Businessman Herman Cain today announced that he was suspending his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. He plans to endorse another candidate. Cain has been rocked in recent weeks by allegations of a 13-year affair, sexual harassment, and questions about his grasp of policy details.
Cain’s rise revealed a Republican Party eager to nominate a candidate to the right of Mitt Romney and demonstrated the importance of the debates. Cain was seen as honest, plainspoken, and not beholden to the establishment. He also contradicted liberal stereotypes about the Tea Party and race. Even with the problems that derailed his campaign, expect him to emerge as a larger conservative voice.
Cain’s loss is Newt Gingrich’s gain. Both Georgians, Gingrich will pick up many former Cain supporters. He will also have a cleaner shot at Mitt Romney. A two-man race between Romney and a Republican to his right is Romney’s worst nightmare. If Gingrich stumbles, this also creates the theoretical opening for another candidate to recover, possibly Rick Perry.