But we ultimately all have a national interest in depolarizing our politics along racial lines, especially in an era where Republican candidates rarely get more than 10 percent of the African-American vote. Yes, this is a rational result of what was once the Party of Lincoln embracing the states of the Confederacy beginning with Barry Goldwater’s opposition to the Civil Rights Act in 1964. Scott’s appointment won’t erase that shameful legacy from that cynical switch—despite many conservatives’ self-serving hopes—but it will help heal the racial divides beneath partisan politics by challenging stereotypes.

In terms of policy, as a centrist independent, I might prefer former attorney general Henry McMaster or former governor Mark Sanford in the Senate, at least in terms of the way they would vote. Scott has not tried to distinguish himself as a policy leader in Congress and he has been relatively shy of the media spotlight, especially compared to his fellow African-American Tea Party Republican Allen West.

But he would be an immediately valuable addition to the Senate and national political debate—whether you agree with his political views or not.