Former Presidential Candidate And Businessman, Herman Cain, Dies At 74
Herman Cain, successful and unforgettable public figure, died on Thursday, July 30th, at age 74. The former presidential candidate tested positive for COVID-19 on June 29th and was admitted to the hospital the next day.
He is survived by his wife Gloria, his daughter Melanie Gallo, son Vincent Cain and several grandchildren.
Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, wrote on twitter that Mr.Cain “embodied the American dream and represented the very best of the American spirit."
He was born in Memphis, December 13th, 1945, to Lenora, a cleaning women and domestic worker, and Luther Cain, a janitor, barber and chauffeur. He graduated from Black Morehouse College in 1967 with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and went on to earn his masters degree from Purdue University in computer science.
He started out as a computer systems analyst for Coca-Cola in 1978 and later went to work for Pillsbury and became an executive in the company's restaurant and foods group. Later on, he joined a training program at Burger King and although he started at the bottom, he worked his way up to oversee 400 Burger Kings in Philadelphia.
He first gained national attention after arguing with Bill Clinton about his healthcare plan, insisting it would cost many jobs. This made Mr.Cain an important figure, especially to conservatives. Jack Kemp, a leading Republican in Congress, shared his views and when he ran as VP in 1996, Mr.Cain became an advisor to him and Bob Dole’s campaign.
After becoming the co-chairman of Steve Forbes’s unsuccessful presidential campaign, he moved to Georgia to focus on writing books detailing his successful business ventures and political beliefs. Some of his books included Speak as a Leader: Develop the Better Speaker in You (1999), CEO of Self: You’re in Charge (2001) and They Think You’re Stupid: Why Democrats Lost Your Vote and What Republicans Must Do to Keep It (2005). He attempted to earn the Republican nomination for Senate in Georgia in 2004, but lost to Johnny Isakson.
In 2011 he published his memoir This Is Herman Cain! right before preparing for the presidential election. A candidate very different from any other, he caught attention with his “9-9-9” plan, 9% individual income tax rate, 9% corporate tax rate, 9% national sales tax, and even earned himself a surprise victory in a Florida straw poll. He eventually lost to former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney.
He suspended his campaign in 2011 after two former employees of his came forward with sexual misconduct allegations. Although he said the allegations were false, his political downfall had already begun. Ginger White’s allegation of a 13 year affair, which she had phone records to prove, hurt Mr. Cain beyond repair.
In 2013 Cain became a radio host and wrote for conservative cable network, Newsmax and Fox News. In 2016, he became a strong supporter of Mr. Trump who was also an outsider and unlikely candidate. After his death was announced Trump tweeted:
Herman had an incredible career and was adored by everyone that ever met him, especially me. He was a very special man, an American Patriot, and great friend.
Herman Cain lived an exciting and influential life. Many Republicans, including Mitt Romney, have released statements honoring his memory. His hard-work and persistence to fight for the things he believed in did not go unrecognized and his memory will live on for many years after his death.
Presley Berry is a Dual Correspondent for The National Times