Throughout the summer and some of the fall, Donald Trump was the most popular Republican presidential candidate in the media. Trump’s aggressive speech, criticism of other candidates, racist remarks and uncultivated ideas regarding the end of illegal immigration – otherwise known as “the wall” – somehow managed to move him to the top of the polls amongst GOP candidates. Despite the election being a year away, it was looking as though Trump was going to represent the Republicans in the next election. But Trump’s shock value comments have begun to die down. As “Trump madness” starts to subside, Dr. Ben Carson’s support begins to rise.
Carson, an African-American neurosurgeon born in Detroit, has climbed to the top of the national GOP polls, a fact that further points to the lack of support for career politicians on the right. Carson’s story is one that anyone can get behind: he grew up in a rough neighborhood in Detroit, and was no stranger to financial struggles. Miraculously, Carson made it out of his tough situation and attended Yale University, graduating in 1973. Carson then continued his education at the University of Michigan, in order to become a neurosurgeon. Carson is most known for being the first doctor who successfully separated conjoined twins. Now retired, it would seem as if his presidential bid is something to get off of his bucket list.
It’s hard to believe that a black male can run for president as a Republican and actually have a chance of winning. Republicans are dominated by a white male population (64 percent of white males voted Republican in the midterm elections) who may not be historically racist, but often do oppose social issues and policies that black people tend to support. But Ben Carson is different. When voters buy into Carson, they’re buying into an amazing story of a black male who is no stranger to the crime and violence of the Motor City. A white male-dominated Republican Party needs different representation, and who would make a better look for the party than a black male?
Herman Cain was the last black male to dominate the Republican primaries in the 2012 election. He suspended his pursuit of presidency following sexual harassment allegations. Prior to these accusations, Cain was at the top of the polls. So maybe the Republicans have been looking for a new black male to represent the party in a different and more progressive light.
Carson’s race has a lot to do with his current support, but he also plays into the far-right political view that once had people gravitate toward Trump. Another trait he shares with Trump is a penchant for shock value rhetoric – although to be fair, Trump’s seems to be more blatant. Carson came under a lot of deserved scrutiny for his comments on Muslims in politics. He was quoted saying, “The United States should not elect a Muslim president.” To some people, this wouldn’t be a big deal, as I’m sure many people would agree with that, but to the socially conscious majority, this comment shows how Islamophobia is almost a part of American culture, as those who have the most national influence do not support the Islamic religion.
Another of Carson’s flaws is his foreign policy. Like Trump, Carson has failed to make compelling arguments on how to deal with the ISIS threat. At the most recent GOP debate on the FOX business network, Carson channeled his inner Trump by asking the question about how the U.S. needs to make ISIS look like losers. Republicans pride themselves on their foreign policy and their knowledge on how to deal with international threats in a more aggressive manner. Carson does seem in favor of going to war with ISIS, but has not been able to string together a strong argument on how to go about defeating them.
Ben Carson could actually be the next Republican presidential candidate. The Republican Party is in disarray. There are too many candidates with different views and that alone shows the factions that lie within the party. The Republicans allowed two non-politicians take over the front-runner positions in the GOP race. Trump won’t win the primary election because his shock value is wearing thin. If Carson can weather the storm of scrutiny he has been under lately and work on his foreign policy strategy, he very well has a good chance of winning the Republican nomination.