At first I laughed at the prospect of Herman Cain being the Republican nominee. A black business man with no political experience whatsoever? You've gotta be kidding me. Right?
Could a set of circumstances arise where even someone as liberal as me would vote for a hardcore social conservative?
Cain has a rare opportunity to position himself during a unique time in American history. I have never seen such a variety of grassroots, populist movements. Whether it be the teabaggers or the occupiers, there's a bigtime backlash against politics, Wall Street and business as usual. This explains Mitt Romney's weak, frontrunner status. Cain needs to take greater advantage of this... immediately.
First and foremost, he must say the following (preferably during a New Hampshire Republican debate)... "All of you political pundits think of this primary as Cain vs. Romney or Cain vs. Perry. It's NOT. It's me versus everyone else on this stage. It's me against "the system." If you vote for me, you will NOT be getting a regular politician. But wait, I can PROVE it.
All the other candidates are raising money as fast as they can. All this does is beholden them to the corporate interests. Well, compared to all the other Republican contenders and the billion dollar Obama warchest, I am running a different type of race. If nominated, I'll just accept the 84 million dollars in federal matching funds. You won't see me at these lavish Hollywood spectacles and big oil fundraisers. I won't be the "campaigner-in-chief." I won't be indebted to the lobbyists and the PACS. I'll do what's right. And I'll be the guy who's doing the job of being President. Will any other candidate take that kind of pledge? Of course they won't. Because that's how it has always been done in Washington DC. I'm looking to change that. If you want the same old shit, vote for one of my opponents.
This has mass potential because you can eventually joke about running against Obama. The television commercial and advertising ratio would be about 12-1. The Obama ads will be running ad nauseum. This makes for great poli-comedy. Wow, you actually got to see one of Cain's ads instead of the 10-in-a-row all stroking Obama's ego, our savior-in-chief? This makes for an excellent, condescending attack ad from Cain.
Secondly. Make a firm committment. If elected president, if I can't get this economy "turned around" and "back on track," I won't run for another 4 year term. You have MY WORD. And trust me, Cain's word is pretty damn good. Especially against Romney the flip-flopper. It helps further differentiate him from all the others, even Obama. And it provides for a helluva pivot into the general election. And of course, it ain't business as usual. The country craves something different. They may not know exactly what, but they know the system is broken.
Thirdly, gently mock all your opponents for hiring consulting companies, pollsters, make-up artists, wardrobe assistants, etc. With Herman Cain, what you see is what you get. This would play incredibly well in the current anti-politico environment. Cain appears very humble, reassuring and comfortable with himself. Use more of this to deride all the others. It's gold. And it destroys Mitt.
And here's a novel idea. Instead of pushing the 9-9-9 angle, how about this for a slogan. NO SLOGANS. Explain to the American public how all these slogans are worthless. "Yes we can," "hope and change," all that other silliness... How have all those slogans worked for you through the years? Once again, I'm a different kind of candidate. If you want the flashy production with the flags waving and the crowds cheering, I'm probably not the right candidate for you. Listen, I know I love America. I don't need to spend hundreds of millions to prove it. This is good stuff because it rips and shreds and entire Republican field and also makes a mockery of the inevitable Obama campaign. And Cain will never have much of a warchest, unless you count pizza discounts. And again, your lack of cash on hand actually becomes a source of strength.
Cain's biggest asset is that he's NOT a politician. He's a businessman. Push all the "real world" job experience and emphasize your meager upbringing. Even cleaning the toilets in a Burger King. Well, maybe not that far. It makes Romney, Newt, Perry and Obama look egalitarian and out-of-touch with regular folk. It's not about carving up the battleground states - it's about winning the country. It's about establishing an entirely new dynamic and winning all 50 states. He could say, we've already passed the threshold of electing a black man president. Now, the time has come to take it one step further and elect an outsider. People want to hear about a jolt to the whole system. Not tweaking all the existing problems around the edges. Once again, this kills Romney with the bean counter approach.
Cain isn't going to raise a significant amount of money regardless. He can use this to instantly devalue the legitimacy of the entire field and even Obama. Listen up, I'll leave the raising of money to the RNC. They don't need me doing these $10,000 photo ops. Once again, stress the "work ethic" angle. I'll be the President who's doing the job at hand.
I'm not sure Cain could pull of a win in Iowa. The Iowa caucuses are tricky and you need to have the infrastructure in place. All he really needs to do is just place in the top 3 which I think is plausible. But I do think this strategy would sell in New Hampshire and black, conservative socialism is a winner in South Carolina. By then, the momentum starts to pick up. He already won that straw poll in Florida.
If Cain does decide to use a slogan, I strongly encourage him to go with "YOU HAVE MY WORD" - once again, it draws the major distinction between him and "all the others." And it eliminates the monetary aspect. Both critical components for a Cain victory. Cain has a very trustworthy, convincing delivery. I may not like his specifics, but I don't feel like he's doing anything to deceive me.
One last thought, I would normally never consider voting for a social extremist like Cain over Obama... unless, I had ample reason to believe he was actually going to change the "way of things." If Cain can convince the American people it's possible, or at the very least, he'll give it his honest, best shot, I think he can win this whole thing. But he needs to take my advice. And do it quickly.
The irony of all this. The platform is so unconventional but really obvious. I wonder if Herman Cain has thought of it. I doubt any campaign staffer or political consultant would suggest it. It runs in direct contrast to the entire presidential election business model. One last word of advice for Cain - if you win the Republican nomination, pick Mitt Romney for Veep. Mitt's the shit! Other than Al Gore, if there was ever a human being genetically designed to be the vice-president... it's Mitt. I don't like him, but he'd probably tear up Biden in the debates.
One more thing. Tone down any religious nonsense and issue an immediate apology regarding the statement that "no Muslim would serve in a Cain cabinet." And for the embryonic love of humanity, try to soften or at least scale back the extremist pro-life agenda, especially in cases of rape, incest and life of the mother. It alienates mainstream voters. Don't flip-flop on your principled stand. It's okay to be a right wing fanatic, just make sure voters know it won't be the sole focus of your administration to overturn Roe vs. Wade. Most voters don't mind if YOU are pro-life. They just don't want to see the country turned upside down over abortion.
And one more thought - it's okay to stand down a little from the 9-9-9 bit. Just say that it's "the direction" you wish to see the country heading toward. You don't want to appear too unflinching on specific economic issues. On anything race-related, Cain's doing a great job. Just stick with "race doesn't matter" - I judge people on their merits. This plays well with Repub primary voters.
Anyway, that's how Herman Cain can become our next president. Oh yeah, and try to get a credible anti-war Democratic candidate to the left of Obama to enter the race. Maybe use that million in the bank to start a draft Dennis Kucinich or Bernie Sanders movement. It might help shave a couple points off Obama. But honestly, if Cain wants to win (I believe he does), you've got to alter the whole playing field and the established nominating methodology. As I said, Herman Cain can win this whole thing if... he takes my advice.