When the U.S. Senate reconvenes next month, its newest member will be notable for several reasons. Tim Scott of South Carolina will be the only African-American in the Senate, and only the seventh in history.
Mr. Scott, who was named to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Republican Jim DeMint, will be the first black senator from the South since Reconstruction. Republicans who usually decry affirmative action for racial balance are celebrating the appointment.
Having just lost an election in part because of national demographic shifts, the GOP is eager to present a more-diverse image. Mr. Scott defines his conservative politics as “color-blind.”
When he was elected to the House in 2010, he declined to join the Congressional Black Caucus. His supporters insist his appointment has nothing to do with race and everything to do with the state’s preference for sending conservatives to Washington, although these motives need not be mutually exclusive.
Mr. Scott must face voters in 2014 to earn a full term. By then, South Carolinians of all political stripes should know whether he has done well by his state.