I’ve never met Herman Cain, so I don’t have any specific reason to have an opinion about recent allegations of sexual misconduct on his part. I’ve been around enough politicians over the last 20 years to recognize patterns and personality types, though, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the allegations are true.
Cain might be the victim of dirty tricks in these allegations. The one person I know who personally knows the man speaks very highly of him. But there’s something I’ve learned from watching politicians up close for two decades. The vast majority of them have hidden lusts — for sex or money or control or ego gratification — that come along with the desire for political power.
Why do people run for political office? The standard answer — which any of them would be happy to tell you about themselves, of course — is that they’re just wanting to help the country. They love people and care about their communities. That’s what they say.
If you get them to get real with you, you’ll find that most of them have a personal need for the spotlight, for approval, for attention and for control. Most of them have been successful in some way or other. They’ve developed a love for the control that comes with politics and power. Far too often, that lust for power leads to a desire to take risks in order to control women or others they consider weaker around them, at least for a moment. It’s not universally true, but I’ve seen it over and over again.
If Cain is guilty of making sexually inappropriate advances on these women — such as the latest accuser, whose picture is below — my suspicion is that it wasn’t really about sex. It was about power and control. The same kind of personality that’s attracted to power — that lusts for control over others in big ways — gets its short-term “fixes” from controlling other people in small ways. If a man shows a lust for this kind of power over others, I’ve learned not to trust him — simply because of the things I’ve personally seen in the lives of former clients and others in political circles.
If you’re familiar with narcissistic personality disorder, you know that narcissists (the clinical kind) aren’t really in love with themselves. Their self-esteem is tragically low on the inside and they feed like emotional vampires off of approval from others. (I’m certainly not the first to notice the correlation between politics and clinical narcissism.) Even though they appear strong and confident, they have the same kind of deep, hidden hunger that vampires were said to have.
If you’d like to read extensively about the subject of narcissism, you’ll find a lot of valuable information in “Malignant Self Love — Narcissism Revisited,” which can also be read online here. You can also read more about narcissism and political scandals here, here and here.
Getting back to Cain specifically, I have no idea whether he’s guilty of what he’s accused of, but I do know that it takes a tremendous ego need to run for president when you have no political qualifications. (And let’s be honest. Cain has zero qualifications.) Narcissists tend to be smart, charming and at least somewhat successful. Cain certainly qualifies on those points. It doesn’t make him a narcissist. It doesn’t mean he’s guilty of sexual misconduct. But it does suggest to me that it wouldn’t be surprising.
Many people want to talk about who might be behind the allegations. Is it Democrats trying to sabotage a black conservative who they see as a threat? Is it another Republican campaign trying to sabotage someone who’s suddenly seen as a contender? It could be either of those, theoretically, but if it’s one of them, it’s more likely to be another Republican campaign. Contrary to what some people assume, Democrats would be quite happy if Cain were the Republican nominee, because he would be far easier for Obama to beat.
Beyond that, the question is whether some other campaign is working to bring the allegations out or if someone is purely making things up to hurt Cain. Since the allegations occurred many years ago, we know that there’s no campaign creating the charges out of thin air. It could be that a GOP campaign is working behind the scenes to make sure the charges go public. That wouldn’t surprise me at all — and there wouldn’t be anything wrong with that. If you know that your opponent has been accused of a pattern of this kind of behavior, naturally you want that public. You also don’t want to be the one to publicly do it, so it makes sense to feed information to media people if you have it.
Since the allegations took place long before any political motivation was even possible — and because there were multiple allegations — I suspect there’s a good chance the allegations have at least some substance to them. The fact that it’s to someone else’s advantage for the facts to come out doesn’t automatically mean they’re false.
For me, the bigger issue is the simple fact that we live under a system that attracts narcissists to gain power over us. Think about that. The system that we are taught to love and revere is the biggest source of “narcissistic supply” to thousands of narcissistic men who feed their lusts this way. As long as we have a system that hands out power to people such as this, we’re going to get the same kind of people in office again and again and again.
Is Cain guilty of something? I’d say it’s likely, but I don’t have specific evidence. Are other campaigns working to bring the allegations to light? I’d say it’s likely, but I don’t have specific evidence. Is the majoritarian system always going to bring us this kind of scandal? Absolutely. I’m certain of that.