The distance that Herman Cain has traveled — from a modest upbringing, to corporate executive, to talk radio star, to frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination and back to Earth — is remarkable. His story should be made into a Hollywood movie.
But the recent accusation that he had a 13-year-long affair with an Atlanta woman means that his dance is over. It doesn’t matter whether he stays in the race or bows out. He will be dogged by questions about the affair for the rest of his campaign, and there will be no way for him to change the subject.
Politics is both an art and a science. As such, there are laws of politics. One is that money follows momentum. Cain knows this better than anyone. Even to this day, he has no major donor finance infrastructure, and yet when he was riding high in the polls, he was raising over $1 million a day, mostly from small donors. But now that his momentum is gone, that stream of money will dry up.
It didn’t have to be this way. If Cain had done a few things differently, he might still be the frontrunner for the GOP nomination. Here’s what he did wrong:
1) Wasting the Florida straw poll momentum: Cain won a resounding and unexpected victory at the Florida straw poll in September. The victory generated a tremendous amount of media attention for his campaign. Suddenly, Cain could do any major media interview he wanted — at any time. He should have capitalized on the media attention by focusing on Iowa. Had he done so, he could have translated his national poll strength into a sustainable organization in the most important early state. Instead, he ignored Iowa and launched a book tour.
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