Earlier today, the main group “urging” a Hillary for President campaign – and offering up creepy bumper stickers and apparel – noted they raised $1.7M in the first 3 months of 2014. The group has raised less than $6M since their launch roughly a year ago. That’s not really great for a candidate dominating her primary opoonents and leading most of the Republicans. Which brings us to….
Ben Carson. He’s never been a US Senator, Congressman, or Governor like most US Presidents in recent history. He’s never even tried for elective office, and so the US Presidency seems like a bit of a stretch. Yet Dr. Ben Carson is quietly building a formidable support base that could yield results in 2016. In fact, a group supporting his efforts raised an impressive $3M-ish in just 6 months last year, putting the Carson draft neck-and-neck with the ready for Hillary crowd.
2016 GOP Primary Could See Intriguing Contender
He’s never been a US Senator, Congressman, or Governor like most Presidents in recent history. He’s never even tried for elective office, and so the US Presidency seems like a bit of a stretch. Yet Dr. Ben Carson is quietly building a formidable support base that could yield results in 2016.
Dr. Benjamin Carson is a world-class pediatric neurosurgeon known for a wildly successful medical career. In 1987 he became the first surgeon to successfully separate craniopagus conjoined twins, and a bulk of his work also focused on advancing techniques to minimize or eliminate epileptic seizures. His life story and achievements were portrayed in a 2009 movie starring Cuba Gooding Jr. On the national political scene, Carson was mostly unknown until early 2013 at the National Prayer Breakfast where he was the keynote speaker. Speaking just before President Obama – and with the President sitting just feet away – Carson basically blasted the direction of the country with not-so-subtle hits at the Obama agenda. The speech was a hit with conservatives who admires his boldness and that’s where the Ben Carson political story starts.
Arguments for Carson
Carson is obviously brilliant and his life story is compelling. While a lack of political experience could be seen as a drawback, in today’s world it could be equally advantageous. Politicians are among the most distrusted and dis-liked people in the world. Since 2010, voters have become more attracted to candidates not of the political world and this could be a benefit. Since the Obama administration continues to push back Obamacare deadlines, who better to lead the charge against the law – and offer solutions – than one of the most famous surgeons in the world? He also had enough guts to stand feet away from the President and blast the direction of the country while simultaneously advocating a flat tax. (He also apparently received his first IRS visit following the speech, but that was probably just a coincidence.) He is not afraid of speaking his mind or about his faith, something not seen in a Presidential candidate since George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. That voter block is key to Republican victory, yet constantly ignored. As a result, they have stayed home in greater numbers each year.
Arguments Against Carson:
For conservatives, a lack of political record also means he is a relatively blank slate. Without a long political track record, how can he be legitimately scrutinized? Also, without political campaign and debate experience, the question of how he would handle political situations is also a mystery. On the issues, some conservatives have pointed to his iffy stances on the 2nd Amendment and gun rights.
Since his 2013 National Prayer Breakfast speech, Carson has been busy building his conservative credentials. There wouldn’t really be much reason to do so at this stage in his life and career if he weren’t considering a run. A PAC supporting a Carson candidacy also raised an impressive $3M-ish in its first 6 months of operation. In a poll of potential first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucus voters, Carson finished in the top tier of candidates that also included Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, and Rand Paul. He was ahead of one-time front-runner Chris Christie. At CPAC in 2014, Carson finished 3rd in attendee voting behind Rand Paul and Ted Cruz after giving another well-received speech.
Carson may be a dark-horse Presidential candidate, but he could be a front-runner for any Presidential ticket. Perhaps intriguing to many is the prospect of Carson as a vice-presidential pick. With little foreign policy or national political experience, Carson could have a difficult time convincing voters at the top of the ticket he is qualified. But imagine the force Carson could be as the healthcare expert on the ticket and the guy tapped to fix what Obamacare destroyed? There has never really been such an impressive medical resume on a presidential ticket, and who could be more convincing on the campaign trail than a world-renowned neurosurgeon who loves children and education? Plus, the guy successfully separated two humans that were conjoined at the head. And what is more awesome than that?