Atlanta, GA – There was a time in the Republican Party when many decided they did not want to vote for a guy who screams crazy things, so they started supporting Ben Carson, a guy who whispers crazy things.
Doctor Ben Carson, just like Dr. Jekyll, was a great and well respected doctor; an all-around good guy that everybody liked and respected both professionally and personally. When he announced his run for the presidency, however, many people didn’t really know what to say. He had said in the past that although he might run, he didn’t really want to be president, but if he did get in it would be because hundreds of thousands of people had asked him to join the race.
Doctor Carson’s campaign emails in the early days often would state that he was the new Berry Goldwater, a candidate who didn’t want the job, but was going to be handed it by the people. Of course, the emails didn’t mention how badly Goldwater lost the election.
Doctor Carson began rising in the polls last year, while at the same time stealing Donald Trump’s playbook; say whatever comes to mind, and your poll numbers automatically go up.
His Hitler comments rocked the nation, as did his awkward pronouncements that the pyramids were silos for grain. But Carson’s numbers began to dwindle beneath the staying power of Donald Trump, and soon the good doctor was playing second fiddle to the backup band.
He refused to give up however, and in Iowa, when several campaigns interpreted him going home, (usually a precursor to dropping out) as a precursor to his dropping out, he started making hay, attacking Ted Cruz as somehow having stolen Iowa, which Carson never had a chance of winning, away from him.
Now, that is pretty much over. Doctor Carson has at last bowed to circumstances and poll numbers, which have him running behind the purple unicorn, and dropped out. But we are left pondering the phenomenon that let him stay near the top of the polls, if even for such a brief period of time.
Carson has no experience, he is not a great speaker, nor is he an interesting one. So why did so many people rally around him for so long? In the end, for the same reason they are rallying to Carson’s personal polar opposite-Donald Trump. America wants to kick Washington and all involved with it to kingdom come, they don’t care how it’s done, nor who does it, whether a billionaire or a brain surgeon.
For all the difference in their personalities-indeed the candidates are almost Jekyll and Hyde by comparison-Carson and Trump supporters are pretty much the same. The platforms the men have been running on are also very similar, shallow on substance, long on promises that things will be different.
Come November, they will be. In what way remains to be seen.
Andrew C. Abbott