‘Americans Like a Happy Warrior’: Our Columnists Weigh In on Tim Scott

As Republican candidates enter the 2024 presidential race, Times columnists, Opinion writers and others will assess their strengths and weaknesses with a scorecard. 

We rate the candidates on a scale of 1 to 10: 1 means the candidate will probably drop out before any caucus or primary voting; 10 means the candidate has a very strong chance of receiving the party’s nomination next summer.

This entry assesses Tim Scott, the junior senator from South Carolina, who announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination on Monday.

How seriously should we take Tim Scott’s candidacy? Jamelle Bouie The odds that Tim Scott leaves the single digits, much less overtakes Donald Trump, are extremely slim, but I still think we should take Scott’s candidacy seriously for what it might say about the Republican Party after Trump.

Jane Coaston We should take it far more seriously than we ultimately will.

Michelle Cottle Maybe divide Ron DeSantis’s chances by Nikki Haley’s, then multiply by the square root of Vivek Ramaswamy’s.

Ross Douthat The only reason to take Scott more seriously than his fellow South Carolinian Nikki Haley is that he has less of a national identity and brand, so there’s a little more room for him to surprise us on the campaign trail. 

For now, though, he occupies roughly the same terrain that she does: the donor-friendly, telegenic candidate of the multiracial future who just doesn’t have the populist edge required to satisfy the typical conservative voter’s far grimmer and more combative mood.

Rosie Gray Like the other non-Trump Republicans entering the race, the odds are stacked against him. However, he’s already proved to be attractive to major G.O.P. donors and is popular in the Senate (not that that helped other Republicans much in 2016).

Michelle Goldberg He’s a long shot, but we should take him more seriously than any of Trump’s other declared challengers. He’s beloved by the conservative elite, has a reported $22 million in the bank and would probably be the most formidable Republican in a general election.