The Case for Ben Carson for President

2016 GOP Primary Could See Intriguing Contender

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He's never been a US Senator, Congressman, or Governor like most Presidents in recent history. He's never even run for elective office, and yet Dr. Ben Carson has become the most well-liked Republican candidate in the Republican field, and it isn't even close. That has slowly led to a consistent rise on the polls as outsider candidates have dominated the early election cycle.

Who is Ben Carson?

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 when he was tapped to be the keynote speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast. Speaking just before President Obama - and with the President sitting just feet away - Carson blasted the direction of the country with not-so-subtle hits at the Obama agenda. The speech was a hit with conservatives who admired his boldness and soft-spoken strength. 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 America. Since 2010, voters have become more attracted to candidates not of the political world and this could be a benefit.

Obamacare remains unpopular and Carson is especially strong and persuasive on healthcare issues. Who better to effectively tear apart Obamacare than one of the most famous surgeons in the world?

In the first presidential debate, Carson gave a very specific and detailed answer about what he would do on healthcare.

Courage. Carson also had enough guts to stand feet away from the President and blast the direction of the country while simultaneously advocating for a flat tax. (He also apparently received his first IRS visit following the speech, but that was probably just a coincidence.) Carson has also been a rationale voice on race relations, perhaps one of the more important aspects of a potential nomination. After years of racial divisiveness under the Obama administration, could a President Carson help bridge the gap?

Perhaps most importantly, Carson 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. The Christian voter block is key to Republican victory, yet constantly ignored. As a result, they have stayed home in greater numbers each year. This is something that Carson could tap into in both the primary and general election.

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. Carson is also not especially strong on foreign policy, but that isn't an especially unique problem. (Only the US Senators seem to have a grasp of international relations, but they frequently deal with the subject.)

2016 Presidential Run Odds:

Since his 2013 National Prayer Breakfast speech, Carson has been busy building his conservative credentials. He came in a competitive 4th in the first money race disclosure, raising more than $10M. His polling has been strong both nationally and in Iowa through September, and only continues to improve. He was well-received following the first debate after delivering a few moments of laughter.

His popularity if absolutely through the roof. The question is, can a political newcomer pull off a presidential victory?

He doesn't have the natural allies that politician-candidates normally have. That means most of the ground-game is up to him. He held up well during the first debate, so that gets many moving from liking Carson to feeling comfortable with him as a nominee. Perhaps the best news for Carson is that his rise in polls and popularity has come without him being a flashy figure. This differentiates him from many of the surge candidates of both the past (Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich) and the present (Donald Trump.)