Rep. Tim Scott: I can make ‘bigger impact’ outside Black Caucus

Share The Grio Share The Grio
U.S. Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) during the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 28, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Today is the first full session of the RNC after the start was delayed due to Tropical Storm Isaac. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

U.S. Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) during the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 28, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Today is the first full session of the RNC after the start was delayed due to Tropical Storm Isaac. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Scott said he is equally unconcerned about polls showing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney getting little — or in the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll 0 percent — of the black vote versus President Barack Obama in November.

“Ultimately I think the numbers are inconsistent with where black folks will end up voting,” he said. “There’s no doubt that the president has enjoyed strong support in the black community, and I’m sure he will continue to do so, but the truth is that this election year will prove that more black folks are voting for Republicans than the polls will indicate.”

Scott spoke about a range of issues, including the controversy over voter ID laws, which many voting rights advocates believe could disenfranchise millions of black voters. He called those concerns “more political theater than anything.”

“My grandfather is 91 years old, and he has a driver’s license,” Scott said. “At the end of the day, folks throughout the nation need an ID to do just about anything, from getting on a plane to cashing a check … for us to somehow think that voting should be different, it doesn’t match up, especially if you have counties where more than 100 percent of people turn out. I think there might be some voter fraud when more than 100 percent of the voters show up to vote.”

He is equally dismissive of claims that the Romney campaign is race baiting with ads accusing Obama — falsely according to fact checkers — of “gutting the work requirement in welfare reform.”

“I think the Romney campaign has been very much on the message that the economy is awful, the unemployment rate has been over 8 percent for more than 40 months, and that is awful; the unemployment rate for black folks is up over 30 percent since [George W.] Bush left office, and that is awful … home foreclosures for blacks are up by over 25 percent and are high overall and that is awful.”

“The fact of the matter is that what Mitt Romney has done consistently is focus on the issues of the day, which is not a race specific issue,” he added. “It is in fact an issue to build a better, brighter, stronger America, and that is for all of us without any racial delineation or designation, because this is one country.”

As to why his fellow black Americans seem resistant to his political party, Scott isn’t convinced.

“I’m not so sure they’re completely resistant to the Republican Party so much as they have embraced the historic position of voting Democrat,” he said. “If you think about it, in South Carolina in the 1950s, black Americans had to sue to vote in the Democrat primaries. So the issue of race and politics really goes back to the genesis of us trying to figure out how to get into the [political party's] territory. My assumption is that once we got there, most folks didn’t leave.”

Follow Joy Reid on Twitter at @thereidreport.