What explains the riddle that is Dr. Ben Carson? The retired neurosurgeon turned Republican presidential candidate has consistently been polling second best in a field of 16 prospects, only trailing Donald Trump. Oh, and Dr. Carson is black. Don’t Republicans have a serious issue with our current president’s ebony complexion?
In a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, Carson is running nearly even with the frontrunner, Trump, 23% to 27%. The two “non-politicians” are head and shoulders above the remaining field of established politicians (excluding Fiorina).
The man who some have called as exciting as watching grass grow, continues to baffle political pundits. While his slow, carefully calibrated speech may make for good bedside manners, it doesn’t square with the type of presidential persona most Republican voters say they are looking for; hence, the huge support for the egomaniac Trump.
To understand Carson’s appeal, one needs to understand how deeply religious is this man. After all, this is the candidate who said he is only running for office because God directed him to do so (God Made Me Do It!).
A Gallup poll conducted from Aug. 1 to Sept. 8 on Republican candidates based on religiosity showed that Trump got a net satisfaction rating of 22 percent, compared to Ben Carson who topped it with 56 percent. While Trump likes to boast about his strong support among Evangelicals, Carson’s net favorability rating among the highly religious is over two and a half times higher than Trump’s.
To the highly religious conservative voter, it appears a candidate’s level of religiosity “trumps” all else… experience, enthusiasm for the job, policy positions, etc. In a way, Carson is like Trump… just as inexperienced and radical, but without the bombast.
Voters shouldn’t be fooled by Carson’s quiet, gentle exterior. The good doctor’s views in many ways are more extreme than Trump’s. Inside the chest of the acclaimed neurosurgeon beats the heart of a true right-wing fundamentalist.
One thing’s for sure. With Dr. Carson continuing to be a fixture in the Republican presidential debates, look for the sale of sleep aids to slump.
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