The Perry camp is scrambling. His stumble during the last GOP debate made big headlines, and the ground quickly shifted underneath the feet of the GOP primary. Who else but Herman Cain found himself in the spotlight after presumably scooping up many of those fleeing from the Perry camp.
This surge of support to Cain was unexpected. No one saw this coming. The pundits initially tried to explain it, citing his wit, likeable nature, up front attitude and his willingness to be specific. All good reasons why he might be a leader among the other bottom tier candidates. But when his numbers began to challenge the former frontrunner, Rick Perry, pundits threw up their hands. Most have essentially adopted a theory that conservatives are jumping from rock to rock; trying to see which rock will hold their weight best. I.E., flavor of the month theory.
This is reasonable, and there is evidence to back it up. While this theory might explain recent movement in the polls, it does little to help us predict how this election is going to look when people start voting.
Cain’s campaign is somewhat enigmatic. He’s running more of a book tour than a traditional retail campaign. This allows him to spend little money, while still tapping into his newfound popularity with many media appearances, helped in part by his apparent willingness to go toe-to-toe with even the most hostile interviewer.
What makes Cain’s rise a little different than the rest is its proximity to voting time (!), which has been marked for January. Additionally, Cain seems to thrive in debates, which may solidify his semi-strong position. Frankly, I do not see him seeing a sudden and tremendous loss of support in the coming two to three months unless a major mishap occurs. And I do mean major, because he already seems to get away with what would do in other candidates. So, while he will never be the GOP nominee or president, he may very well help define the GOP’s top tier….and sell a lot of books.