Ta-Nehisi Coates flags this exchange between Georgia businessman Herman Cain and Charles Krauthammer:
KRAUTHAMMER: Do you think that race, and being a strong black conservative, has anything to do with the fact that you’ve been so charged? And if so do you have any evidence to support that?
CAIN: I believe the answer is yes, but we do not have any evidence to support it. But because I am unconventional candidate running an unconventional campaign and achieving some unexpected unconventional results in terms of my, the poll, we believe that, yes, there are some people who are Democrats, liberals, who do not want to see me win the nomination. And there could be some people on the right who don’t want to see me because I’m not the, quote/unquote, “establishment candidate.” No evidence.
KRAUTHAMMER: But does race have any part of that? Establishment, maverick, yes. What about race?
CAIN: Relative to the left I believe race is a bigger driving factor. I don’t think it’s a driving factor on the right. This is just based upon our speculation. [Emphasis mine]
In short, liberal opposition to Cain’s candidacy is the product of racism, even if Cain lacks any evidence for the assertion. As Coates notes, “What you see here is that conservatives don’t really understand racism as a force in history, but as a political attack.”
For my part, I continue to find this charge completely baffling. It’s as if Cain and Krauthammer exist in a world where African Americans don’t have a strong presence within the Democratic Party leadership, and Democrats didn’t elevate an African American politician to the presidency. That’s not to say that there isn’t racism on the left—liberals are just as susceptible to bias as anyone else—but the charge that Herman Cain faces racism from liberals is based in nothing more than conservative fever dreams.