I have been a supporter of Herman Cain since he spoke at Redstate Gathering 2009, and hinted at a Presidential run. I thought he is exactly what the country needs at this inflection point in our history: a non-politician with decades of management experience, decades of turn-around experience, and decades of working in consumer-oriented businesses where understanding customer demands is absolutely critical to survival.
Then... the primary season began in earnest, and Cain made a couple of major missteps. His comments about the right of communities to deny Muslims from building a mosque, betraying a woefully inadequate understanding of the First Amendment, was the proverbial nail in the coffin for me. (Note that the link above is not from some frothing-at-the-mouth Lefty site who'd claim the sky is red if a Republican said it was blue; it's from Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment site - hardly a den of the Unreality Based Community that is the modern Left.)
Combined with all of the pundits -- including our very own Erick Erickson -- essentially writing Cain off as a "really great guy, but one who can't win", I was persuaded. Like many of you, I hoped for a Mitch Daniels candidacy, a Paul Ryan candidacy, a Chris Christie run, and when Rick Perry entered the race, I thought I had found my guy.
Then a strange thing happened.
Cain somehow kept coming back into my consciousness. I blame the "debates" (which I put in quotes since the modern political debate is anything but an actual debate in the style of Lincoln and Douglas) for much of it. The guy just plain old made sense so much of the time. And unlike the unbelievably smooth Romney, the incredibly oleaginous Huntsman, even the seemingly-speaking-with-a-permanent-frown Santorum... Cain appeared to be saying what he meant, what he actually believed (damn the consequences), and in many cases, actually answering the question. Of course, it doesn't hurt Cain that the other candidates -- Ron Paul with his crazy-uncle antics, Michele Bachmann taking a starring turn as The Woman With Plastic Hair And Even Most Plastic Speaking Style, and Rick "I Crammed Really Hard Last Night" Perry -- simply did not do themselves any favors in recent months.
What had happened? In the days before the vote, nearly all the delegates who voted for Cain either said or heard someone else say this: "I love Herman Cain, but he can't get elected." The assumption that Cain can't win the Republican nomination was a serious obstacle in their minds. But at some point late Friday and early Saturday, the delegates overcame that obstacle. Some concluded that since they had heard so many people speak well of Cain, he could indeed win, if everyone who liked him would actually vote for him. Others remained skeptical of Cain's ultimate chances but decided to send the message that they would choose candidates based on conservative principles, and not on perceived electability.
Once the delegates got over the can't-get-elected hurdle, a close contest became a landslide for Herman Cain. [Emphasis added]
Think about this.
It was Michele Bachmann who said on stage during the Orlando debate that this year, in this election cycle, with such a weak opponent in President Obama, we conservatives don't have to settle. She urged us all to follow our hearts, follow our principles, and select the candidate we most want.
Well, the candidate I most want is Herman Cain. Sorry, Michele -- I'm sure that's not what you had in mind.
But if I'm not going to worry about "electability" in thinking of Bachmann, of Santorum, of anyone else... then why would I choose anyone but the guy I think is exactly who we need in 2012 to turn the country around?
And you know what? I'm not alone. I think Cain can win. And this is his victory scenario.
Cain Is the Consensus Candidate
Now, I'm not suggesting that Redstate is anything even close to representative of the GOP primary voter. Redstate tends to draw the really engaged, fanatical activists of the GOP base. And of course, no one would consider an online poll to be anything other than a test for the Ron Paul people to swarm to victory. And yet...
I saw this call for a Redstate Primary Preference Poll. I took it. Then I saw the results. I'm positive these results will change dramatically, but as of the time of this writing, here's the big takeaway for me.
Only three candidates won the "Top Three Choices" poll -- meaning, since you have to choose your first choice, then your second, then your third, and so on down the line, I looked at the people who won at least one of those three rounds. The way I figure, if you're not in the top three choices, you really don't have much of a chance.
Those three are Ron Paul (first choice round winner), Herman Cain (second round), and Newt Gingrich (third round).
I use editorial privilege (this being my diary) to throw out Ron Paul, attributing it to the unusually organized and charged Paulites in our midst. And I put in Rick Perry. What I get if I do that is this:
- 58.7% of the respondents (remember, not representative, not scientific) have Cain as their #1, #2, or #3 choice.
- 41.3% have Perry in the Top Three
- 26.7% have Gingrich in the Top Three.
Romney is way behind at 16%. Bachmann is at 19.4%. I conclude that they're no longer in the running, at least for the hearts and minds of the engaged, activist base.
Think about that: two out of three respondents have Cain as the #1, #2, or #3 choice. That's almost 20 points higher than the next highest guy, Perry.
Meanwhile, as the last few weeks and the last couple of debates have shown us, everybody and his cousin are taki