Cain has been receiving quite a bit of press lately as he challenges for the Republican nomination. The NYT discuss him in today’s edition here, noting his strong tea-party credentials, while a recent poll in Iowa has him tied for second on 15% (tied with some ex-governor of Alaska), behind Mitt’s 21%. Silver suggests on May 26 that he should be taken seriously.
Should he? He has no political experience, and history shows that candidates for nomination lacking in experience (where by lacking, I mean zero) don’t do very well at all. Furthermore, he’s very much of the tea-party wing of the party; the Republican elite aren’t keen on nominating from that talent pool. While Silver suggests here that his self-styled “bottom up theory” of nomination success has validity, he fails to consider the role the party elite have in channeling resources. If Cain were to mount a proper run based on his surging support in Iowa and New Hampshire, he will need access to resources.
Perhaps the best analysis I’ve seen on Cain is from Ed Kilgore over at The Democratic Strategist. Succinct, he suggests that Cain may have peaked too soon, and that the expected increase in media scrutiny will cause Cain considerable discomfort. Quoted:
“Most of all, Cain will have problems with expanded media coverage unless he adjusts very rapidly. His cheerful indifference towards foreign affairs and national security issues–he’s said he’d figure out what to do in Afghanistan at some point between Election Day and his inauguration–may reflect the attitudes of his core Tea Party base, but not Republican elites, much less voters at large. And given his lack of experience in office, gaffes and tokens of ignorance–e.g., his manifest cluelessness on the issue of the Palestinian “right of return” in a recent discussion of the Middle East–will hurt him just as they hurt Sarah Palin in 2008. Conservative opinion-leaders supporting other candidates will be sure to mention that Cainsupported TARP and once served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. African-Americans are very likely to begin denouncing his denunciations of Obama and his appropriation of civil rights rhetoric. The Fair Tax gimmick which Cain has promoted for years is loaded with opposition-research dynamite. And in general, his whole act, including his habit of referring to himself in the third-person, could get old or weird.”
From the perspective of early June, it appears that the Republican elite are having difficulty coalescing around an establishment candidate, but the same could be said of the tea party. Should both Bachmann and Palin run, the tea party have three editions of the crazy that warms their hearts to get behind, which is good news for Mitt.