“Dr. Ben Carson is a crazy, homophobic, Islamophobic, misogynistic bigot!” Such is the narrative that secular progressive propaganda outlets are selling. The problem the leftists have is that Carson has thoughtful and intelligent reasoning that automatically counter-punches when liberals attack him. He “hates gay people” because he affirms obvious natural sexual biology and he affirms the whole-Bible message of traditional 1-man & 1-woman marriage. Carson “hates Muslims” because he doesn’t an American president who will further circumvent the U.S. Constitution. He wants to advance the “War on women” because he won’t support public funding of killing unborn people. Carson is Teflon, and his Teflon is bonded to obviously armor-plated reason.
Statistically, Dr. Carson is tied with front-runner Donald Trump in the latest national polls. Much to the consternation of the leftist media, their increasing attacks on Carson have only increased his popularity. Particularly important at this point in the 2016 election cycle, the liberal attacks have increased small-donor fund-raising. In one week of being attacked on the “Muslim president” issue, Dr. Carson took in a ½ -million dollars from small donors. Success breeds success. With the high poll numbers and foundering of big-name candidates, the donor-class is looking more and more favorably at Carson. This would sound like the results of a master politician. It would not sound like a novice politician running for the highest political office on earth.
So, what is the source of Ben Carson’s political Teflon? The answer can be found by examining the field of contenders and how their campaigns are doing and then comparing Carson to them. If you listen to even the most novice political candidates, you will find that politicians employ “message discipline” through published talking-points and highly practice speeches and responses to anticipated questions. This behind-the-scenes training by savvy political operatives assures that their message doesn’t get derailed by reporter questions or campaign stops where voter questions might be televised. The problem with the work of political advisers is that they produce what is obviously a “canned” candidate.
One reason Donald Trump ascended to the top of the poles is his plain-spokenness before an electorate that is disgusted with the conduct of the political class in America. What Trump lacked in warmth, depth and detail, he made up for in his rejection of politics-as-usual and bold positions on hot-button issues. Today, Trump has descended from stratospheric polling heights in the high 30’s to within 1-point of Ben Carson. Trump’s descent can be tied to changing perceptions of the electorate. There is also growing involvement and interest from the Evangelical community toward Carson.
After the first two debates, Carson achieved some of the best polling information a presidential candidate could imagine. Carson came across as thoughtful and likable, but also strong and aligned with very popular GOP positions. While he stumbled in managing the media on hot-button issues, Carson has since made thoughtful and firm statements favoring pro-life, pro-gun and sensible immigration policy. While being public on conservative positions, Carson’s empathetic demeanor has earned him very high favorability marks as seen in recent Gallup polling:
“Carson, whom half of Republicans are familiar with, nonetheless enjoys a net favorability — the difference between a candidate’s favorable and unfavorable ratings — of +40, among the highest of all the candidates, meaning Carson is exceptionally well-liked among the smaller subset of Republicans who know him”*
The bump in fund-raising was a self-inflicted wound to leftist media outlets. The more they concentrate on demeaning the front-runner and outsider candidates, the more popularity and money the left-media raises for their intended victims. The other candidates are largely political or business successes seeking to translate their past into a presidential win. After his famous stand at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast in front of President Obama, Ben Carson was all but drafted into the race, coming from a world-famous medical career, and fame from the rags-to-riches story of his inner-city Detroit upbringing. Washington Post reporter Amber Phillips offers a concise summary,
“The answer has less to do with Carson’s skill as a candidate and more to do with his background and fortunate timing. Carson has arguably the best non-political background in the field, and he’s running for president in an election in which there are so many candidates on the GOP side that it’s going to be incredibly tough for one person to command much of a lead.”**
To be successful in the GOP primaries, many candidates pander to the large Evangelical populations in Iowa and South Carolina. When Carson speaks on matters of faith, it comes from a genuine place that relates to faith-centered voters with sincerity. Ben Carson is a member of an Adventist Christian church, and describes his beliefs in a way that appeals to Christians whether devout or cultural. He states that his faith is less about doctrine and more about his relationship with God in a recent CNN interview:
He described himself as “not a real religious person.”
“I’m a person who has a deep and abiding faith and relationship with God,” he said. “But I’m not really into a lot of religious dogma and rituals — ‘you can’t do that, and you can’t do this.’ I don’t believe in that. I believe you have to have a deep and abiding faith in God.”***
For voters of all stripes, Ben Carson offers a very unique package, and that appears to have pushed him to the front of the primary contenders. More debates are scheduled, the paid advertising phase is about to go into full-swing, and the 24/7 news channels will certainly increase scrutiny of a predictably shrinking field of candidates. For Christian voters, applying their faith at the ballot-box is often a personal and intimate decision that is prayed over. Having a candidate to vote for, who approaches life with a similar reverence for God, may be the most important part of the package.
Exodus 18:21 (NLT)
21 But select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten.
*Dugan, A. (2015, 07 24). Among Republicans, GOP Candidates Better Known Than Liked. Retrieved 09 30, 2015, from gallup.com: http://www.gallup.com/poll/184337/among-republicans-gop-candidates-better-known-liked.aspx
***Henderson, N.-M. (2015, 09 25). Inside Ben Carson's religious faith. Retrieved 09 30, 2015, from CNN.com: http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/25/politics/ben-carson-2016-religion/
**Phillips, A. (2015, 06 05). Why is Ben Carson doing so well in the polls? Retrieved 09 30, 2015, from washingtonpost.com: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/06/05/why-is-ben-carson-doing-so-well-in-the-polls/