Herman Cain is an energetic, dynamic man and has crossed over into politics well. Unfortunately, many Republicans treat black Republicans as tokens to be trotted out at election time, but otherwise ignored. People like Cain, JC Watts, Condi Rice, etc. prove that wrong.
I got to speak with Mr. Cain for a bit this afternoon. I asked him about what the Republican party should do to grow the party. Cain says we are not really “reaching out.” He pointed out that he is an active Republican, recorded ads for black radio during the election season, but is never really reached out to except during election season. “The party is perceived as the rich white guy party,” said Cain. “We need to change that” to grow the base. “The ‘Grand Old Party’ is the worse name you can have because it perpetuates that myth.” Cain says the party is the party of the rich white man, the poor white man, and the black man, but the black man does not realize it. “I didn’t know I was a conservative when it didn’t matter to me growing up,” said Cain. We need to connect to black voters, Cain believes, and black faces and black voices at times other than on election day is the best way to do it in his opinion. He says it is a myth that we cannot get black voter support and that we can’t really be effective in our outreach efforts until we distinguish between the myth and the facts.
On immigration, Cain says he does not have the answer, but “Uncle Sam has got to stop being Uncle Sucker.” He says we need not “free trade” where other countries get rich at our expense, but “fair trade” where everyone plays by the same rules and everyone benefits. Cain says that immigration is as much as security issue as an infrastructure issue and we need to strengthen our borders then we can think globally and market globally without fear.
What continues to surprise me is the growing immigration debate in the party. Cain admits he does not know the answer. Unfortunately for the GOP, no one else knows the answer or where the common ground is.