 AM
Updated: Jan 13, 2019 7:37 AM

Black Republicans often make an unspoken bargain with their party: Don't talk about race/racism, and when and if you do, make it about Democrats and liberals. Mention Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan, and something about Democrats taking African-American voters for granted.

But never, ever, call out the GOP.

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There is another part of that bargain: If, in fact, there are ever any questions about why there are so few black Republican elected officials, be ready to be part of that small list as a sign of progress.

Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina has embodied this bargain for much of his career. In 2014, shortly after he was elected to the Senate, I wrote about him in a piece for The Washington Post called, "Tim Scott doesn't want to talk about the past when it comes to the GOP and race. He should."

In an interview with Fox News the night after he got elected, he was asked about comments by Rep. Charles Rangel suggesting that Republicans "believe that slavery isn't over and that they won the Civil War."

From the piece:

"Scott called Rangel's comments 'ridiculous.' And he's got a point. Scott then insisted on focusing on 'tomorrow, not on yesterday,' rather than 'harken back to ... 100 years ago, or 70 ago.'

"The lowest common denominator of fear and race-baiting is something that the other party has tried to do, and the voters said 'No.' They rejected it. And that's good news," Scott said, pointing to Indian-American Govs. Nikki Haley (S.C.) and Bobby Jindal (La.) as proof of the progress the party has made in the South.

The last bit was classic Scott. And that classic black Republican bargain -- look at how bad the left is on race and look at the minimal diversity in the GOP.

But Scott has evolved.

He, along with other black Republicans, such as Utah's Mia Love, have had to in the era of Trump.

In a Washington Post op-ed, Scott laments the GOP silence on Iowa Rep. Steve King, who has a history of making racist comments and embracing white supremacist ideology and leaders.

In a New York Times piece that draws a straight line from King's comments on immigration to President Donald Trump's, King made his well-known views really plain, wondering how and why white nationalism and white supremacy became offensive terms.

For Scott, it's personal -- he lost his friend Clementa Pinckney in the massacre that killed nine people at Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston. When Trump suggested a moral equivalency between Nazis and anti-Nazi protesters in Charlottesville, Scott went to the White House at Trump's invitation after criticizing him.

In his op-ed about King, Scott, who is one of two black Republicans in Congress, chastised his party as a whole.

"When people with opinions similar to King's open their mouths, they damage not only the Republican Party and the conservative brand but also our nation as a whole," he wrote in The Washington Post, adding later: "Some in our party wonder why Republicans are constantly accused of racism -- it is because of our silence when things like this are said. Immigration is the perfect example, in which somehow our affection for the rule of law has become conflated with a perceived racism against brown and black people."

Here's what Trump said Friday -- and in essence, what he's said from the day he launched his presidential candidacy -- about the brown people at the southern border: "We have a country that is being invaded by criminals and by drugs, and we're going to stop it."

Scott, of course, has been mostly silent about Trump's fear-mongering rhetoric on migrants. King is a much easier target and, even with his recent comments, isn't worried about much blowback. And now the question for Republicans, some of whom have condemned King's statement via tweet, is what to do about the Iowa congressman.

Censure him, strip him of his power, back a challenger as Jeb Bush suggested?

But that raises a larger and more uncomfortable question for the GOP.

If you censure Steve King, what about Trump?

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 38567

Reported Deaths: 1290
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds318859
DeSoto211220
Madison158940
Jones126651
Harrison126017
Rankin123420
Forrest110544
Neshoba105978
Lauderdale98383
Scott84315
Jackson82820
Washington80615
Copiah69616
Leake66420
Lee66223
Grenada64713
Oktibbeha64428
Lamar6257
Warren61622
Holmes61442
Leflore58856
Wayne58819
Yazoo5847
Lowndes56917
Sunflower5659
Lincoln54436
Pike53724
Lafayette5364
Panola5176
Monroe49139
Simpson4803
Covington4735
Bolivar46318
Tate43113
Pontotoc4066
Attala39424
Adams39221
Newton38410
Marion36312
Pearl River32332
Claiborne32212
Winston31413
Chickasaw31319
Marshall3104
Jasper3016
Walthall29210
Noxubee2869
Clay27411
Union26611
Smith26312
Coahoma2516
Clarke24125
Tallahatchie2394
Lawrence2222
Yalobusha2169
Montgomery1973
Carroll19611
Kemper18914
Calhoun1875
Humphreys18410
Itawamba1638
Hancock16214
Tippah15411
Webster13611
Jefferson1353
Prentiss1344
George1313
Jefferson Davis1304
Tunica1293
Greene12510
Tishomingo1251
Amite1243
Alcorn1232
Quitman1111
Wilkinson1079
Perry994
Stone852
Choctaw794
Franklin602
Benton580
Sharkey540
Issaquena111
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 58225

Reported Deaths: 1183
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson7449176
Mobile5349157
Montgomery4732118
Madison290112
Tuscaloosa283754
Marshall213313
Shelby188027
Lee179337
Baldwin149912
Morgan14897
DeKalb11457
Etowah113614
Walker113537
Elmore111825
Dallas103312
Franklin97016
Unassigned84228
Russell7610
Autauga74318
Limestone7254
Cullman7136
Chambers69932
Houston6848
St. Clair6714
Lauderdale6647
Tallapoosa66272
Butler65931
Calhoun6426
Colbert6138
Escambia56212
Jackson5113
Pike5016
Lowndes49723
Coffee4734
Covington45214
Talladega4517
Dale4283
Barbour4263
Bullock38110
Marengo38111
Hale37523
Chilton3693
Blount3671
Marion35514
Clarke3396
Wilcox3328
Winston3167
Sumter30613
Randolph28610
Monroe2833
Pickens2827
Perry2702
Conecuh2558
Bibb2382
Macon2359
Choctaw22112
Greene2029
Washington1679
Henry1653
Lawrence1590
Crenshaw1433
Cherokee1407
Geneva1100
Lamar961
Clay942
Fayette923
Coosa681
Cleburne621
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