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October 28, 2011

Can Cain Win the Nomination?

Nate Silver examines the Conventional Wisdom among pundits of all political persuasions -- Cain can't win, so we don't have to even pretend to take him seriously.

One small problem with the conventional wisdom -- Cain is polling at 30%, even 35%, is tied for the lead in two early-voting states, and well-positioned in a third.

I think the pundit class, by and large, is committing the crime of Aggravated Solipsism. They don't find Cain plausible or acceptable; ergo, he is not plausible or acceptable to a plurality of the Republican primary electorate and ergo he cannot, under any circumstances, win.

They seem to completely ignore the part about people getting to vote. And those people, when voting, expressing a different opinion on whether or not he is plausible or acceptable.

For what it's worth, I don't mean this to be a Cain Rules/Elites Drool thing. Well, I do mean it about the Elites drooling. They are incapable of seeing beyond their own biases. They listen only to themselves, to people expressing pretty much the same opinions they do.

What I meant was that I don't find Cain very plausible or acceptable myself -- but I don't confuse that with the majority of the base sharing this opinion. (Why don't I? Because he talks like a fucking dumbass much of the time, and when he's not talking like a fucking dumbass, he's doing an empty folksy pander which is all very nice for those who are receptive to it but says nothing about policy or ideas or competency for office.)

Most of the party doesn't want Romney as their standard bearer. We know this from the fact that Romney does all the technical aspects of politicking right -- good debater, good ads, raises lots of money, strong organization, unified and relentless messaging from surrogates -- and yet can't rise any higher than 25% in polls.

And yet Cain, who does almost all of the technical things wrong, is at the same 25% and rising.

Cain could very well win the nomination, if people just want an angry old dude spouting dumbass crap as their nominee. Which is what I think the people actually want, and I'm sick of instructing them that maybe they should rest their Emotion Muscles a little bit and work out their Thinking Muscles some more.

They won't do it.

Adding to Cain's strength is that he's already fallen once before, and risen again. That means that all the crap that caused him to fall -- the fact that he didn't know as much about Israel as the occasional talk-radio listener, despite having been a talk-radio host himself -- has been decided by one third of the party to not matter at all. So it really doesn't matter if he continues saying dumbass crap; as we've seen before, there's a segment of the party that actually almost seems to like that, as some kind of "rebellion" against the intellectuals or something.

Point is, he can be nominated. People should start taking him very seriously -- and I mean that for good and for ill. If you're inclined towards him, well, you can draw succor from the idea he should be taken seriously.

If you're inclined against him, you should take him seriously, and stop singing the song of the "experts" (who don't know what they're talking about) that he could never be nominated so why bother even thinking about it much at all?

And of course Cain raised $3 million in October alone, so he's got a fair amount of money and can start staffing up and so on (though it's questionable if there's enough time to get an on-the-ground operation going in the early states).



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posted by Ace at 12:15 PM

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