Despite his slow start, Herman Cain is currently the frontrunner for the Republican party, which means he may very well be the one to face President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election. His chances of winning that election, though, are slim.
Cain has the distinction of being one of the more sane candidates vying for the Republican nod. Unfortunately, his political positions make him nearly un-electable on the national stage.
The main reason John McCain lost the 2008 election (second only to his choice of running mate) is that he was too much like George W. Bush for the public to stomach. Cain will likely run into the same issue.
While most elections are not solely won on issues, every election comes down to the same pool of issues. Economics, foreign policy and social problems are always in the front of the public consciousness.
This election has issues very similar to the last one. We are still involved in unpopular foreign wars. Gay marriage and abortion are still hot-button issues. Surprisingly, the economy is still a mess.
Anyone who has taken an introductory political science class knows that voters are always split 40/20/40. That means that the 80 percent of voters will split 50/50 for their respective parties regardless of the candidate.
The remaining 20 percent are the moderate voters that everyone wants to woo. They are not swayed by zealous far-right conservatism or bleeding-heart liberalism. With all the talk of “1 percents” and “99 percents,” this 20 percent might end up being the most influential group in America.
Speaking of the "99 percent,” while they may not be able to occupy any real ground on Wall Street, they could still derail Cain. Cain is an unapologetic business man. It seems like every time he has a camera on him he touts his time as CEO of Godfather’s Pizza. On a personal note, as someone who has met the CEO of a major pizza chain, I can tell you that is not what you want in a president.
The “99 percent” are angry and politically active. This is the worst thing any Republican candidate, especially a millionaire, could imagine. By next November, I predict the “99 percent” will be disenfranchised and angry about their failed movement. They will be looking for someone to take out their frustrations on. And who will be there? A Republican vying for the presidency. While not all of the"99 percent"are Democrats or members of the 20 percent, they can still have a considerable impact and could solidify Obama’s chances.
Who has a better chance of winning the hearts and minds of that 20 percent? Is it the incumbent president that so charmed the 20 percent in 2008? Or is it the far right newcomer with even less experience than Obama had?
If you mapped out Cain’s political ideals and placed it over a map of Bush’s, there would be a lot of overlap. Cain is pro-life, anti-gay and pro-war. So was Bush, and he barely garnered the majority of the 20 percent in 2004. We won’t talk about what happened in 2000.
Another reason Cain will have a tough run of things is that one of his fellow Republicans will likely split the vote. A strong candidate like Mitt Romney or Rick Perry could easily get the notion that they have a shot at the Oval Office and take several members of the Republican base and the moderates away from Cain.
I should note that while I say his chances of winning the election are slim, that is assuming that people will vote issues and not feelings. It also bears mentioning that if Cain chose one of his more moderate Republican opponents as a running mate (not Michele Bachmann, if he has any sense) he might have a fighting chance at getting that elusive 20 percent.