Saving the Cain Campaign

The Cain Train is about to derail.  There is probably only one thing Herman can do at this point to get his campaign back on track: he can talk about race.  Specifically, he can talk about two subjects that are taboo for white politicians: affirmative action and black crime.

During the crusade against the confirmation of Clarence Thomas, one line of attack was that since Yale Law School had introduced affirmative action a few years before Thomas was accepted, he was its beneficiary, and it was hypocritical for him to criticize it.  There was a small problem.  None of those savaging Thomas had access to his grades, test scores, or letters of recommendation.  Their unstated assumption was simply that no African-American could have gotten into Yale Law School without someone bending the rules.  Affirmative action tarnishes the achievements of bright and ambitious African-Americans, and Cain should be able to speak eloquently and passionately on this subject.

But of course, the chief victims of affirmative action are whites and Asians.  Few people would begrudge colleges taking account of socio-economic differences.  But to select a minority candidate who may have been raised in the suburbs by parents earning a six-figure income over a better-qualified non-minority candidate strikes most Americans as blatantly unfair.  (As in all surveys, everything depends on the wording.  After Grutz and Grutter, the Pew Center found that 63% of respondents still favored "affirmative action," but 72% opposed preferential treatment for blacks and other minorities.)  Tests have repeatedly been shown to be excellent predictors of academic success, and the differences in the test scores required by non-minority compared to minority candidates is mind-boggling.  To take only one example, according to The Shape of the River, the well-known defense of affirmative action by Bowen and Bok, black applicants to five highly selective schools who had SATs between 1100 and 1149 (on a scale of 1600) had a 50% chance of being admitted, while whites needed to have at least a 1400 before they had the same chance of being accepted.  This exceeded by 50% the gap in average SAT scores on the 1600-point scale, which was a little over 200 points.

Of course, it doesn't end with the diploma.  One of the most insidious practices in hiring was race-norming, where African-American test scores were intentionally altered to make them competitive with whites.  Now most employers don't even test job applicants anymore, as "disparate impact" will always result.

On March 5, 2008, Eve Carson, the student body president of UNC, was murdered by two young African-Americans in a case that made national news.  Less than two weeks later, Senator Obama gave his famous speech on race that sent the tingle up Chris Matthews's leg.  Eve Carson wasn't mentioned.  Instead, Obama threw his grandmother under the bus for mentioning to him her fear of black men who passed her on the street.  There were reasons for her fear.  African-Americans, about 13% of the population, commit over 50% of the robberies, over 40% of aggravated assault, and over 30% of the rapes in the U.S., according to Uniform Crime Reports and National Crime Victimization Survey data, with higher figures reported by the National Incident-Based Recording Survey.  Those committing most of the crimes, males between 15 and 25, represent less than 3% of the population.  Blacks, according to one study, were seven times more likely to commit murder and eight times more likely to commit robbery than people of other races.

Last summer saw a series of attacks on whites by mobs of African-American teenagers.  It was all over the internet and in local papers, but studiously ignored by the national media and politicians.

Herman Cain is the only candidate who can air these issues.  Right now, though, neither crime nor affirmative action is mentioned on his website's "issues" page.  If Cain speaks out, whatever he chooses to say, whatever solutions he proposes, his mere willingness to mention the unmentionable would give his candidacy a huge boost.  Conservatives admire courage, and for most Americans, controversy about race is almost as riveting as controversy about sex.  Cain has already been vilified as an Uncle Tom by the left, whose shills apparently believe that the plantation mentality is genetically encoded in African-Americans, and since Cain disparages entitlement spending, he can't be an authentic black, appearances to the contrary. He has nothing to lose and everything to gain by speaking out on affirmative action and crime.

The Cain Train is about to derail.  There is probably only one thing Herman can do at this point to get his campaign back on track: he can talk about race.  Specifically, he can talk about two subjects that are taboo for white politicians: affirmative action and black crime.

During the crusade against the confirmation of Clarence Thomas, one line of attack was that since Yale Law School had introduced affirmative action a few years before Thomas was accepted, he was its beneficiary, and it was hypocritical for him to criticize it.  There was a small problem.  None of those savaging Thomas had access to his grades, test scores, or letters of recommendation.  Their unstated assumption was simply that no African-American could have gotten into Yale Law School without someone bending the rules.  Affirmative action tarnishes the achievements of bright and ambitious African-Americans, and Cain should be able to speak eloquently and passionately on this subject.

But of course, the chief victims of affirmative action are whites and Asians.  Few people would begrudge colleges taking account of socio-economic differences.  But to select a minority candidate who may have been raised in the suburbs by parents earning a six-figure income over a better-qualified non-minority candidate strikes most Americans as blatantly unfair.  (As in all surveys, everything depends on the wording.  After Grutz and Grutter, the Pew Center found that 63% of respondents still favored "affirmative action," but 72% opposed preferential treatment for blacks and other minorities.)  Tests have repeatedly been shown to be excellent predictors of academic success, and the differences in the test scores required by non-minority compared to minority candidates is mind-boggling.  To take only one example, according to The Shape of the River, the well-known defense of affirmative action by Bowen and Bok, black applicants to five highly selective schools who had SATs between 1100 and 1149 (on a scale of 1600) had a 50% chance of being admitted, while whites needed to have at least a 1400 before they had the same chance of being accepted.  This exceeded by 50% the gap in average SAT scores on the 1600-point scale, which was a little over 200 points.

Of course, it doesn't end with the diploma.  One of the most insidious practices in hiring was race-norming, where African-American test scores were intentionally altered to make them competitive with whites.  Now most employers don't even test job applicants anymore, as "disparate impact" will always result.

On March 5, 2008, Eve Carson, the student body president of UNC, was murdered by two young African-Americans in a case that made national news.  Less than two weeks later, Senator Obama gave his famous speech on race that sent the tingle up Chris Matthews's leg.  Eve Carson wasn't mentioned.  Instead, Obama threw his grandmother under the bus for mentioning to him her fear of black men who passed her on the street.  There were reasons for her fear.  African-Americans, about 13% of the population, commit over 50% of the robberies, over 40% of aggravated assault, and over 30% of the rapes in the U.S., according to Uniform Crime Reports and National Crime Victimization Survey data, with higher figures reported by the National Incident-Based Recording Survey.  Those committing most of the crimes, males between 15 and 25, represent less than 3% of the population.  Blacks, according to one study, were seven times more likely to commit murder and eight times more likely to commit robbery than people of other races.

Last summer saw a series of attacks on whites by mobs of African-American teenagers.  It was all over the internet and in local papers, but studiously ignored by the national media and politicians.

Herman Cain is the only candidate who can air these issues.  Right now, though, neither crime nor affirmative action is mentioned on his website's "issues" page.  If Cain speaks out, whatever he chooses to say, whatever solutions he proposes, his mere willingness to mention the unmentionable would give his candidacy a huge boost.  Conservatives admire courage, and for most Americans, controversy about race is almost as riveting as controversy about sex.  Cain has already been vilified as an Uncle Tom by the left, whose shills apparently believe that the plantation mentality is genetically encoded in African-Americans, and since Cain disparages entitlement spending, he can't be an authentic black, appearances to the contrary. He has nothing to lose and everything to gain by speaking out on affirmative action and crime.