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Post Partisan
Posted at 12:05 PM ET, 11/22/2011

Cain and the black vote: wishful thinking


Herman Cain is at it again, making bold pronouncements that fly in the face of actual evidence to the contrary. This time in a seven-page mailer to Iowa Republicans, the flagging Republican front-runner lists a few reasons why he says he can win the GOP nomination for president, including this jaw-dropper: As “a descendant of slaves I can lead the Republican party to victory by garnering a large share of the black vote, something that has not been done since Dwight Eisenhower garnered 41 percent of the black vote in 1956.”

Okay, um, wooo . . . 8, 9, 10.

It’s that kind of delusional talk that reinforces the image I conjured up last week of Cain running for president of the Land of Make-Believe. Only there could he hope to surpass, let alone replicate, President Eisenhower’s remarkable (by today’s standards) electoral success with African Americans.

Keep something in mind about that 41 percent of blacks who cast a vote for Eisenhower. That’s 41 percent of blacks who COULD vote in 1956. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 did away with the discriminatory laws that blocked many African Americans from exercising their right to vote.

And then there’s this. On Sunday, The Post’s Chris Cillizza (a.k.a. The Fix) penned an article about how “President Obama’s base of support remains solid heading into 2012.” Here are the three paragraphs that punch holes in Cain’s argument that he “can lead the Republican party to victory” with a large share of black votes.

At the heart of the president’s enduring strength among his base are African Americans who have never wavered in any meaningful way after 95 percent of black voters opted for the Illinois senator in 2008.
In Gallup’s latest weekly tracking polling, Obama’s job approval rating stands at 43 percent among the general public but is nearly double that — 84 percent —among African Americans. In the November NBC-WSJ poll, Obama’s approval rating among black voters stood at a stratospheric 91 percent.
Given that African Americans made up 13 percent of the overall electorate in 2008 — and, hence, a much larger chunk of the Democratic base vote — Obama’s continued support among that key demographic makes any sort of widespread base erosion in 2012 unlikely.

Unlikely. Just like the Cain “campaign’s” chance of success — at winning the nomination or winning the White House.

By  |  12:05 PM ET, 11/22/2011

 
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