As our Economy continues to struggle, the 2012 Presidential Election nears. As it approaches, Barack Obama obviously fears his association with this continued downward trend in the economy may keep him from being re-elected. As his popularity diminishes, he has a new potential speed-bump to overcome, Herman Cain. Herman Cain is the current leader in polls for the Republican Nomination for the 2012 Election. What makes Cain such a threat is the wide range of people he appeals to. Cain was both CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and was the President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association during his successful Business Career. More important than his successful business ventures and leadership roles, is the fact that just like Obama, Cain is black.
In the 2008 Election, Obama was able to count on almost all minority voting. Percentage of black voters in the voting class was the highest in history at 12.1% making it a very important group. This demographic is usually something Democrats can rely on and with Obama it was more than guaranteed. However, if Cain was elected as the Republican to rival Obama in 2012, it would cancel out at least some of the advantage Obama has there. How many votes could he garner? even 40%-50% would take away votes the Democratic Party counts on and votes that Obama needed in 2008 to become elected. In 2008, Obama received 95% of total black votes and 66% of Hispanic votes, the highest in Democrat history. This raises the notion that people may not be voting based on political beliefs but based on identity. Rightfully so, the idea of electing the first black President in 2008 was an opportunity many Americans felt they wanted to be a part of. However, the question for the upcoming election is how this same trend may effect how votes are distributed if Cain is elected. Although Cain’s views are slightly different than those of 2008 Republican nominee John McCain’s, it would make sense that the 95% of Blacks would vote for Obama again. However, what is more likely is that Herman Cain will steal a significant percentage of those votes. While some of this could be attributed to Obama’s relation to the downward spiraling economy, I believe it is mainly due to the fact that many people have began voting based on identity rather than what they believe. This could prove to be very scary for Barack Obama. If he relied so heavily on votes from blacks to win election in 2008, a serious drop-off created by an evened playing field by the Republican party through Cain would prove detrimental.
Back to analyzing the entire potential election, in an average Election year about 90% of the votes are already split, about 45% for the Democrats and 45% for Republicans. It is the undecided 10% that usually decides the winner. With the blame for much of the economic troubles in the incumbents hands, it is hard to imagine the swing voters siding with Obama, even if they did, it may not make up for other areas of loss. The more or less 45% of voters who consistently vote democrat would thus decrease from 45% automatically as their minority support decreased. The advantages Obama thought he would have coming into the 2012 Election are suddenly gone. The advantages he had in 2008 are gone. He will have to try to secure his face and gain as much support as possible the same way he did in 2008, through minorities and through the lower-middle class. He will have to spend valuable time and money in his campaign to assure that he gets just a percentage of the minority votes he had previously gotten. All in all, getting the same amount of minority votes as he did in the previous Election is out of reach. For Obama, his campaign must begin now in preparation for a challenge. If Cain is nominated by the Republicans it won’t be easy for Obama to defeat him, it may even be impossible.