Rep.-elect Tim Scott of South Carolina, the state's first black Republican since Reconstruction, has opted not to join the Congressional Black Caucus:
"While I recognize the efforts of the CBC and appreciate their invitation for me to caucus with them, I will not be joining them at this time," wrote Scott in an e-mailed statement. "My campaign has been about themes that unite all Americans--restoring the American dream by reducing the tax burden, decreasing government interference in the private sector, and restoring fiscal responsibility, and I don't think those ideals are advanced by focusing on one group of people. … The black community, like all communities, will benefit when businesses can use their profits to hire more workers instead of paying higher taxes; when companies decide to locate in America instead of overseas; and when our government no longer saddles our children's futures with ever-increasing debt."
This isn't a surprise. Scott's district is 74.8 percent white and heavily Republican, with a Partisan Voting Index of R+10. To echo a point from yesterday, Scott will succeed as long as he isn't perceived as deviating from the interests of the racial majority. Scott probably doesn't need to reject the CBC -- his district is so conservative that it wouldn't matter if he joined -- but it can't hurt; by distancing himself from the black establishment, Scott builds trust with white constituents who might otherwise be apprehensive about supporting a minority politician.
-- Jamelle Bouie