Cain he do it?
There has been much talk about Herman Cain since he won the recent Florida straw poll and much discussion about whether or not he really has a legitimate shot at the Republican nomination. I will adress that in a bit but first a couple of items, a little about Herman Cain and the Florida straw poll.
Unlike the other "grass root" backed candidate in the running Michelle Backmann, Herman Cain has extensive executive experience though absolutely no political public service experience. Not having held elected office has both benefits and drawbacks but I would say on balance in the current political environment this is a net plus for Cain, especially in the Republican nominating process.
Americans especially the activist base of the GOP are desperately looking for new, reform minded thinking in Washington and Cain fits into that mold very well. The only other candidate articulating bold new reform minded policies is Newt Gingrich, but Newt is not only not an outsider he comes with a great deal of baggage which hurt him in both the nominating process and the general election.
There is a lot about Cain's resume that is both impressive and some of which is as yet little known outside of those following him closely. Most people know that he was the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza and know of his famous confrontation with Bill Clinton during the Hillary Care debate. However I doubt few know that he is a mathematician who once worked for the US Navy in charge of doing the mathematics on battleship's ability to shoot and hit their targets. Or that Cain was once the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Even the liberal elitist will have a hard time making the case that a man with his background is a dummy which liberals are wont to do with conservative candidates.
His life story is even more impressive. Unlike Obama Cain truly does represent the rags to riches of a black man who overcame the segregation and racism of a southern background to reach success. From his web site
Herman Cain grew up in Atlanta, Georgia with loving parents and little else. His father worked three jobs—as a janitor, a barber and a chauffeur—and his mother was a domestic worker. Even though these jobs required hard work and little glamour, his parents knew this life was better than the dirt farms upon which they grew up. They also knew that this hard work was the key to achieving their American Dreams.
Herman’s parents had two dreams. First, they wanted to own their own house. Secondly, they wanted both of their children to graduate from college. During the segregation era in the Deep South, these aspirations might have seemed lofty, but they knew that if they kept their faith in God, faith in themselves and faith in the greatest country on the Earth, they could achieve.
The first dream was realized in a modest brick house on Albert Street in Atlanta, Georgia. After years of saving from his many jobs, Herman’s father surprised the whole family, even his wife, by purchasing a home for their family. The second dream was realized when Herman graduated from Morehouse College with a degree in mathematics in 1967. His brother, Thurman, would go on to graduate from Morris Brown College.
What narrative can Democrats use to mitigate that compelling life's story? No, Herman Cain's background is not only impressive it is inspiring and I did not even mention that he is a stage four liver cancer survivor.
As to the Florida straw poll one thing tat is not being reported is the difference between the straw poll in Iowa, which Backmann won, and the one in Florida which Cain won.
The Iowa Caucus was much more like a general election, anyone who paid $10 could buy a ticket and vote. This is why the various candidates bought tickets and gave them out to supporters and others in the weeks leading up to the caucus which in itself is like a Fair. Not surprisingly Backmann and Ron Paul gave out the most tickets and finished first and second in the poll.
The Florida straw vote is much more like a party convention. The delegates were primarily selected by their county Republican parties and in fact had to not only have been registered Republicans but have caucused with their local Republican Party prior to selection. There were other ways a person could vote in the process but by and large the people who voted were people representing their county Republican Party. This is why despite the much larger size of Florida compared to Iowa only 2657 people voted in Florida's straw poll whereas Iowa had 16892 voters in theirs. It is true that neither straw poll is either scientific or necessarily indicative of how the particular states electorate will vote, the Florida straw poll is much more representative of how the state's Republican infrastructure feels about the candidates.
The distinction between the processes used in various straw polls and their significance in determining what they mean in the nominating process is not reported on. Herman Cains victory in Florida is a far more significant development in the Republican race than Backmann's Iowa victory.
Having said all of that, it is doubtful that Herman Cain can win the Republican nomination, though not nearly so doubtful as the talking head pundits make it out to be.
Cain's biggest obstacle is money, it takes a tremendous amount of money to run a national campaign. Although according to reports Cain is being swamped with donations since his Florida victory, he still has a long way to go in order to compete with the deep pockets of Romney and Perry. However if he can stay in it and other candidates begin to fall off, it is possible he could compete. If he is seen as the true anti-establishment candidate and Perry continues to falter things could change dramatically.
The introduction of the Tea Party Movement as a powerful political force in the country and especially in the Republican Party, changes the normal political rules greatly. We don't yet know how much this will change the normal political landscape, but based on what has already happened I would not be surprised if the old rules are thrown to the winds.
Where Herman Cain is concerned there is a lot of as yet unexplored possibilities both for the Tea Party Movement and the Republican Party which could make him an inviting candidate. Just a couple to think about which I may explore more as time goes on if Cain continues to look viable.
What would a Cain candidacy do to the Democrats hold on the African American constituency?
What if Cain picked one of the "leaders in waiting" faction of the Republican Party as a VP IE Rubio, Ryan?
What if Cain (like his 9-9-9 plan) began to propose even more bold and popular reforms to the US government?
What is the attack strategy of the Democrats against a Herman Cain in general election? He does not have enough experience?
As Sarah Palin recently opined this indeed could be a very unconventional election season and no more so than if Herman Cain begins to rise in the polls.