WASHINGTON, February 19, 2016 — Those who have watched the GOP presidential polls over the past year recognize that Dr. Ben Carson has always maintained a respectable following. Carson was, at one time, in first place in nationwide polls, even higher than Donald Trump.
However, Carson’s numbers declined in late November and early December after the Paris and San Bernadino terrorist attacks. People expressed concern that his soft-spoken demeanor might suggest he wouldn’t be an effective commander in chief.
It was during this time also that the mainstream media began to vigorously attack his biography, questioning whether some things he had claimed were really true. The biographical issues were pretty well resolved, though nobody in the media acknowledged their accusations had proved to be largely unfounded.
Rubio and Cruz seem to have captured many of Carson’s early followers at that point. But even after the decline one thing was certain: A strong base of 6 to 8 percent of GOP voters believe that Carson is the best candidate in the Republican field.
During the fall and early in 2016, all many voters knew about Ben Carson was the man they saw in the debates. Nearly all of the debates thus far have been rough and tumble affairs with moderators clearly more interested in setting up conflict between candidates than providing viewers information on where the candidates stand on the challenges that face the country.
Carson’s commitment not to become involved in mudslinging caused him to get less time in the spotlight than those who argued back and forth over who did what to whom. When he did get a chance to field a substantive question, Carson found it challenging to articulate his policy position in just 60 seconds, something usually accomplished through memorable sound bites.
Following, Carson’s appearance during the Wednesday evening town hall style forum televised by CNN, many voters have taken notice. It’s not unusual to hear “So that is Ben Carson…I like him.” Unfortunately, people who have not seen Carson speak outside of the debates really don’t understand him.
The draft Ben Carson movement began in 2013 after he was invited to give the keynote address at the National Prayer Breakfast, a video of which appears below:
Those who listened to that speech were amazed by what they heard. Three years ago, before Donald Trump or any other candidate had entered the race, Carson articulated the damage that political correctness was doing to our country. He stood just 10 feet away from President Obama and described how Obamacare had begun the negative transformation away from the government working for the people to the government dictating to the people. So many of the things that Trump and Cruz supporters embrace in their candidates were voiced by Carson well before the race began.
The difference today appears to be in the packaging. Unlike some candidates on either side, Carson does not rant and rave. He presents his arguments in a logical fashion and describes the urgency of fixing the problems along with his rational approach to solving them. While Trump and Cruz lash out and divide people, Carson speaks of unifying people.
Only those who have had the opportunity to attend a Carson event or those have seen the CNN town hall debate have really gotten a feel for who Ben Carson is. However, at this point, many people have developed loyalty to another candidate.
Is it too late for a Carson comeback? Will voters get tired of the tiresome political rants and begin to yearn for a candidate who is equally committed to changing Washington D.C. but without all of the anger?
The Internet offers plenty of opportunities for anyone to hear Ben Carson speak. from Carson’s policy proposals to a classic Carson speech, plenty of online opportunities remain to get acquainted with this neglected but worthy Republican candidate.
It does take time to listen, however, and time is a commodity that is precious to most. That said, caucuses and primaries are now coming and going quickly. It will be interesting to see if the many undecided voters in this election year will choose return to Carson in time to keep his candidacy viable.