Herman Cain’s departure from the Republican Presidential Nominee race isn’t shocking. His 9-9-9 plan made people think (and probably made Rick Perry’s head hurt from thinking too hard), his charm and independent mind made people support him, but ultimately, Herman Cain never had a chance.
His extra-marital affair and sexual harassment allegations may have been the driver of his campaign “suspension”, but this was a “it was going to happen sooner or later” moment for Herman Cain.
It just happened sooner rather than later.
To me, that’s a good thing. Cain had less experience than our current failure of a president, albeit armed with a much more compelling history as a leader.
More importantly now, the question is: what does this mean for Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, the presumed front-runners for the nomination.
According to the latest Rasmussen poll, Cain was holding just 8% of likely voters compared to Gingrich’s 38% and Romney’s 17%.
Of course, even if all of Cain’s supporters head to Camp Romney (unlikely), the former Massachusetts Governor would still have plenty of ground to make up.
CNN took its best shot to try and determine where Cain supporters may turn their attention. Their estimation was about 2 out of 5 Cain supporters will go to Gingrich, while Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann would be the likely recipients of any other bump.
This question about Herman Cain’s supporters is one we’ll have after every major candidate drops out. It’s relevant because Gingrich and Romney only account for about 55% of likely Republican voters, which means an enormous portion of the base has yet to get behind one of the front-runners.
Cain is the last threat to the leaders unless Rick Perry can somehow stage a comeback (also unlikely). That leads to an important question: will the people who supported Cain simply flock to Gingrich because he’s the more conservative of the front-runners, or is he the kind of “establishment” Republican that Cain supporters detest?
Obviously we’ll have to find out, but what makes this interesting is that candidates like Paul, Bachmann and Cain are all “anti-establishment” candidates.
Romney may not be as conservative as Gingrich, but he has the business chops and free market ideas that libertarians and independents can appreciate.
Furthermore, he doesn’t have the history as a volatile and temperamental character with a history of infidelity of his own.
Soon-to-be-former President Obama is losing to generic Republicans by 6 points as of last week, but continues to run neck and neck with Romney, and holds comfortable leads in Iowa, New Hampshire and Florida, who just happen to be having the first Republican primaries.
In the next month the race for the nomination will likely lose Bachmann, Santorum and Huntsman barring unforeseen circumstances.
There’s still 45% of Republican voters, not to mention a widening portion of moderates, disillusioned with Obama to be had.
The Iowa Caucuses are the first step, but we can’t emphasis enough that it’s just a step.
Remember, Mike Huckabee won Iowa in 2008. How’d that turn out for him?