(Dec. 27)  The most interesting politician to watch in 2023 will not be Donald Trump or Joe Biden, and it won’t be upstarts Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) or Minority Leader-elect Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), nor retreads such as Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) or Mitt Romney (R-UT).

Instead, the pol to keep an eye on is Republican Sen. Tim Scott (SC). The question of what he decides to do in 2023, and how, is the wild card with the most significantly wide-ranging ramifications for the rest of this decade’s national politics.

This is, of course, a prediction, not a guarantee. Still, it’s a pretty solid bet.

Scott’s significance does not lie in his unique status as a single black man in a party whose voters are mostly married whites. The externalities of what the Left would call his “identity” do help make him more noticeable, but they aren’t what makes Scott so fascinating and influential. Instead, what gives Scott heft — and what might make him a formidable presidential candidate if he chooses to brave the Republican nomination minefield — is his combination of substance and demeanor. In both policy focus and style, Scott offers a return to a cheerfully Reaganesque sense of can-do, but far from naive, optimism.

Of potential Republican presidential candidates, only Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin offers a similar mien. But Youngkin, in just his second year in state office, would be hard-pressed to mount a national campaign.

Of the others, Trump is Trump. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is a hardball operator. Former Vice President Mike Pence is earnest and deadly serious. Former U.N. Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is a deftly calculating tactician. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is a hyper-ambitious hard-liner. One gets the sense from each of them that even their smiles are focus-group-tested, assuming they even remember to smile at all.

Not so with Tim Scott. He smiles readily and naturally, not to mention infectiously. His attitude is aspirational, not angry. His language is not martial, but redemptive. And his preferred approach is not to divide-and-conquer, but to unify and build…. [To read the full column, please follow this link.]


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