While allegations of sexual harassment and payoffs swirl around GOP presidential primary candidate Herman Cain, the endgame might hinge on how one views the man.
If GOP voters see him as a victim in the mold of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, smeared by thinly sourced, unproven charges fueled by raw politics, then he might survive and live to fight on in the race. However, if they view him as a latter-day Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Another VPOTUS tries for POTUS: What does history tell us? Barr says he's working to protect presidency, not Trump MORE harassing the likes of Paula Jones and settling out of court in order to make her "go away," then Cain is toast.
While Democrat voters might be willing to overlook Clintonian sexual harassment, it is unlikely Republican voters can. That the Cain allegations are surfacing now indicates it is GOP operatives working it behind the scenes, in order to prevent the party having to deal with this in a general election and risk losing the race altogether, should the popular Cain be on the GOP ticket.
Of course, it could also mean that some establishment Republicans don't want anyone on the ticket whom they can't easily get to, thus preserving their own livelihoods and exalted places in the food chain in Washington.
But if, indeed, the Politico story, sparse on verifiable details, proves to be a mirror image of the high-tech lynching Justice Thomas suffered with loose charges of sexual harassment made years after the alleged incidents took place, then Cain just may earn the support and benefit of the doubt stemming from a political hit job — support that could spread beyond the Republican Party.