Critics say Scott remains threat to Black voters after end of presidential campaign

By greatbritton

Though Tim Scott has suspended his 2024 campaign for president, Democratic critics tell theGrio he still poses a threat to Black voters as a remaining U.S. senator and potential vice presidential nominee for the Republican Party.  

“Although he’s not running for president, we’re still stuck with him as our U.S. senator,” Christale Spain, chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party, told theGrio. 

, Critics say Scott remains threat to Black voters after end of presidential campaign
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) speaks during the NBC News Republican Presidential Primary Debate at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County on Nov. 8, 2023, in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Spain said that while she was surprised by the timing of Scott’s announcement, she was not surprised he dropped out of the race. Though America’s most prominent Black Republican fashioned his campaign as one of optimism, the Democratic Party chair said, “There’s nothing optimistic about what he’s fighting for.”

She added, “He’s fighting to ban abortion, cut taxes nationwide for the wealthy, and just leave working families behind.”

Democrats like Jaime Harrison, chair of the Democratic National Committee, ridiculed Scott for his inability to last through the primary cycle in his state of South Carolina. 

However, Markus Batchelor, national political director for the progressive advocacy group People For the American Way, called Scott an “embarrassment” for the role he played in the Republican presidential field “as an apologist for structural racism and institutional oppression.” He went further, calling Scott’s stance on racism “disgusting,” especially since it came from the first Black person elected to a senate seat from South Carolina.

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Republican strategist Shermichael Singleton said it would’ve been more humiliating for Scott to remain in the race and fail to qualify for the next debate. He noted that the senator struggled to make it on the stage for the third debate last week and would’ve likely faced a similar challenge for the fourth on Dec. 6. 

Singleton told theGrio Scott successfully “enhanced his name ID” and “built a more robust email list” of individual and wealthy donors, which will be “important for whatever his future endeavors are.”

He added, “I think it was more of a net gain to him than a net loss.”

Republican voters may not have to say goodbye to Scott this presidential cycle, as his name continues to be floated around for a vice presidential candidacy. Former President Donald Trump remains the overwhelming frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination.

Scott downplayed questions from Fox News after unexpectedly announcing the end of his run for the White House live on-air, saying it’s not on his “to-do list.”

Batchelor said, “I think he’s being disingenuous when he says he’s not interested.” He thinks Scott’s failure to signal any endorsement of the remaining candidates is a “calculation” that Scott “believes Trump is going to be the nominee and that he wants to be on the ticket.” 

, Critics say Scott remains threat to Black voters after end of presidential campaign
U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) during a working session regarding the Opportunity Zones provided by tax reform in the Oval Office of the White House on Feb. 14, 2018, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Scott, who touted during last week’s debate that the Republican Party was “winning back” Black voters, could be an effective running mate for Trump in reaching Black male voters. 

HIT Strategies pollster Terrance Woodbury previously told theGrio that Black men are more than likely the drivers behind a recent New York Times poll that showed 20% of Black voters in six battleground states prefer Trump over President Joe Biden. 

Singleton said he has not seen evidence that Scott would enhance a Trump presidential ticket but said more broadly, “It would help to have someone who sort of understands the uniqueness of the Black male experience.”

Black male voters would start “listening” if the Republican ticket had a “robust rollout” of an economic, educational, and health agenda for Black men, said Singleton, who has worked on three Republican presidential campaigns.

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Spain of the South Carolina Democrats said if Scott were the vice presidential nominee, he would be a “Donald Trump puppet” and wouldn’t do anything to improve the lives of Black communities. 

She said, “He’s been voting against the issues of Black voters,” including voting no on advancing voting rights protections, capping insulin for diabetes patients, and the infrastructure law signed by Biden to “make sure that Black voters have clean water for their communities.” 

Batchelor said People For the American Way, which has deployed operations across the country to mobilize voters ahead of the 2024 election, will “make it very clear” to Black voters that Scott is “not going to be their partner in the White House.”

When it comes to the “critical issues” like “freedom, justice, equality, and democracy,” Batchelor said if Scott is selected as Trump’s vice presidential running mate, “I don’t see any Black voters following him.”

Gerren Keith Gaynor

Gerren Keith Gaynor is a White House Correspondent and the Managing Editor of Politics at theGrio. He is based in Washington, D.C.

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