[guest post by Dana]
Republican South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott has taken a significant step toward a presidential bid, launching an exploratory committee.
Scott, the only Black Republican currently in the U.S. Senate, launched his committee Wednesday (April 12), which he noted in a video is the day marking the beginning of the Civil War at Fort Sumter in South Carolina.
His launch comes before planned travel this week to Iowa, New Hampshire and back home to South Carolina as he continues his “Faith in America” tour.
Scott’s video is also titled “Faith in America.” “I bear witness that America can do for anyone what she has done for me,” he says in it.
He adds: “I will never back down in defense of the conservative values that make America exceptional.”
While Scott has a powerful backstory worthy of the admiration of all Americans, is well respected by his colleagues, and has taken extraordinary heat from the left for being a Black Republican, it’s difficult to see how he will be able to gain a foothold in the race, to any meaningful degree. At this point, that seems to be true of any Republicans running against Trump (whether announced officially or not). But it’s early days, and there’s still hope that someone will be able to capture and coalesce the minds and votes of conservatives, NeverTrump, and Independents, as well as perhaps peel off some of the newly-wary/weary Trump supporters (if DeSantis doesn’t end up officially running…). Of course, everything could change if Trump is convicted of a crime, but not necessarily the way one might hope…
However, if we look at recent polling, Scott is lagging even in his home state of South Carolina. Note that Trump posted this polling result right after Scott’s announcement of an exploratory committee…:
Support for former President Donald Trump’s run for president is high among South Carolina Republican registered voters according to a Winthrop Poll released today. Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis are neck-in-neck for second place. US Senator for South Carolina Tim Scott trails behind.
Approval ratings among general population: President Joe Biden with 34% approval, 54% disapproval. SC Governor Henry McMaster with 45% approval, 35% disapproval. US Senator Lindsey Graham with 33% approval, 47% disapproval. US Senator Tim Scott with 47% approval, 25% disapproval.
Additionally, Real Clear Politics show Trump dominating (through April 6), with a trailing Scott leading only Youngkin and Sununu.
While some poo-poo early primary polling, especially when so few candidates have made an official announcement, an analysis of primary polls suggests that they can be more indicative of who might become the nominee than what you’d guess:
Some people will say that national primary polls aren’t important because there is no national primary (just a series of state-by-state contests). Others will tell you it’s too early — more than nine months away from the Iowa caucuses — to put much stock in polls. But we think there’s value in a national polling average, even (especially?) this early: According to our research, national primary polls conducted the year before the election are reasonably predictive of the eventual nominee.
Specifically, when candidates are polling above about 30 percent nationally, they have historically had a decent chance of becoming the nominee. That chance increases the higher their polling numbers are. On the flip side, though, candidates with polling below around 20 percent have been pretty unlikely to win, and those polling below 10 percent are usually doomed.
Of course, every Republican candidate will have to figure out the best way to deal with the elephant in the room who Just Won’t Go Away but continues to lead in all the polls. How Scott plans to do that remains to be seen. But for now, this:
After his announcement, Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison lambasted a presidential run by Scott, focusing on his support for Trump’s presidency and opposition to abortion.
“I’m glad they are afraid of me,” the South Carolina senator responded.
When pressed on what his strategy to beat Trump in the race would be, Scott reiterated his upbringing and the challenges he has overcome — not mentioning the former president. He was then asked if his tactic would be to tell his personal story, in hopes that voters would resonate.
“What I’m saying in response to your question is that the field of play is focusing on President Biden’s failures,” he said, again without mentioning Trump by name.
Clearly, Scott (and every other wanna-be) will eventually have to – at the very least – name him. Because if you can’t even name the corrupt grifting elephant in the room, then what are you doing running for the most powerful position in the land?
Here is Scott’s Faith in America video: