The Corner

Politics & Policy

Leftists Call Tim Scott a ‘Token Republican,’ Ignoring His Central Role in Tax Reform

It often can be remarkably difficult to be a black Republican, and especially one who’s also a public figure. Just ask South Carolina senator Tim Scott, a Republican leader who routinely faces abuse from the left for daring to be both African American and an outspoken conservative politician.

Yesterday afternoon, Scott was attacked by left-wing pundits when pictures of the GOP tax-reform press conference showed Scott standing in the front row, right beside the podium.

“What a shocker . . .  there’s ONE black person there and sure enough they have him standing right next to the mic like a manipulated prop. Way to go @SenatorTimScott,” wrote HuffPost blogger Andy Ostroy.

In his typical polite-yet-pointed way, Scott replied to Ostroy with a tweet of his own:

Willis doubled down shortly afterward, writing that “blacks are tokens within the republican party, objects to thrust in front of the camera to detract from racist policies but with no seat at the table beyond window dressing.”

If he actually cared about the substance of tax reform or the debate over this bill, Willis would know that — far from being a “token” or mere “window dressing” — Scott played a crucial role in drafting the bill that ultimately passed, in the same way that he has played a crucial role in much of GOP policy-making over the last few years, particularly when it comes to economic reform.

Scott also worked successfully to include the heart of his long-time reform initiative — “Investing in Opportunity,” which I wrote about in February for NRO – in the tax-reform bill. This type of proactive, anti-poverty legislation has long been a part of Scott’s legislative approach. The South Carolina senator also founded the Senate Opportunity Coalition last year to address underlying causes of poverty in individual states and target them with specific legislation.

Disagreement over the substance of the GOP tax-reform bill is perfectly acceptable, and many of the critiques directed at the plan surely have been merited. But left-wing zealots eschew substance and expose their poisonous worldview when they choose instead to lash out at a black conservative and use the color of his skin to demean his very real accomplishments. Far from advancing the cause of racial justice, as so many on the left claim to do, they reveal how shallow their belief in equality is when they scorn a man based on his race merely because they disagree with his policy views.

Anyone who has paid any attention to Tim Scott knows that he’s a GOP leader — one worthy of standing in the front row, for a photo or otherwise — not because he’s black, but because of the tremendous value he brings to the party.

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