ATLANTA (WAOK)-Atlanta native Herman Cain, who served as the CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and as a local radio host in Atlanta has decided to throw his hat in the race for the Republican nomination for President of the United States.
Cain’s decision to enter the race for the White House presents an interesting dynamic for the African American community. As Cain campaigns to become the GOP nominee, there is a very slim possibility we might witness another historical moment -two African-Americans going against each other for the Oval office.
Cain’s Republican background includes serving as a senior advisor in the 1996 Dole & Kemp campaign. He even ran in the 2000 presidential campaign and was also a 2004 U.S. Senate candidate. However, Cain was unable to get elected in both positions.
According to the Des Moines Register’s first poll, Cain is currently in third-place among the Republican candidates, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachman ahead of him.
Despite the temporary victory, in early July, five high-level staffers from Cain’s campaign have resigned. Among them were two important campaign staffers from Iowa and his campaign director for New Hampshire.
This has not been the only speed bump the Cain Campaign has experienced. Cain has suffered some criticism for his remarks about different minority groups, including African-Americans. He stated in an interview, “It’s time to get real, folks. Hope and change ain’t working. Hope and change is not a solution. Hope and change is not a job.”
Cain has also expressed his view about Muslims, stating that he would think twice about appointing a Muslim to work for his administration. “You have peaceful Muslims and you have militant Muslims – those that are trying to kill us. And so when I said I wouldn’t be comfortable I was thinking about the ones that are trying to kill us,” he said in the first GOP primary debate.
Just this past Monday, Cain made a remark that could offend Hispanic-Americans. His strategy to resolve the illegal immigration issue on the Mexican border would be to build a fence the size of the Great Wall of China. Cain said the fence would “be a 20-foot wall, barbed wire, electrified on the top, and on this side of the fence. And I would put those
alligators in that moat!”
The Morehouse College graduate has not shied away from criticizing President Barack Obama. In an interview with the New York Times, Cain made a remark about the President’s legitimacy as a Black man. “It is documented that his mother was white and his father was from Africa. If he wants to call himself black, fine. If he wants to call himself African American, fine. I’m not going down this color road,” Cain said.
If the GOP nominates Herman Cain, his difficulty will be securing the Black vote. The 2010 exit polls showed that African Americans tend to vote 90% Democratic.
The Atlanta native has taken a lesson from the Obama 2008 campaign by targeting medium to small-dollar donors. “I don’t have a problem taking a good idea and using it, even if it did come from Obama,” Cain said.
This article written as a special assignment by Neima Abdulahi of Elon University