South Carolina's reputation as a bastion of racism took a beating this week with the success of minority candidates in primary run-offs. Indian-American Nikki Haley easily won the Republican nomination for governor, and Tim Scott is one step closer to becoming the state's first black Republican congressman since Reconstruction, after beating Paul Thurmond (son of the late, one-time segregationist senator Strom Thurmond). The state is tired of its reputation for intolerance, said College of Charleston professor Brian McGee. "People here see that as a problem of South Carolina's last generation." Wishful thinking, or is a post-racist South Carolina within reach? (Watch The Young Turks discuss South Carolina's minority candidates)
South Carolina has clearly made "racial progress": Tuesday's vote represented a clear "break from the state's racist legacy," says the Associated Press. Haley, in particular, had to overcome racial slurs — one prominent state legislator called her a "raghead" because of her Sikh heritage — and a vicious fight with the "old-boy network" to get where she is today.
"South Carolina Republicans buck biases in runoff election"
Black Republicans still face discrimination — from liberals: "That a black man could beat the son of the legendary segregationist so badly in a district where the Civil War began," says John Steele Gordon in Commentary, shows how much the South — and the nation — has changed over the last 50 years. But black Republicans still face discrimination, from liberals. If Scott gets elected, as expected, he won't be able to join the Congressional Black Caucus: It only admits liberal Democrats.
"It's not your father's Charleston anymore"
The GOP still has racial baggage, but voters don't want it: The nomination of a single black Republican congressional candidate doesn't relieve the GOP of all its "race-related baggage," says Ross Douthat in The New York Times. But if minority Republican candidates can win in South Carolina, it's clear that, "whatever role race plays in the Republican base's anxieties about the current president, there are an awful lot of rank-and-file conservative voters who are eager to step inside a ballot box and prove their multicultural, post-racial bona fides."
"Race, Republicans, and Tim Scott"