Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the only black Republican in the Senate, told Fox News' Martha McCallum that Democrats like Beto O'Rourke are trying to "dupe" black voters into voting for them by emphasizing racism.
Scott was responding to comments O'Rourke made recently in Arkansas, when he said America was founded on racism and was still racist today. Scott doesn't think the racism tactic will cover for the fact that some of the major Democratic proposals are "empty promises."
"This is an opportunity for the Democratic Party to try to figure out a way to dupe the African American voters, not only in South Carolina but around the country because they really have nothing but empty promises to run on," Scott told McCallum.
Scott pointed out the positive impact of policies and accomplishments under the Trump administration, including criminal justice reform and job creation, both of which have had a significant impact on black and Hispanic communities.
"There is nothing left to try to reel in the African American community because President Trump and the Republican Party has done a very good job of focusing on improving the economic outcome of people who have been struggling for the last decade under the previous administration, so we now have a chance to have a contrast between the parties of the right, the right side and the party and policies of the left going the wrong direction," Scott said.
McCallum presented another angle of the argument, which came from National Review writer Kevin Williamson. She pulled a quote from his Monday column, which suggested that Republicans need to do more than simply accuse Democrats of racial hyperbole:
Republicans need to disabuse themselves of their self-flattering notion that this is all about racial hysteria and begin to deal forthrightly with the fact that African Americans mostly support the Democratic party because they prefer the policies associated with that party to the ones associated with the Republican party.
Scott called Williamson's assertion "hogwash."
Tim Scott: Beto, Democrats Trying To 'Dupe' African American Voters youtu.be
Williamson appears to have a point, however. If the Democrats' cries of racism toward the right are indeed exaggerated, then there does remain an unavoidable question of why black and Hispanic voters overwhelmingly choose to vote for Democrats.
In 2018 House races, 90 percent of black voters and 69 percent of Hispanic voters chose the Democratic candidate, according to a CNN exit poll.
It would seem that either the racism narrative is more effective than Scott and other Republicans presume, or that those voters are more attracted to Democratic policies. Either way, at least part of the solution is one of presentation and messaging, and Republicans would be wise not to sit back and assume that the votes will simply come back to them in 2020.