At the end of September, Black GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain ended up in hot water for saying during an interview on CNN that Black people have been “brainwashed” by the Democratic Party.
“Many African-Americans have been brainwashed into not being open-minded, not even considering a conservative point of view. I have received some of that vitriol simply because I am running for the nomination as a conservative,” Cain said. “So it’s just brainwashing and people not being open-minded, pure and simple.”
It’s been less than two months since Cain made his disparaging comments, and now it seems he’s already prepared to go back on them, at least as much as he needs to in order to get Black votes.
In a new mailer being sent to voters in Iowa, an important primary state, Cain notes, “As a descendent of slaves, I can lead the Republican Party to victory by garnering a large share of the black vote, something that has not been done since Dwight Eisenhower garnered 41 percent of the black vote in 1956.”
Politics and America were both very different in 1956, and Cain is kidding himself if he thinks any Republican will ever get that much of the Black vote for the next several generations. But he’s especially kidding himself if he thinks he’ll get that much of the Black vote this time around.
First, it’s increasingly unlikely Cain is going to find himself pitted against Barack Obama in the general election. Hounded by sexual harassment allegations and an inability to intelligently articulate his policy stances, he’s basically dead in the water at this point. Beyond that, even if he did get onto the Republican ticket, there is absolutely no way Cain could secure over 40 percent of the African-American vote. President Obama’s approval rating with Black Americans remains wildly strong despite the problems he’s had in office. That’s not going to change in 2012, regardless of whether it’s a “descendent of slaves” Obama is running against or not.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Despite what a lot of people seem to think, Blacks are smart enough to not vote for someone purely out of racial conviction.
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(Photo: Eric Thayer/Getty Images)