Is Herman Cain, the GOP presidential contender guilty of the allegations and accusations that he groped and sexually harassed women in the 1990s?
The answer to that question may now be irrelevant because Herman Cain has unknowingly made a major strategic error that could cost him the Republican presidential candidacy as polls now show his support dropping. (See notes below: 220.127.116.11.)
The Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz once said that “the best defense is a good offense.” And that same strategy has been applied in sports and was often voiced and popularized by football coach Vince Lombardi. But neither Lombardi nor Clausewitz was ever in a position like Cain where he is defending himself against women.
Herman Cain has defended himself against the allegations of sexual harassment by publicly attacking the accusatory women and mocking women: he said that presidential rival Michele Bachmann would be “tutti-frutti” ice cream, called House Democratic leader “Princess Nancy” Pelosi, and shrugged off a joke about Anita Hill. The result is that he has now turned this event into a battle of the sexes – a battle that he won’t easily win.
By attacking the accuser and other women, Herman Cain has laid down the gauntlet and now women’s organizations are coming to the defense of women, particularly those who claim to be victims of harassment or discrimination by men.
The conservative Christian group best known for its stance against abortion, Concerned Women for America was the first national organization to publicly support one of Cain’s accusers, Sharon Bialek, saying that Miss Bialek “appeared credible.” And the National Organization for Women says it is disturbed by the broader attack on women who come forward with workplace sexual harassment allegations.
And therein lies the major error by Cain – he went on the offense and verbally attacked the women; he called Bialek a liar and questioned her motives in coming forward. In doing so, he has provoked the ire of women, particularly those women who have been genuine victims of sexual harassment or abuse.
Unfortunately, Cain was lacking good strategists to advise him against attacking the accuser or women. When coaching clients who appear in court, I have always advised them to beware of the intention of the prosecutor – to push you to anger, to make you explode, become emotional and ultimately get you to express negative emotions and words that will turn the jury against you – even if you are innocent. I teach my clients to state their case and when prodded by the prosecuting attorney “Are you saying the witness is lying?” to calmly respond with “I can’t speak for her; maybe she is mistaken. I can only tell you what I know and what happened.”
The Chinese philosopher/general, Sun Tzu wrote a book “The Art of War” two and a half thousand years ago and today that book is used as a resource for mediation and conflict resolution. One of Tzu’s primary teachings is “Never underestimate your opponent.” But Cain has underestimated his opponent; and that opponent is not one woman (Sharon Bialek) who has filed bankruptcy or another woman (Karen Kraushaar) who has filed a complaint twice about her bosses. Instead, Cain’s opponent has turned into all women who feel betrayed, put down or discriminated against by men.
Yes, Cain underestimated his opponent; women today are extremely powerful and influential:
There are more women in the US workforce than men; more women are attending and graduating college than men in the US; churches are opening up to allow women to lead, preach and teach as ministers, pastors and reverends; Women are becoming a greater force in politics and; women account for 85% of all consumer purchases.
Accordingly, if Herman Cain continues to become angry, arrogant or accusatory towards women, then even if he is completely innocent, he will lose the battle of the sexes as women may simply conclude he is guilty, arrogant or evil. And after all, truth is often trumped by perception which then becomes recognized as the truth.
1. November 11, 2011: “In a new CBS News Poll, 61 percent of Republican primary voters say the sexual harassment accusations against Cain won’t make any difference in their vote, but 30 percent say the charges make them less likely to back him, and that rises to 38 percent among women…Cain has lost support among women since late October. Then, he led among women, garnering 28 percent of their support. Now, his support among women is just 15 percent.” https://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57322894-503544/poll-cain-tops-3-way-race-with-romney-gingrich/
2. November 11, 2011: “Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney tops a new survey released Friday with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich besting businessman Herman Cain for the second spot, though Cain is close behind. But only three in 10 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say they strongly support their candidate and the percentage of those who say they’re undecided on their vote is that same as those who would vote for Cain…those surveyed in the McClatchy-Marist Poll”
3. “Republican women are starting to turn away from scandal-plagued presidential candidate Herman Cain, an exclusive Newsmax/InsiderAdvantage poll shows. “The pizza mogul is still ahead in the crucial state of Iowa, but his lead over one-time front-runner Mitt Romney is dwindling, the survey shows. “But while 31 percent of Iowan men say they would still vote for Cain, only 16 percent of women say the same.” Cain ‘Barely Holding On’ in Iowa, Newsmax Poll Shows https://www.newsmax.com/Headline/Cain-poll-women-harassment/2011/11/11/id/417705 “According to a CNN/ORC International Poll released Monday, [Nov. 14, 2011] … The poll also indicates that 14 percent back Cain, down 11 points from last month. Four women have alleged that Cain sexually harassed them during the late 1990s when he headed the National Restaurant Association. Cain denies the allegations.
4. “Cain is struggling with the charges of sexual harassment, and while most Republicans tend to dismiss those charges, roughly four in 10 Republicans think this is a serious matter and tend to believe the women who made those charges,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.
5. “According to a CNN/ORC International Poll released Monday, [Nov. 14, 2011]…The survey indicates that only a bare majority of Republicans tend to believe Cain, and more than a third say he should end his presidential campaign. Among the general public, Cain has a bigger credibility problem — 50% of all Americans say they tend to believe the women and only a third say they believe Cain.
“Not surprisingly, there is a big gender gap on this matter — women say this is a serious matter and believe the women, but men say the story has been overblown and are split on which side they believe,” Holland added. https://www.cnn.com/2011/11/14/politics/cain-allegations/index.html?hpt=hp_t2