Herman Cain and GOP presidential politics
Earl Ofari Hutchinson | 5/31/2011, 4:13 p.m.
If Obama had a tough sell with many white Democrats at least initially, Cain has an impossible sell with the broad rank and file in the GOP.
The same 2006 Yale study also found that white Republicans were 25 percent more likely to cross over and vote for a Democratic senatorial candidate against a black Republican foe. The study also found that in the near 20-year stretch from 1982 to 2000, when the GOP candidate was black, the greater majority of white independent voters backed the white candidate.
Elections are usually won by candidates with a solid and impassioned core of bloc voters. White males, particularly older white males, vote consistently and faithfully. GOP leaders have long known that blue-collar, white male voters can easily be aroused to vote and shout loudly on the emotional wedge issues: abortion, family values, anti-gay marriage and tax cuts.
For 14 months, the Republicans whipped up their hysteria and borderline racism against health care reform. These are the very voters that GOP presidents and aspiring presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr. and George W. Bush and John McCain and legions of GOP governors, senators and congresspersons banked on to seize and maintain regional and national political dominance.
The GOP’s “win with the white vote” strategy failed in 2008 only because of the frantic desire of millions of voters for change and the massive outpouring of support for Obama from black and Latino and young voters. An Obama Cain isn’t. And even if he were, the GOP’s deep south and narrow heartland, rural and non-college educated blue-collar whites, make up a huge, powerful and core GOP voting bloc.
If the party’s past and present racial history is any gauge, Cain won’t do much to get them to pull the lever en masse for him. Cain will get his headlines, and win a straw poll here and there, but when it comes to GOP voters pulling the lever for a black man for president, the name “Cain” and the words “GOP presidential nominee” will remain an oxymoron.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst.