Charles Dunn is editor of "The Presidency in the 21st Century" (UPK, 2011) and serves as The Distinguished Professor of Government at Regent University and Chair Emeritus of the United States J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Is Herman Cain the Next Ronald Reagan? By Charles W. Dunn Published October 18, 2011 Herman Cain is rising in the polls because he is more like Ronald Reagan than any other candidate. Increasingly, Republicans seem to see in Cain the nearest reincarnation or resurrection of Reagan. The more he looks like Reagan, the more Republicans like him. During recent GOP debates, Cain significantly exceeded expectations, even winning post-debate straw polls among Republican leaders in South Carolina and Florida. Reagan did much the same, jumping over a low bar of expectation during the 1980 Republican primaries. Cain possesses the Reaganesque ability to âturn a phrase,â causing people to stop and think. Cainâs â9 - 9 - 9â economic plan, for example, has captured the attention of friend and foe alike. It is the economic piece de resistance plan on the campaign trail. Mitt Romneyâs proposal may be more intellectually crafted, but the street-smart Cain captures the publicâs attention with â9- 9 - 9 Cain, like Reagan, offers such a story. He does not just talk the lingo of conservative economics, which Republicans dearly love, but he has lived it, working his way up by the proverbial boot-straps from an impoverished childhood to significant leadership positions in corporate America. As an African-American, Herman Cainâs background differs dramatically with that of the Ivy-League-educated Barack Obama. He offers Republicans a remedy to Barack Obamaâs appeal to African-Americans. As the Republican nominee, Cain could lay to rest the charge of bigotry and racism so often levied against them. And, because Cain has personally faced hard times, rank-and-file African-Americans as well as others may easily identify with him, instead of his principal competitor, Mitt Romney, who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Of special note, Barack Obama cannot win reelection in 2012 without an overwhelming turnout of African-Americans, who voted well above 90 percent for him. They are the bedrock of the Democratic coalition, to which Herman Cain could present a direct challenge. Likewise, in 1980 Ronald Reagan captured a significant share of two other parts of the then bedrock of the Democratic Party, Southern White Protestants and Conservative Northern Catholics.