When the first sexual harrasment charges were leveled against Herman Cain, I suspected it would take more than that to derail the “Cain Train.” His supporters seemed devoted to him. The early poll numbers suggested he might weather the scandal. The conservative dismissals of his chances seemed more like wishful thinking from center-right pundits who didn’t think Cain could beat Barack Obama.
Whether those charges would have ultimately done Cain in, “more than that” has transpired. More charges. More names and faces, the latest being Ginger White’s. The rise of Newt Gingrich. Continued Cain gaffes on important policy issues and lackluster foreign policy debate performances.
Cain is now said to be “reassessing” his presidential campaign. It will be difficult to put that genie back in the bottle all by itself. Once there are whispers a candidate is thinking of dropping out, supporters begin to look elsewhere and opponents start to smell blood in the water. There is more than enough empirical evidence at this oint that Cain is slipping in the polls, even if he remains in a position that most Republicans not named Romney or Gingrich would envy. It’s going to be difficult for Cain to continue as a top-tier candidate going forward.