What Herman Cain’s Rise in Popularity Tells Us

Herman Cain

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Regardless of what you think of the Republican choices for a presidential nominee, they have to pick someone and increasingly Herman Cain looks like he could have a shot at it.  Ultimately I think this will be a Romney (and Pawlenty) ticket for the GOP, but Cain’s popularity cannot be ignored.  In fact, studying Cain’s rally tells us plenty about GOP voters.

Cain’s popularity appears to hinge on his 9-9-9 tax plan.  We all know what this is.  Cain proposes a national nine percent tax on personal income, corporate profits, and sales.  Sounds good.  Maybe.  Dig into it, however, and most people can expect to see their tax bills rise, not fall.  Critics and supporters alike acknowledge this fact.  Even Cain admitted that some people would pay higher taxes.  (He simply didn’t point out that the increase would fall on the shoulders of most of us, including the poorest among us.)

According to at least one study, families earning $150,000 annually or less will see their taxes rise under Cain’s plan.  In fact the lower the income, the higher the percentage of real tax increase.

When you consider that less than 5% of American households earn more than $150,000 annually things literally don’t to add up.   If people act in their rational self-interest, as free-market conservatives argue people do, where do supporters for ideas like Cain’s come from?

In CNN’s poll Romney enjoys an edge over Cain among voters earning less $50,000 annually, but you have to wonder why any Republican would enjoy any support whatsoever from a middle- or working-class voter.  Enthusiasm for Cain simply points out a fact about GOP voters:  They don’t seem to understand their own best interest.

Moreover, most of the people supporting Cain’s tax plan also subscribe to an anti-tax ideology.  Raising taxes is verboten.  (“Nein, nein, nein!” is more compatible to this way of thought.)  But here are voters who would be, in essence and fact, raising taxes…their own taxes, and they are seemingly excited about the man who will do it.

The winners again would be the wealthiest among us which is fairly consistent with GOP politics in recent years.  Still the populist everyman identity that the GOP fosters appears to work.  When even the candidate himself can admit that his plan will raise taxes on some people and still gain in popularity, you have a clear example of what’s wrong with conservative politics today.  It is the voter.

So this brings me to a depressing dilemma.  How can we ask conservative voters to understand more sophisticated policy topics that will benefit our society if they cannot understand their own best interest when the pros and cons are neatly laid out before them?

Herman Cain’s popularity tells us that our problems begin with us, the people…the voter.  Until we have a better-informed and more sophisticated citizenry, we’re in trouble.


2 thoughts on “What Herman Cain’s Rise in Popularity Tells Us

  1. Pingback: Herman Cain Claimed That A ‘Liberal Court’ Killed Jesus « The Fifth Column

  2. V. Lyn

    Again you absolutely nailed in in your post with your observation that it is the populance that is the problem. Herman Cain is the modern day “Step and Fetch” for the conservative republican voting block, amusing and inoffensive, and ultimately not threatening because they know he can never- nor- will ever be the nominee much less elected. I believe their hate for what President Obama represents to the status quo has made them blind to their own self interest.

    In my opinion in an effort to deflect the criticism concerning the rampant racism they have consistently demonstrated towards Obama during the 09 campaign until now to convince the minority voting block that they are inclusive hoping they may lure some of us away from the democratic party, they have bandied around Cain someone THEY consider an “Authentic Black Man” and my guess is that they think if they say it enough maybe some of us “brainwashed Blacks” might come to believe it as well and in a hypnotic daze we will lurch back like their imagined dutiful and grateful pre antebellum negros to the republican party.

    Still the larger issue is as you stated is how can such a vast number of Americans consistently stand behind todays republican party that threatens our economic recovery at every turn? Whose every move threatens the poor, the middle class and the most vulnerable among us as our country battles for economic recovery in such a turbulent time? How can the vast number of todays republicans, who are mostly middle class and poor, many of whom are also unemployed vote support a party that votes against job creating measure that include green jobs, infrastructure, putting our teachers, police and fire personnel back to work, a party that continously votes against legislation that protect the environment and threaten to defund the EPA, FAA, FDA, and even the FBI to name a few? A party that has around the country broken unions, made legislation that amounts to voter suppression, has undermined democracy as they did in Benton Harbor, MI when they took the power away from the duly elected officials and put in their own toadie?
    How can a persons hate for a man of color be so powerful that they would support a party that threatens social security, medicare and medicaid and attempt to make us default on our debts by refusing to raise the debt ceiling, and who would “boo” a gay soldier as he serves in Iraq. This is a party that claims to love this country and the constitution but ever measure and action that they take proves otherwise and threatens the very essence that is America.

    Yes changes need to be made to the entitlement programs but taxes need to be raised as well. In todays economic times everything has to be on the table, taxes as well as entitlements, but for those in the republican party no matter what Obama tries to do they will remain a party of “no” gleefully clapping their hands as Jiggaboo Cain dances a jig for them, sadly clueless republican voters will be clapping right along with them.


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