Nikki Haley, Tim Scott and Republicans' Top-Down Diversity

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By Francis Wilkinson

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is single-handedly diversifying the Republican Party. Haley, an Indian-American, just appointed Representative Tim Scott to replace the state's departing senator, Jim DeMint. Scott will be the only black in the Senate. And South Carolina will have an Indian woman in the governor's office and a black senator. That's remarkable.

The Democratic Party incorporated black voters into the fold after championing civil rights legislation in the 1960s, then gradually made room for black elected officials. It diversified from the ground up. Republicans are working in the opposite direction. The party rank and file is overwhelmingly white. But Republican elected officials are increasingly diverse. Scott will join Cuban-American Republicans Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz in the Senate. And in addition to Haley, Republicans can point to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and Governors Brian Sandoval of Nevada and Susana Martinez of New Mexico.

Blogger Glenn Reynolds wrote: "So with Tim Scott's appointment, the GOP has the nation's only black senator and both of its two Latino governors. Kinda busts the racial narrative, doesn't it?"

No, it kinda doesn't. Republicans have a long, long way to go to break out of their self-created Caucasian ghetto. But Haley and company are putting the party on a very promising path.

(Francis Wilkinson is a member of the Bloomberg View editorial board. Follow him on Twitter.)

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-0- Dec/18/2012 16:35 GMT