The Pros and Cons of Tim Scott 2024


Thursday, April 20, 2023

On April 12, Tim Scott announced his exploratory committee to run for president. The senator tweeted out an announcement explaining his decision in personal and national terms. Scott’s decision followed months of speculation that he would throw his hat into the ring. While an exploratory committee is not yet formally a full-on campaign, Scott has indicated he intends to continue on toward the presidency. months of speculation

By conventional wisdom, the South Carolina senator’s chances to win the White House, or even the nomination, are quite low. However, Scott is still a seasoned politician, a well-known voice in the conservative movement, and a sitting U.S. Senator. Therefore, here are the cases for, and against, a Tim Scott campaign:

Scott has several important things going for him. He is a proven general election success, has a distinctive conservative record and message around which to center his run, and the Republican primary schedule is also favorable. In 2012, then-Governor Nikki Haley appointed Scott to replace the retiring Jim DeMint in the Senate. Scott was elected to the seat in 2014 and was re-elected twice, each time by more than 20 points. 

Tim Scott also has cultivated a unique voice as a black Republican. He pushed back on President Trump after the Charlottesville rally in 2017 and sank the nominations of two racially controversial judges to the federal bench, saying Republicans needed to stop hitting “the obvious potholes on race in America.” At the same time, Scott championed Republican legislative efforts around police reform in contrast to the Democrats’ visions. Being pro-police while being engaged and credible on racial issues is difficult indeed. Scott also included tax benefits for investment in “distressed communities” in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, pushing for higher deductions. Additionally, he is also vocally pro-life, pro-God and pro-border.

Finally, the primary calendar lends itself to a Scott run. South Carolina is one of the early primary states; a loss there could make it clear early on if he has no chance, allowing him to drop out with plenty of time and delegates left. Additionally, the long-awaited candidacy of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is still nowhere to be seen. If DeSantis winds up sitting things out, Scott will already have the presence in the race to become a significant contender.

Scott does have three substantial weaknesses. Scott is lower in the polls, he could be a poor fit for this election cycle, and his experience is relatively narrow. Everyone loves a good underdog story, and sometimes seemingly minor candidates can get a big break. However, Tim Scott has his work cut out for him. Polls have him at one percent, if that. Even in South Carolina, he still has not come within 25 points of leading any poll. He is well below Trump, DeSantis and even Haley. If he were going to be a serious contender in his home state, wouldn’t he be one by now? And if he can’t win at home, what chance does he have anywhere else?

Scott is known, in part, for his optimism and ability to work with Democrats. Those might be helpful in the Senate, but will that resonate in the polarized electorate? Additionally, his brand of conservatism has stayed pro-market and hawkish in a GOP that’s hedging on both. That could prove out of step in 2024. And if Scott wishes to move on from Trump, he risks splintering the non-Trump opposition and delivering Trump his third straight nomination.

Finally, Scott’s experience might not be as broad as his competitors. Trump is already a former President. DeSantis has served in the state legislature and Congress, but he’s also a governor of America’s third-biggest state. Haley was in the state House and Governor’s Mansion, then took on foreign-policy as UN Ambassador. Can Scott, with no executive experience, outlast  these three and go on to defeat the incumbent President Biden?

If Tim Scott jumps in earnest, his unique candidacy may have something to offer — if he can navigate the serious obstacles in his way.

Ethan Mackler is student at Binghamton University. Ethan's interests include history, politics, and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.

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About Ethan Mackler

Ethan Mackler is student at Binghamton University. Ethan's interests include history, politics, and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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