Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) took the lead in crafting the Senate’s police reform bill, because, as he told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), he understands in a way no other Senate Republican can what it feels like to be stopped by law enforcement simply because of the color of his skin.
But in spite of all of Scott’s efforts, all of the concessions he was prepared to make, and the amendments he was willing to accept in order to get sensible legislation passed, Senate Democrats rejected advancing his JUSTICE Act to the floor for debate and consideration. Their actions last week effectively stalled getting a meaningful, bipartisan police reform bill passed before the November elections.
In the aftermath of their rejection of his bill, Scott gave a speech for the ages. He noted in no uncertain terms that the real reason why Senate Democrats rejected the bill is because they don’t want to give off the appearance of giving Republicans and President Trump any sort of legislative victory at a time when Democrats are trying to score all the racially-charged political points they can in a critical election year.
“The actual problem is not what is being offered. It is who is offering it,” Scott stated.
Scott went on to point out that Democrats who don’t want Republicans to get any credit when it comes to passing legislation that would help the black community are hurting the very voters they claim to want to help.
Scott said, “[their] stereotyping of Republicans is just as toxic and poisonous to the outcomes of the most vulnerable communities in this nation” as the stereotyping he’s dealt with his whole life as a black American.
Scott marveled at how Democrats could completely reject getting “80%” of what they wanted, noting that the reality of it was that Democrats did not want Republicans to be seen as a party that reaches out to all communities, especially in an election year.
“They cannot allow [Republicans] to be seen as a party that reaches out to all communities in this nation, and unfortunately without the kind of objectivity in the media that is necessary to share the message of what’s actually happening, no one will ever know.”
Scott reminded those listening to his speech that Republicans had passed sweeping criminal justice reform legislation when they controlled the House, Senate, and White House, but now that Democrats controlled the House, they weren’t going to allow the other side to be seen as working to help communities of color.
Sen. Scott concluded by pointing out that Democratic leaders have for decades run the cities and states where the issues between the black community and police have been most prominent, and that those leaders could have acted time and time again at the local level on various police reforms but did not, leaving it to Congress to lead where they have failed:
“I’m telling you; I had this conversation five years ago. I’m having this conversation right now. We could do something right now. You know, here’s the truth. In Detroit, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, all these cities could have banned choke holds themselves. They could have increased the police reporting themselves. They could have more data information themselves. They could have de-escalation training themselves. They could have duty-to-intervene themselves, Minneapolis as well.
“All these communities have been run by Democrats for decades. Decades. What is the [return on investment] for the poorest people in this nation? And I don’t blame them. I blame an elite political class with billions of dollars to do whatever they want to do, and look at the results for the poorest, most vulnerable people in our nation.
“I’m willing to compete for their vote. Are you?”
Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah, and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.