When discussing republican presidential candidate and front-runner Herman Cain, the reaction one receives is contingent upon with whom you speak. When listening to established political pundits, the are miffed. They are shocked at his seemingly sudden rise. They have no explaination for it. They attempt to explain it based on their previous experience with campaigns and elections. The best explaination is actually under everyone’s nose. The flaw in their theories is that they seem to, yet again, under-estimate the strength of the tea party. Now is the first time we have had to contend with the tea party in a presidential election. One year ago, the 2010 elections threw many state governments and even The House of Representatives, a curve ball. Many seats were not only taken by republicans, but taken by tea party backed candidates. Being a tea party backed candidate is differentiated by passing the tea party litmus test and maintaining that high score when pop quizes are administered by the voters. So now, let’s see how Cain has such strong support and why his numbers will not change…unless he fails the litmus test.
All republican candidates have been given the tea party litmus test. All republican candidates seek the approval of the tea party, knowing they are the key to clinching their primary win. While mainstream media sees the tossing of support from several other candidates as flickle and fluid, there actually is a method to what seems to be madness. The tea party litmus test consists of three commandements. The components are as follows: The first component is that thou must be authentic. You can’t be too closely attached to anything mainstream, status quo or business-as-usual. The further you are from it, the more you appeal to a tea party voter. This includes all media, political contacts, previous work experience, legislation and associations. It will all be scrutinized thoroughly. The second tea party commandent is thou shalt not tread on my constitional rights. This includes implied, direct and covert actions. Anything that could appear as a violation of individual constitutional right and order will be condemned and so shall the candidate. The third and final commandment is thou shall not raise taxes. When they say no increase, they mean no increase. Staying on budget, cutting waste and directing influence away from Wasington is central to this decree.
Now that we know the commandments, let’s analyze how each former front-runners took the tea party litmus test and failed. When support shifts towards a candidate, they are taking the tea party litmus test. If they maintain it, they are passing. If not, they fail and it will never return. Mitt Romney has always been seen as a front-runner. However, most primary voters are seeking an alternative to him. Why, you may ask? Romney fails the tea party litmus test because he violates two commandments. Tea party voters do not see him as authentic. He is seen as an establishment crony. He cannot shake the stigma of Romneycare (essentially making him public enemy number one to tea pary voters). He has run and lost before both as governor and as a presidential nominee. Many say this gives him the perception of a loser.
The tea party voter will want the Romney alternative. Initially, all support went towards Michele Bachmann. Though we love the fact that she has a large family and is described as a tea party darling, she is not able to pass the litmus test because she violates the first commandment. Though seen as an outsider, this is not the type of environment where voters are forgiving of those in Congress. In fact, voter’s dislike Congress more than they dislike Obama. So, away went Bachmann.
Rick Perry threw his ten-gallon cowboy hat into the ring and support shifted to him immediately. Mainstream media said his debates are what sunk him. That may be partially true. The debates are where he failed the litmus test because he broke all three commandments. Requiring young women to be vaccianated for cervical cancer violates “thou shalt not infringe on my constitutional rights” and “thou shan’t be linked to mainstream or big business.” Fair or not, it is held against him by voters. It took away his authenticity. His stance on the education of illegal immigrants violates the third commandment. This is seen as waste of tax-payer funds. These voters don’t care for any rationale behind it. It is of no consequence. So, once discovered, support waned immediately.
Now, we have Herman Cain as the front-runner. Despite what could have been a scandal for most candidates, he still stays at the top of the polls. This is because he has kept all three commandments so far. Since the story broke from a mainstream media outlet and the accusers remain annonymous, most put no creedance into the story. Even if they had revealed themselves, it would not have mattered. Unless it comes from a trusted, conservative outlet, it will do little to sway Cain’s support. The fact that it is rumored to have been leaked by a Perry or Romney consultant just bodes well for Cain. Those candidates have violated the first commandment already. Therefore, no one will listen. The more media gaffes Cain makes, the more authentic he becomes to voters. This just solidifies his public image to the voter and frankly, they like it. In addition, he has no record in public office that would have allowed him to violate the second or third commandments. Essentially, as long as he and his policies line up with the three commandents, he may very well ride this wave to the end.
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