Herman Cain at Dartmouth Debate
Herman Cain Reuters

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain believes he can win the support of many black voters, including Southern black voters. Don't believe for a minute that he can't.

Not in the Republican primary, of course. Southern blacks don't vote in Republican primary elections. Not yet, anyway.

But if Cain's momentum continues, and enough Republican voters pour money and support to the former Godfather's Pizza CEO who surging in polls as a formidable contender in the GOP presidential nomination race, everything would change in a national general election.

Herman Cain vs. Barack Obama.

That general election race likely writes a new chapter in how Southern blacks vote.

With two African-American candidates on the ballot as the only legitimate choices come November 2012, Cain, a Baptist minister from Atlanta, Georgia, could rerwrite historical U.S. voter behavior. And if he does, Cain would likely land in the White House. He certainly thinks so, saying in an interview today that he can siphon black votes from Obama.

Given a choice between the two African American candidates, one need only to consider that the Southern black vote drives to the poll from churches across the region, including North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi to Louisiana.

These voters are Democrats, but they are not liberals, like Democrats from Massachusetts.

From spending most of a lifetime in the South, I learned that most black Southern voters are conservative. They align closely with the ideals of Cain, who's never been elected to public office. He is a compelling speaker, with a Sunday morning pulpit flair, and a solid, honest economic approach.

Cain is the son of a father who left the farm at the age of 18 with just the clothes on his back. His mother worked as a domestic. He's battled cancer, and corporate boards as a CEO. Now, he's battling the historical tendency of his own -- Southern black voters who rarely cast a ballot in favor of a Republican.

They'll watch him in the primary race, hoping he gets to the top. Having two African Americans running for President just one election after the nation made history by electing its first American American to serve as President of the United States would be the most significant sign yet that yes, we have come along way since Rosa Parks, James Meredith, and the Civil Rights movement.

But if Cain gets to the general election -- look out. Southern black voters have more in common with Cain than they do with Obama. He talks straight to voters on issues regarding health care and taxes. He looks them in the eye, if you will. Yes, he's a Republican party economic dream, he's so solid in business agenda, with items like his 9-9-9 tax plan. But he's also a Southern black voter dream, in many respects, when one looks beyond the R.

He's a Southern Baptist preacher. He's a Southern resident. He understands that the Southern black and blacks throughout America are being economically left behind. He's black. And he's not afraid to talk about it, or the challenges facing blacks, whites, Hispanics and all of America.

Cain understands that economics remain are greatest divide, and that we are sinking as a nation without a solid plan for solid footing.

Obama's agenda hasn't solved economic troubles plaguing the Southern black community. Unemployment is rising faster than that of the general populous. Credit is barely available at all. Opportunity is shrinking as the first black president ever lives in the White House.

Cain believes he has some solutions. Southern blacks voters are likely to listen, if Cain makes it to he general election to face Obama.