The Corner

On the Cain Train

Orlando, Fla. — To get a grip of the mood that swept Florida Republicans these past few days and lead to Herman Cain’s surprise victory in today’s straw poll, consider Kelly Rainer’s take.

“I came in leaning towards Perry, but I really liked Cain,” Rainer, a Florida stay-at-mom, said after watching the debate and hearing the speeches at CPAC Florida. “I liked Cain’s plan that he laid out. I liked his enthusiasm and his love of America.”

Cain isn’t the only candidate who has released an economic plan. Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, and Newt Gingrich have all released their own economic policy solutions. But it is Cain’s 9-9-9 plan alone that seems to have sunk into the GOP consciousness.

“I want him to be stronger,” Rainer said of Perry. “I just want to see it. I don’t feel he has as great a command of what he’s talking about. Maybe just he hasn’t been in the race as long as the other guys. I feel like every debate they pick something out to hit him at, and I haven’t felt him respond the way I want to hear.  I’m waiting, though.”

Faith Martin, who first met Cain at a Jacksonville, Fla. rally about a year ago, described her reasons for favoring Cain this way:  “He is so genuine. And so real in his thoughts. He’s not political. I think he’s got a lot of solutions. I think maybe getting a business person in the White House might solve a lot of the problems we have now.”

Martin, who was wearing a Herman Cain t-shirt today, acknowledges she was  originally “on the fence” about whether to give him her vote today because of concerns about his electability.  But attending a rally he was at last night in an Orlando hotel, she decided to vote for him. “I thought, ‘If I don’t support him, who’s going to?’ He’s really my guy, and I’ve got to stand up and support him today,” she says.

Martin has also decided he has a chance to win the primary election.

“It’s early,” she says. “The more people get to know Herman, the more they’re going to like him. Give the guy a chance. I send him little donations whenever I can and I really hope he can hang in there.”

Suzanne Moore, a Cain volunteer at the straw poll, first heard Herman Cain speak at CPAC a couple years back, and has been a devoted fan ever since.  She said that the rally Martin mentioned had originally been scheduled for one room, but so many people showed up that they had to move it to a room that held 700 people — and that room was so packed it became standing room only.

“I went through the lines [to the rally] and asked people about why they’re here and what they thought about his speeches and everything. And I had so many people come up and say, ‘I was here for Perry, and then when I heard him [at the debate], now I’m on Cain’s train,’” Moore recalls.

“They just liked what they heard that Mr. Cain proposed,” she says of the response to Cain’s performance at the debate. “They liked the fact that he has a plan and he’s articulating that plan.  I think they’re a little tired of the bickering back and forth and they wanted somebody who’s just about the issues, just about what we need to do as Americans, doesn’t like all that political bantering back and forth.”

Cain signs a Tea Partier’s “Don’t Tread on Me” flag.

People wait outside Cain’s bus to speak to him. Eventually, a crowd of about 150 people would be there to get a chance to meet him.

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

Most Popular

PC Culture

Hate-Crime Hoaxes Reflect America’s Sickness

On January 29, tabloid news site TMZ broke the shocking story that Jussie Smollett, a gay black entertainer and progressive activist, had been viciously attacked in Chicago. Two racist white men had fractured his rib, poured bleach on him, and tied a noose around his neck. As they were leaving, they shouted ... Read More

White Progressives Are Polarizing America

To understand how far left (and how quickly) the Democratic party has moved, let’s cycle back a very short 20 years. If 1998 Bill Clinton ran in the Democratic primary today, he’d be instantaneously labeled a far-right bigot. His support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Defense of Marriage Act, ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Strange Paradoxes of Our Age

Modern prophets often say one thing and do another. Worse, they often advocate in the abstract as a way of justifying their doing the opposite in the concrete. The result is that contemporary culture abounds with the inexplicable — mostly because modern progressivism makes all sorts of race, class, and ... Read More
PC Culture

Fake Newspeople

This week, the story of the Jussie Smollett hoax gripped the national media. The story, for those who missed it, went something like this: The Empire actor, who is both black and gay, stated that on a freezing January night in Chicago, in the middle of the polar vortex, he went to a local Subway store to buy a ... Read More

One Last Grift for Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders, the antique Brooklyn socialist who represents Vermont in the Senate, is not quite ready to retire to his lakeside dacha and so once again is running for the presidential nomination of a party to which he does not belong with an agenda about which he cannot be quite entirely ... Read More
Film & TV

A Sublime Christian Masterpiece of a Film

‘There are two ways through life -- the way of nature and the way of grace,” remarks the saintly mother at the outset of The Tree of Life, one of the most awe-inspiring films of the 21st century. She continues: Grace doesn’t try please itself. It accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked, accepts insults ... Read More
PC Culture

Changing Reality with Words

The reinvention of vocabulary can often be more effective than any social protest movement. Malarial swamps can become healthy “wetlands.” Fetid “dumps” are often rebranded as green “landfills.” Global warming was once a worry about too much heat. It implied that man-made carbon emissions had so ... Read More