A week ago, former businessman and talk show host Herman Cain suspended his Presidential Campaign. He entered the Republican Nomination field in May 2011.
Cain had his share of mishaps on the campaign trail as any other candidate has…
Despite these gaffes, Cain saw his poll numbers rise to the point that he was seen as the front runner for the Republican Nomination over Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and the fading Rick Perry.
The earliest polling indication that Herman Cain showed up in was in Gallup Dated 18-20 February 2011 where he came in at <0.5%. The leaders in that poll were Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and Sarah Palin. Huckabee and Palin have declared that they are not running for President at this time. Mitt Romney came in at 16%.
While Romney has seen his polling top out at an average of 22%, Perry and then Cain shot to the top of the list. I will save my thoughts on Perry at another time.
Reuters/Ipsos Poll Reporting for 3-6 June 2011 had Cain at 6%. By the end of October, Cain was in the mid-20s; Quinnipiac University poll dated 25-31 October 2011 had Cain at 30%.
Then…. This showed up…
Accusations of sexual harassment from two women came to light. They claimed that the inappropriate behavior happened while Cain was the head of the National Restaurant Association from 1996-98.
Cain denied that the behavior ever happened, but more allegations surfaced. Even a report of an affair taking place for 13 years, as noted here by the local Fox affiliate in Atlanta.
(NOTE: I am calling them allegations because this is still “innocent till proven guilty” BUT c’mon… sending text messages at 4AM, answering the phone from someone you had an affair with for 13 years?)
Who told him about the machine…?
As the allegations continued to rise, Cain’s numbers started to fall. Finally on 4 December 2011, Cain gave one of the strangest suspension speeches…
I can imagine sometime in the next century when political scientists study the 2012 Presidential Election, there will be a thesis on the impact of Pokémon on American electoral behavior.
So…. What did the Republican fascination with Herman Cain teach us?
First, this should be a lesson to any campaign: investigate your own past.
Find out what can be used against you before it comes up. And if you did something wrong: own up to it. Cain might still be campaigning IF he didn’t blame the media and the big bad Democratic Machine for his infidelity.
Second: Would have any of these allegations shown up if Cain was at the bottom of the deck? It would not surprise me if someone with a rival campaign pulled some Ides of March shit in order to, at worst, cause Cain’s numbers to drop.
Consider this: after Cain dropped out, take a guess which candidate benefited from it?
Newt Gingrich… Speaker of the House from 1995-98 who has several well known infidelity episodes and had 84 ethics charges filed against him during his tenure as House Speaker. The House voted to fine Gingrich $300,000 for those ethics violations. A challenge to his leadership post because of the ethics violations forced him to resign from not only his position of Speaker of the House, but from Congress as well.
And this leads me into my final point…
Republicans are desperate for a candidate who is not named Mitt Romney. Rick Perry has all but flamed out. Support for Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum has not materialized. The only “moderate” (and by that I mean the one who isn’t completely insane) in the race, Jon Huntsman, hasn’t gotten past 5%. Ron Paul is… well, Ron Paul.
It appears that this electorate is willing to overlook glaring snafus as shown above. The only thing that the Republican Party cares about is this:
Do I expect the average person to know who the President of Uzbekistan is? Probably not. But if we are involved in a conflict with a country that borders it, do you think it would be important to know what surrounds it?
Hey look at that map… There’s Afghanistan in the south…
In short, it was inevitable that the “Cain Train” would come to an end. It probably would have ended like when other lower tier candidates decide to call it quits: when the money dried up or when he came in 5th in Iowa or New Hampshire. Instead we were entertained with an event that became better known as a “Cain Wreck,” which probably ranks with the Springfield Monorail Disaster of 1993 in rail disasters.
Besides, Cain was setting himself up for his future endeavors be it in the public speaking forum or as a Fox News commentator. People figure out that you are an art project eventually.