Ben Carson To Launch Quixotic, Doomed Campaign For President On May 4th
Ben Carson will be entering the race for President next month, but don't pretend for a minute that he's a serious candidate.
Ben Carson, the Baltimore neurosurgeon who became a conservative media star when he criticized the President at the National Prayer Breakfast several years ago, will enter the Presidential race on May 4th:
Dr. Ben Carson is expected to officially declare his decision on whether to run for president May 4 in his hometown of Detroit.
The event at the Detroit Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts will be ticketed, though a time hasn’t been set, officials said Monday.
Carson, 63, was in Michigan this month to deliver a paid speech at Alma College, and he’s recently appeared in New Hampshire, Iowa and Tennessee, giving a speech at the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association in Nashville this past weekend.
Carson is the only African-American in a long list of presidential hopefuls. He placed fourth among Republican hopefuls in a Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll in late February, gleaning 11.4 percent of votes behind Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky (25.7 percent); Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (21.4 percent) and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (11.5 percent).
Paul, Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida are officially in the running for the Republican nomination, and former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Sunday that she’s seeking the Democratic nomination.
The political action committee backing Carson raised nearly $13.3 million in donations last year, according to campaign finance reports.
Carson’s presidential exploratory committee, formed in early March, brought in more than $2.1 million in its first 28 days, according to a statement by Barry Bennett, the campaign’s manager.
While the report doesn’t precisely state that Carson will be announcing that he’s running for President, it’s obvious that he would not be scheduling an event like this to announce that he wasn’t running. Additionally, other media outlets are reporting that Carson is in fact running, so we can just assume that he will be entering the race along with Cruz, Paul, and Rubio, especially since he had already strongly hinted that he would doing so in September and November of last year.
Carson, of course, has a history of making controversial statements that is likely to follow him into the Presidential race. Just in the past several years, he has equated the Affordable Care Act to the September 11th attacks, made frequent use of Nazi analogies to criticize the President, and said that “progressives” want to turn the United States into Nazi Germany, compared abortion to human sacrifices by civilizations of the past. More recently, he claimed that prison rape is proof that being gay is a choice. Notwithstanding the fact that they are outrageous and largely seem to discredit him as a national candidate, these comments appear to have helped Carson among some segments of the Republican Party as evidence by his showing in this year’s CPAC poll, and the fact that he is currently averaging 9.0% in national polls of the Republican field, just behind Rand Paul and ahead of candidates like Marco Rubio who are obviously more qualified for the Presidency than he is. On the state level, he’s averaging 8% in Iowa and 9.7% in South Carolina, two states with the type of conservative Republican electorate that one expects he’d be likely to appeal to.
That being said, as University of Virginia Professor Larry Sabato notes, Carson simply cannot be considered a serious candidate:
Political observers note that Carson enjoys a grassroots following, name recognition and the attention of right-wing media. His support is strongest among social conservatives and tea party voters, but the first-time campaigner has little chance of backing by the Republican establishment, said Larry J. Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.
“The last president elected who had never been in any elected public office was Dwight Eisenhower, and he was supreme allied commander in World War II. Carson has not led us through any wars,” Sabato said.
“And given all the controversies in his record, it would be Goldwater all over again.”
Sabato is, of course, absolutely right. While Carson will likely get a bump in the polls after his announcement, and will likely also enjoy some time as the media darling of the week at some point during the campaign, he is not going to be a serious candidate for President. He will not be the Republican nominee in 2016, and he will not be the Vice-Presidential running mate in 2016. He is, as I’ve said before, this election cycle’s version of Herman Cain and, much like Cain, one suspects that his campaign will likely crash, burn, and fade away long before Iowans show up to vote at their caucus locations in February 2016.