Herman Cain ABCs: Why the 2012 RNC Needs More Black Delegates

Despite delays at the Republican National Convention due to Tropical Storm Isaac, Tea Partiers pressed ahead with their Unity Rally in Tampa Bay Church on Sunday. The rally, designed to promote a message of "limited government, personal responsibility, and fiscal sanity," featured former presidential candidate and former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, Herman Cain. Cain, after telling the crowd that he was "still on a mission to defeat Barack Obama" went on to discuss a key issue for Romney-Ryan in the upcoming election: the Republican party's perceived lack of support from black communities.

At the rally, Cain proclaimed his mission this election season to be educating the country about "the ABC's: American Black Conservatives." Cain prefers the term "black people" to "African-Americans," saying, "I've only been to Africa once, and I've been in America all my life."

Cain's task could not be more timely; just last week, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that Romney has 0% of the African-American vote, while President Barack Obama has 94%, with a margin of error of 3-5%. Cain noted at the Unity Rally that pollsters had obviously not talked to him or other ABCs, calling the polls "distractions, distortions, and diversions" on behalf of President Obama.

After the poll was released, black conservatives set about making themselves known — via Twitter, using hashtags like #BlackConservativesForRomney and #wearethezeropercent, and Facebook

In the 2008 presidential election, young African-American voters turned out in record numbers, as did Latino/a and Asian-American citizens. Some have suggested that racial minorities will be significant, though not necessary decisive, voting blocs in the upcoming election. 

Certainly Republicans besides Herman Cain believe that Romney and Ryan need to emphasize their appeal to minority voters. On Sunday, Jeb Bush and former presidential candidate John McCain told Romney that he should reach out to Latino voters. Romney has previously been critiqued for not having an "African-Americans for Romney" link on his website. A representative for the campaign said that the site is ready to go, although it has not yet been formally announced. 

The number of African-American delegates at the Republican convention has been in decline since its record high of 6.7% in 2004, which dropped back down to 2% in 2008. If Herman Cain is right about "ABC's," perhaps when the RNC starts on Tuesday, the number will rise again.

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Sam Meier

Samantha Meier serves as the Identities editor at PolicyMic, where she writes on activism, gender, and new media. Sam was profiled in the New York Times for co-founding Sex Week at Harvard, and is currently working on a book about women and underground comix. Originally from Flagstaff, Arizona, she currently lives in New York.

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