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Tim Scott (R-SC) speaks at a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing. (Elizabeth Frantz-Pool via Getty Images)

The Senate’s Only Black Republican Says: Stop Being Pessimistic

A conversation with South Carolina's Tim Scott.

Tim Scott is a rare bird: He is the only black Republican in the Senate. But the quality that makes him more unique at the moment is his optimism.

Much of that optimism comes from his own story.

Scott’s grandfather, Artis Ware, picked cotton in the segregated South. He never learned to read or write. Within two generations, without money or connections, his grandson became a U.S. senator from South Carolina.

Scott is frustrated at all the pessimism—including from inside his own party—and he’s frustrated at the notion, shared on the right and the left, that America is in decline. Or that we are heading for some kind of crack up. Or even civil war.

He makes the case for optimism in his new book: America, A Redemption Story.

I hope Scott is right. But as you’ll hear in our conversation, I see very, very good reasons for Americans to be fed up with the state of the union, angry about the direction of our country, and deeply worried about the future of our democracy.

One note of housekeeping: We recorded this conversation before the shocking FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago. Scott’s been making the rounds on cable news urging caution: “We need to let this play out and see exactly what happens.”

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