Tim Scott is Going Nowhere Fast: Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) has long held a certain amount of cachet in the eyes of Republican voters.
An African-American who pulled himself up from a hardscrabble upbringing, Scott was a businessman who entered politics on a fairly conventional conservative policy agenda.
A Libertarian on economic issues, neoconservative on foreign policy, and an old-school Republican on social policies, Tim Scott thinks he will be the next Republican president in 2024.
Make no mistake, Scott is a solid senator. Beyond that, though, he won’t be anything more, especially not in the toxic miasma that the 2024 GOP Presidential Primary is already shaping up to be.
Just who will Scott appeal to?
Tim Scott: An Empty Appeal
His policies are almost identical to former Vice-President Mike Pence, who is also about to run. Scott shares similarities with former Trump Administration Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who has already announced her candidacy for the GOP nomination.
Between the three of these Republicans, they compete for the same segment of Republican voters. And Scott is the least well-known of the trio. Moreover, you could add former Trump Administration Secretary of State Mike Pompeo into that mix, as he shares similar proclivities to the Republicans I just mentioned.
Tim Scott would be running too hard against the grain in the GOP in far too many ways.
First, he’d be going against the ocher-covered former president hellbent on personal revenge.
Second, Sen. Scott would face another significant challenge from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is the heir apparent of the “MAGA” movement and who has a big, beautiful war chest of $110 million—and has yet to announce officially.
Third—and this is key—Scott’s whole schtick is a throwback to late 1990s/early 2000s Republican politics. Back then, GOP voters were more hopeful and less aggrieved. Tim Scott will attempt to appeal to those vestigial attitudes of the GOP.
And that’s why he’ll fail.
Sure, Scott is different in that he’s a minority (let’s face it, the GOP is a fairly vanilla party). It will give him some added heft when seeking publicity. Tim Scott can use that to leverage some airtime away from the black hole that is Trump’s media presence. Plus, Scott is a widely respected senator and a competitive man in his own right.
But the GOP base is enraged, rightly or wrongly, and there’s no amount of appealing to the way things were when Republicans only cared about tax cuts, Mideast wars, and school prayers—not unless you’re talking about the Faceless Men of the “Deep State” who are coming to steal the next election from Trump as they supposedly did in 2020 and turn your children into Woke, illiterate Liberals.
So, the odds are already stacked against Sen. Scott (and not in a “never tell me the odds!” Han Solo defying all expectations kind of way because there was a modicum of hope. More like a Leroy Jenkins charging mindlessly into a room packed full of heavily armed foes, with no hope of winning).
How will he raise money, when other more well-known candidates are vying for the same donors that he is? What can he do to wrestle aggrieved Republican voters away from the surly clutches of Trump’s rage and toward the lighthearted, hopeful politics that Scott will offer?
There’s No Going Back to 2000
This isn’t 2000. The kind of politics that Scott represents is from a bygone era. His candidacy will appeal to no one. It will be as forgettable as Tim Pawlenty’s much talked about and ultimately unimpressive showing in the 2012 Republican Presidential Primary.
Those in Scott’s small orbit believe that the GOP has room—indeed a thirst—for a milquetoast throwback candidate, like Senator Scott. They argue that Scott will be able to contrast himself against Trump.
What these voices fail to understand is that, given how many candidates are already getting involved in the 2024 GOP Primary, all but the top two or three candidates will even get a clear shot at the forty-fifth president.
It is delusional and wasteful for Scott to think that he can do anything other than muddy the already murky waters of the GOP Presidential Primary in 2024. The GOP needs fewer, not more, candidates. Republican voters deserve a clear choice between the former president and another—likely Ron DeSantis—before going to fight against the Democratic Party’s candidate in the General Election.
A Republican Circular Firing Squad Only Serves Democrats
Imagine what might happen if Scott did get a clean shot at Trump?
The orange fireball would slash hard rhetorically against Scott. And you know that the anti-Trump media would pile on any attack and attempt to make it seem like Trump was being a racist—supposedly like all Republicans are. The imagery would be terrible going into a General Election where African-American and other minority voters are expected to play an increasingly large role.
Senator Scott running does nothing for the party. All it does is give the South Carolina a bit of an ego boost before he fades back into obscurity. Scott, Haley, Pompeo, Pence, and everyone other than Trump and DeSantis, should get out of the way in 2024.
Republicans need a quick, decisive primary that is short, sharp, and brutal, allowing time for the party to heal. If that’s not what the GOP gets, if it gets a multi-sided civil war that makes 1980s Beirut look amicable, it will only devour its best-and-brightest and destroy its last hope to remain relevant as a viable national party.
Tim Scott needs to sit this one out. As a matter of fact, everyone but Trump and DeSantis needs to stand down and wait until 2028.
A 19FortyFive Senior Editor, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (May 16), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.