Why The Latest Sexual Harassment Allegations Are Probably A Deathblow For Cain

Herman Cain has gotten to the top of the heap in the primary race in large part because he’s charismatic, extremely likable, and has brilliantly applied that old marketing dictum, “What you can’t fix, you feature.” In his case, he has never been elected to office; so he’s been selling himself as someone who’s not a career politician. That’s fantastic strategery.

The problem with these sexual harassment allegations, whether they are true or not, is that they’re undercutting every one of his strengths.

The Cain campaign has been driven back on its heels by these allegations and honestly, the issue hasn’t been handled very well. That makes Cain seem less charismatic. Actually, nobody can come across as charismatic when he’s denying the claim that he made a crude attempt to get a woman to have sex for a job.

Obviously, if you buy that Cain sexually harassed these women — and whether it’s true or not, a lot of people will — it makes him seem less likable.

Also, the real reason most people like “non-politicians” is that they generally don’t have a lot of baggage. In other words, they didn’t get roped into making some messy compromise that rubs people the wrong way. Well now, whether these allegations are true or not, Cain has major baggage.

So, are these allegations true?

The honest truth is that it’s impossible to say. We have sealed cases from the nineties that could be silly hostile environment sexual harassment cases that were settled because it was cheaper than litigation.

Of course, the charges could be more serious as well. We really don’t know the details of the original charges yet — and since there was no court fight, we will probably never really get to the bottom of the matter.

So at this point, we’re stuck in a he said/she said situation. This is extremely frustrating because of the media double standard Cain has had to endure. When it comes to sexual allegations against Democrats, the press drags its feet interminably until every I is dotted and t is crossed, but when it comes to Republicans, the press machine guns the stories out and waits for the facts to catch up — if that ever happens.

That being said, there are now four accusations of sexual harassment against Cain. Four accusations, including two that settlements were paid on, are — well, a lot. Moreover, there are now two women who’ve been willing to put their names out there: Sharon Bialek and Karen Kraushaar (who will probably be dismissed by most people because she now works for the Obama Administration).

Many people are writing Bialek off as a liar, a gold digger, or a Democratic plant who’s lying to derail Cain’s campaign. Well, I watched the clips of her press conference. I’ve read the stories about her, including several that I thought were far too vicious given what we know. I still found her to be credible. That doesn’t mean she’s telling the truth. After all, this is an unprovable accusation about something that happened 14 years ago and people, being people, can lie about things like this for all sorts of reasons. But, I don’t dismiss her out of hand as a liar and I don’t think the average independent voter is going to do it either.

Politics is often an unfair business and certainly, if Herman Cain didn’t do anything wrong, this is incredibly unfair to him. But the reality is, these charges are out there, they’re serious (at a minimum, we know Bialek’s is), they’re out there from multiple women, they’re out there from women who’ve put their names to the charges, and the charges aren’t flimsy enough to be automatically dismissed. That’s going to lead to Cain taking a crippling hit at the polls over the next few weeks, whether the charges are true or not.

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