Last week, Herman Cain upset GOP frontrunners to win the Florida straw poll. The former CEO, who once drew the mockery of Jon Stewart for complaining over the length of congressional bills, has now become a viable contender in the race for the GOP nomination. I must admit, I put my foot in my mouth a couple of weeks ago when I proclaimed that the fringe candidates should leave the race for the Republican nomination for president. Since then, Herman Cain has seen his poll numbers spike while front-runner Texas Governor Rick Perry has slowly seen his numbers plateau and slip.
Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, has made waves of late. He sparked the interest of fiscal conservatives with his radical “9-9-9 economic recovery plan,” which would essentially call for a flat tax rate, and social conservatives with his firey rhetoric.
Cain’s ascension in the polls has been a welcomed sight for his loyal followers and fun for the media; however, his rise speaks more to the poor quality of GOP nominees than to his ability to rally Republican voters.
Cain has jumped to the top for much of the same reasons Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) did earlier in the campaign, because there is no strong, unifying candidate in the race. Even with the addition of Rick Perry, who many thought would give the party a strong candidate to rally behind, the party still has no clear favorite.
The perceived frontrunners are leaving the door open for the “fringe” candidates. Perry was awful in the recent debate, and in the early stages of the campaign the debates are key to gaining momentum. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has steadily been near the top in the polls but many feel his record is not suitable for the current Republican agenda. Voters in Iowa have voiced their dismay stating, “Iowans would ultimately value a candidate that talks to them and shares their values rather than one who is a media star.”
Cain has been able to capitalize on the crack in the door as of late. Sure, the Cain bandwagon has gained more riders due in part to his common sense solutions campaign, spearheaded by his 9-9-9 economic recovery plan. The plan would call for a 9% business flat tax, a 9% individual flat tax, and a national 9% sales tax. According to Cain, the plan would bring in $430 billion in revenue and create roughly 6 million jobs.
But, just like every other candidate in the race so far, he will soon fade back into the pack after the Republican voters spit him out once they get that sour taste in their mouth.
Cain has sparked national ire after he proclaimed “blacks are brainwashed to vote Democratic.” It is comments like that which will cause voters to take a second look at Cain.
The GOP does not have a candidate that is a home run threat; they have serviceable candidates but no strong candidate. Perry and Romney are the most viable presidential candidates right now but they are too hung up on playing “a partisan, bickering game of one-upmanship.” They have lost track of what they need to do to win the primary and ultimately the White House – connect with the base.
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