Why Herman Cain Electrifies the Grassroots: Five Voters Speak Out
How did a non-politician climb to front-runner status? These everyday citizens reveal the Herman Cain magic.
October 26, 2011 - 12:21 am
Like so many others, I’ve watched Herman Cain’s presidential candidacy go from no-shot to long-shot to front-runner status. I’ve seen prominent political forecasters eating nasty-tasting crow on national television, as Cain’s rise continues despite their dire dissing. I’ve seen campaign pros wince and squirm and continue to put down Cain’s chances again and again as his polling numbers just keep rising in spite of his “not doing it right” — according to the expert campaign strategists.
We’ve all heard by now at least a dozen reasons why Herman Cain can’t become president.
Yet Cain keeps winning over real voters.
So what is it about Herman Cain?
That’s the question I set about to answer this week. And I found five real voters to confide their own personal reasons for supporting Herman Cain.
What follows are the demographic profiles of those who graciously allowed me to speak with them, as well as some direct quotes and some paraphrased insight into their own unique decision-making process concerning Herman Cain’s candidacy.
From what I learned in my own quest to understand Cain’s powerful electricity among the electorate, I’m inclined to think that the media and party insiders just might end up with a whole lot of smelly “too big for their breeches” egg on their faces after the real votes are counted in the upcoming Republican primaries.
First: A yellow jacket wants a candidate to sting the root problems in our economy
- Lawrenceville, Georgia
- 62 years old; married
- Independent businessman
- Christian — Baptist
- Registered Republican, always votes in both primary and general elections
I’ve known Jack for 40 years, since he quarterbacked my husband’s Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets team from 1967-1971. We’ve stayed close through the years and as Jack has gotten more and more involved in politics in the past decade — just like me — he is always my first go-to guy when it comes to mulling over important political things. So when Jack told me he was firmly in Cain’s corner, I had to find out why.
Jack is a committed Tea Party supporter and first became aware of Cain when he ran in the Republican primary for one of the two Georgia U.S. Senate seats in 2004. Jack has also been an avid listener of Cain’s radio program in Atlanta.
Jack is all-business when it comes to politics. He isn’t swayed by fancy, highfalutin rhetoric. He’s a “just the facts, ma’am” kind of guy and here’s how he explained to me why he is supporting Cain:
It’s Cain’s experience in both business and in the Federal Reserve System. I revere Cain’s values, his faith, his honesty, his ethics, and his no-nonsense approach.
He is not a political insider. He brings an established turn-around business experience background.
He has sound principles. He understands the Federal Reserve and the financial problems created for our economy by the Fed. I believe Cain is truly committed to fixing the root problems in our economy. [emphasis from Jack’s own raised voice]
Jack has been an unwavering Cain supporter since the beginning of the campaign. He’s not budging and looks forward to casting his vote. When I asked Jack how he feels when he hears commentators or political analysts diss Cain’s chances, he said he wants media people to be more interested in informing voters than in persuading them.
Here! Here! Somebody buy that man a beer.
Next: “The same kind of appeal as Sarah Palin”
- Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
- 66 years old; married
- Retired investigator with the PA Inspector General’s Office
- Registered Republican; always votes in both primary and general elections
- Precinct campaign worker
Phil Carson doesn’t mince words. Oh, how I love that quality in a man.
When I queried Phil on just what it was about Cain that so attracted him, he told me to get my bearings straight right off the bat.
And then, Phil talked to me the same way Cain talks to his audiences. Straight-up, out of the bottle without the fancy mixers:
When thinking about these candidates, you have to step back to take a look at where we are. … Obama is bankrupting this country. We’re not where we were just 3 years ago. We’re going downhill.
The contrast between the man, Obama, and the man, Cain, is astounding.
Obama talks around in circles and doesn’t seem to know what’s even going on in the country he’s president of.
Cain comes on and actually answers a question. He listens to the question and then he answers that exact question – without wandering off into talking points.
