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The left's worst nightmare may be coming true: Herman Cain is surging. I say the left's worst nightmare because they have telegraphed their strategy. There's no way Obama can run on his record, and that's why they have been overworking the racist angle - from Perry's hunting ground stone to the incessant raps on the tea party. Herman Cain destroys all of that. We've already seen how pathetic it looks when they try: Janeane Garofalo suggesting that Herman is being paid by Karl Rove to run so that Republicans don't look racist. Uh, Janeane, what about all the supposedly racist conservatives and tea partiers who are supporting Cain? Is Karl paying them too? Simply put, a Cain nomination destroys the best campaign strategy (duplicitous and shameful though it may be) Team Obama has.
But according to Gallup's most recent numbers, that may be exactly where we're heading. Barring any unforeseen entries into the presidential race and assuming the field is pretty well set (and at this point any changes are likely to be establishment types like Giuliani who would not be competing for the conservative bloc that Cain is pulling), things are trending very well for Cain at just the right time.
Here's the Gallup story:
Republicans' support for Herman Cain has surged to 18%, their support for Rick Perry has sagged to 15%, and their support for Mitt Romney remains relatively stable at 20%. However, Romney's support is matched by the 20% of Republicans who are unsure which candidate they will back for the Republican nomination in 2012.
If you look at the back picture, and gauge the numbers since May, it tells an even more telling story. Romney has been nearly consistent at or around the 20% mark. That's because he is the establishment Republican choice. Huntsman is the only other one who would be in contention for them and he's a non-factor. So Romney isn't losing support, but also isn't gaining any. The real movement has been with the large conservative base. It drifted towards Bachmann early, then jumped onto the Perry train when he came into the race. Perry's fade has accompanied Cain's surge. And if the fade continues, which could largely be determined by tonight's debate performance, that surge could continue as well.
Cain has really seized upon the Occupy Wall Street movement to find his voice. Boldly calling the socialist agitators anti-American, and encouraging them to take their complaints where they belong - to the White House - Cain is aggressively standing upon his outside the beltway credentials. They seem real to voters because they are real.
I don't mean to overstate anything, but depending on his performance tonight, Cain could solidify himself as the conservative alternative to Romney's centrism and Perry's baggage. And in the process, he could cause a lot of angst for the left who will have to quickly rewrite their strategy for 2012. If Obama doesn't carry nearly 90% of the black vote in the election, he's toast. If Cain's the nominee, that number seems almost unreachable for him.
Incidentally, Cain's nomination would be disastrous not just for Obama, but for the left in general. What you would see on full display is the bitter anger of white liberals towards a black conservative. It would depict in crystal clear color the source of real racism in this country - and America would see it doesn't originate on the right.