BY NOEMIE EMERY –
Ironies will never get stranger than that a rock-ribbed conservative from South Carolina would bring Diversity with a capital D to the old, white, and male Republican party, but that is what Jim DeMint, now leaving the Senate for a think tank, has done. He and the Tea Party have supported some clunkers—Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell in 2010, and Richard Mourdock most recently—but thanks in part to him and to it the GOP will have in 2013 two Hispanic senators from two big states, two Hispanic governors from blue states that went for Obama, two governors from two deep Southern states who are children of Indian immigrants, two rising-star women in the House and the Senate, and Tim Scott, who now fills DeMint’s seat as the only black serving in that body, and the fifth to serve there since Reconstruction.
Before this, Scott had won the House seat representing Charleston and in the primary defeated the son of one of the state’s white former governors as well as the son of Strom Thurmond. When a daughter of Indian immigrants appoints a black man from a background of poverty over the children of two white grandees in the home of Fort Sumter, something has changed in the South, in South Carolina, and certainly in the Republican party, which, when totting up its list of potential national candidates for 2016 and beyond, finds white males in the minority for the very first time.