And the fact that Cain is a real black man and is contrasted with the guy who they’re calling “the first black president”… well, in Cain you get the strong idea that we elected the wrong first black president.
People in this country are hungry for straight talk. And that’s what Cain gives. Straight talk to real people.
The media are down on Cain because they know he is a real threat. So they say he is not the right kind of proper black man.
When it comes down to it, Herman Cain has the same kind of appeal as Sarah Palin has. He says what he means and he means what he says.
Refreshing! That’s what Herman Cain is. Cain’s honesty and straight talk are refreshing in a world dominated by politicians. He’s real.
Okay, Phil. I think I get it. But I need a couple of mint juleps just to recover from all the hard, cold facts and the force of this reality check. Maybe that’s why the media and establishment folks are so anxious to rush Cain off the stage. His reality checks are starting to hit home and that’s mighty worrisome to a lot of people.
- 54 years old; married
- Christian – Presbyterian
- Registered independent
- Always voters in both primary and general elections
- Tea Party supporter/activist
I met Suzanne Green two years ago when I ventured to Birmingham, Alabama, for a Tea Party Express event. Suzanne is the quintessential steel magnolia and homemaker extraordinaire turned political activist in the interest of saving the country for our progeny. She uses her phone and her laptop in the way our original patriots used their printing presses and muskets.
Suzanne has been a Herman Cain supporter from the moment he announced his candidacy but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t checked out the other candidates. Suzanne was a huge supporter of Sarah Palin. She told me she initially wanted Palin to run, but as time went on, decided that it would be better for her to continue doing what she’s doing from outside political office. Then, when Rick Perry put his Texan-sized hat in the ring, Suzanne considered his candidacy seriously, but backed off because of certain stands that were anathema to her own political instincts.
And Suzanne was back with Herman the way smart test-takers stick with their first answer.
From her own deep well of common sense and life experience, here is Herman Cain in Suzanne’s eyes:
He’s an actual grown-up. Cain’s view of the individual’s capacity to grow and achieve is what has always made America great.
The media elites put Cain down because, as a complete political outsider, he is a serious threat to their whole world of back-scratching. If an outsider like Cain is elected president, then their power will collapse. That he hasn’t run a government is just the media’s excuse du jour to attack someone who doesn’t think the way they do.
Cain is not afraid to defend himself and his ideas. He might not have all the answers, but he knows how to gather the facts and make informed decisions. He doesn’t fear making decisions. He’s got real character.
Above all, Cain stands for the individual.
We the people starts with I, the individual.
And Cain gets that more than anyone on the scene today.
Well, I learned by the time I was six that the last person on earth you want to argue with is a determined Southern woman. And, honestly, if I were Herman Cain, I would try to get Suzanne lined up to knock on doors and make phone calls right now. That woman gives you the sense that she knows darned well what she’s talking about and Cain is going to be the next president of the United States. Case closed.
Now, if I could just teach my husband not to argue with Southern women … oh, well. On to another state and another Cain voter.
- Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- 57 years old; engaged
- Proposal specialist/writer
Although Ron is neither a Tea Party member nor even a supporter per se, he is definitely in favor of a frugal government that ensures long-term national survival. Ron came to know Herman Cain through his leadership books and DVDs, which he says have helped him enormously in his own career and even with his college-age kids.
When I asked Ron for an example of this concrete help, he related to me how Herman Cain uses personal anecdotes to teach leadership skills. One of the anecdotes revolved around Cain’s own college-student kid talking to him about the now-common, modern propensity for students to take 5 years, instead of 4, to complete work for their degrees. Cain told his kid that was fine, but he was only paying support for 4 years. The kid finished the degree on time. And Cain used this as an example of giving parameters and setting goals for people to follow. “That’s real leadership,” Ron Toth told me. And Ron says he told his own kids the same thing and that now it’s up to them to either meet the goal or pay the consequences from their own wallets.
So, just how does all this business leadership thing translate into running a government, I asked. And Ron says he has given this a lot of thought both as a man in the business world and as an armchair historian of American politics:
Most Americans don’t want to elect people straight from the business world or other types of experience to the presidency. The only time in the modern era we’ve done that is with Dwight Eisenhower and his status as the general who had just won WWII was pretty extraordinary.
I think these are extraordinary times too. And this time, with this particular man, I’m willing to go outside my normal resistance to voting for someone without government experience because I believe things are so dire that we need a real leader – not a politician.
Herman Cain is the only candidate I’ve seen or heard that makes Americans think we can turn this around. He’s the kind of man who you would follow up a hill to charge the bunkers.
He has the kind of practical common sense that one gets from business experience, where one deals with real people and real problems. He’s not afraid to say he doesn’t have all the answers but he has the skills to find people who do.
He’s a leader. A real leader. Genuine. I would charge into battle behind him.
And I don’t say that lightly.
Okay. I think I’m beginning to get what makes Herman Cain so special. He inspires people to believe in America and to believe in themselves. Maybe that’s exactly what we do need.
But does Herman Cain have any supporters on the West Coast? Well, he’s at least got one that I found.
Next: “A man who is happy with himself…”
- Los Angeles, California
- 63 years old; married
- Retired R.N.; current volunteer coordinator for the troop-support organization Operation Gratitude. (Yes, I had to promise this link just to get Penny to talk to me; these volunteers can be so pushy when it comes to donating to our troops. Please don’t forget our troops! Okay, Penny? This is not a political endorsement by Operation Gratitude. Penny expresses her own opinions and Operation Gratitude is a tax-exempt organization, which is not political in any way.)
Now, down to the real business here. What in the heck is so darned special about Herman Cain? This woman will give you ten mouths full. With Republicans like her in California, it is simply amazing that the whole state isn’t prospering under frugal small-government. But, really, have those people contributed a single thing to America since they gave us Ronald Reagan?
But I digress.
No other comments or paraphrasing from me. This is all Penny Alfonzo – a volunteer I would never want to meet up with unarmed in a dark alley.
Herman is a man who is happy with himself, happy with his life, and grateful for his blessings. He is grateful to his parents for his upbringing, grateful to America for being the land of opportunity that has allowed him, by virtue of his own talent and hard work, to excel, and grateful for his wife and family. And he is grateful to his God. He is happy, upbeat, and wants everyone to share in the blessings of America. Contrast that with Obama, who is unhappy in his own life, unhappy with his country, unhappy in his faith (whatever faith that is), and not grateful to anyone for anything. I see him as a person who has been handed everything he has gotten throughout his life. He has achieved nothing on his own. He is angry and bitter, and feels that America is flawed, full of selfish people, and a country that has to be “fundamentally changed.” And most of all, he feels entitled to everything that has been given to him on a silver affirmative action platter.
In our current culture of entitlement, we see ingratitude everywhere that we see people being given everything and not being required to work for anything.
Herman Cain has worked his entire life and earned every success he enjoys. He has not spent his life working toward being president. He is running now because he sees that there may be a role for him in healing the nation he loves. But if he does not win, there is no doubt that he will continue to be a happy, fulfilled man.
Obama will be broken if he loses. He feels that he is owed a second term, just like he felt he was owed the first one, by virtue of the fact that he breathes. Just like Jimmy Carter, Obama is a dour, unpleasant scold who continually tells us we need to change our behavior because we are causing the problem. Herman Cain will bring back Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America.”
Libs were so determined to elect a black man president that in 2008 what they got was 50% black and ZERO percent man. Herman Cain is 100% black, and 100% MAN!!! (Emphasis all Penny’s)
And I love that Cain wants to be called a black American, not an African American!
Really, there’s nothing I can add to that. With voters like these, how can Herman Cain lose? That’s the real question of the hour.