Tim Scott has new, cursed media venture to attract Black voters

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Failed presidential candidate Tim Scott and some of his Black Republican pals in Congress have launched a media venture to own the libs in (one supposes) an effort to attract Black voters to vote for Donald Trump.

And if you’re a fan of anti-Biden schlock set to a soundtrack of royalty-free hip-hop and funk music, you will love it. But if not, you may find it fairly cringeworthy.

Scott debuted the new video series (essentially a glorified podcast) “America’s Starting Five” on Friday. It’s an ironic name, considering all of the participants are basically the same MAGA movement bench-riders who’ve been cheering from the sidelines as the movement’s main characters have gotten all the shine and actual power. This is what your starting five would look like if you had a team of water boys and equipment managers: In addition to Scott, the panel includes Reps. Burgess Owens, Wesley Hunt, John James and Byron Donalds. All are right-wing conservatives who have no qualms supporting a racist bigot who tried to overthrow American democracy based on false claims that largely Black districts cost him the 2020 election.

Honestly, a conversation among Black conservatives could be interesting if, say, it was about how they navigate belonging to a party centered on white fear and grievance. Scott even refered to this dynamic last fall!

But that kind of reflection doesn’t seem to be on the horizon in this new video ... thing. Republican racism doesn't come up in Episode 1. Hunt even downplayed the existence of racism, noting that each panelist represents a majority-white district, without sparing a second to consider that their support for the GOP's agenda might be the reason why.

Other topics that are never addressed include Scott’s self-abasing performance stumping for Trump after he dropped out of the presidential race (Scott later accused his critics of racism). Also no mention of the cringey, Ebonics-influenced ad Scott released in 2017 to promote Trump’s tax cuts for the rich. And of course Trump’s bigotry is never mentioned. In fact, Trump isn't mentioned in the inaugural episode of “America’s Starting Five,” which comes across like a tacit acknowledgment of how toxic Trump is in the eyes of many Black voters.

The panel is mostly about bashing President Joe Biden. The men harped on the Biden soundbites frequently referred to in conservative circles to portray the president as bigoted. For example, they whined over Biden’s 2020 quip to shock jock Charlamagne tha God that Black folks who can’t tell whether they’re for Biden or Trump “ain’t Black.” Biden ultimately apologized for the remark, although I’ve always thought the essence of his comment — that Trump is anti-Black and Biden isn’t — were accurate enough. Scott and Co. also resurfaced a clip from a 2020 campaign stop when Biden misspoke about educational inequality and discrimination. Biden said “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids” before correcting himself to say “wealthy kids.” Trump and other Republicans leaped on the slip to suggest Biden is prejudiced, despite the fact the remarks were about the need to address economic inequality.

It’s telling that Scott’s panel spent its inaugural episode focused on things Biden said years ago and not things he’s done as president, which include policies and appointments intended to aid Black people.

But Republicans are trying anything and everything to get Black voters, particularly Black men, to reject Biden in the fall. They’ve tried using gold sneakers. They’ve tried using AI-generated photos. And now they’re rolling out the saddest, most shameless team of part-time pundits I could have imagined.

This article was originally published on MSNBC.com