2011-12-03

What The Downfall of Herman Cain Taught Me


So as we all know, the Cain Train has come to a halt. He is probably not going to be our next President. For some people this is a bad thing, but not for me. I'll do my happy dance later. All in all he had a good run, and there was a belief that this man had a chance to be President of the United States. Another black man could be President? It's proof of post racial America, right? Not necessarily.

I often hear from conservatives the reason Barack Obama became President was because he had the black vote, and that blacks voted for him simply because he was black. That is a huge error in judgment. It stereotypes blacks (republicans stereotyping, never!!!!) and simply doesn't look at the broader picture. Blacks have had many chances to vote for black candidates in the past. Alan Keyes, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Shirley Chisholm, Carol Moseley Braun, and Lenora Fulani have all run for President. They were all unsuccessful with ALL of America, including black America. Maybe because it wasn't their time to shine. Maybe because they were too controversial. Maybe it's because black people don't simply vote for black candidates because they're black. If Herman Cain had been successful in snagging the Republican nomination, I think the Republican party thinks it would have split the black vote. It wouldn't. Blacks, no matter how conservative, overwhelmingly vote Democratic. The Republican party could have snagged Oprah Winfrey and resurrected Martin Luther King Jr. from the dead on a double ticket and black people still would not have voted Republican. This is in part due to the Republican party and their Southern Strategy tactics over the last half a century. Black people in general don't trust politicians or the government, but we do know where the bread has been buttered the last half century. We also see the Republican's willingness to embrace the Tea Party and their racist ways. Yes, I know the Tea Party denies being a bunch of racists, and maybe not all of them are racist, but when the accusations flew instead of renouncing the racism, they defended it, over and over again.

For most black Americans, we never ever expected to see a black man as President in our lifetimes. We really didn't. We were excited about the prospect, but we knew the man for the job had to have a clean history. Herman Cain was not that man. Settling sexual harassment lawsuits doesn't admit guilt, but it sure as hell doesn't sweep things under the rug when you are put in the public spotlight, and running for President puts all your dirty laundry out in the spotlight, even if it is made up, like the Birther movement. Now we have Ginger White coming out discussing her "friendship" and news reporters texting Mr. Cain from her number, and him calling back within minutes to talk to his "friend". You can't do this. Now Herman Cain is fulfilling the stereotype of sex hungry black man who can't keep it in his pants, and being a magical negro to the Republican party, he simply couldn't be like the "others". You have to have a clean record as a person of color. You can't do what Newt did.

Finally his downfall has taught me slut shaming has not gone away in America. I find it odd that people who came forward with sexual harassment allegations made no real impact on his supporters or campaign. He simply called them untrue, and then made the allegation that because at least one accuser had financial issues and bad credit that they could not be trusted. Last time I checked sexual harassment had nothing to do with your credit score. I also find it odd that for some of these women they were able to settle financially from these allegations, meaning someone, somewhere thought these allegations held some kind of merit. I also find it incredibly odd that his "downfall" was caused by a consensual sexual relationship and not one where his power (physical and position wise) was used to force women into unwanted sexual relationships. America still seems to not really like women.

All in all, I'm simply surprised Herman Cain even appeared to have a shot at snagging the Republican nomination, but seriously they seem not to want Mitt Romney or John Huntsman, and the rest seem........special. So maybe they were just desperate.