Eyes That See

“I Once Was Blind”

Ben Carson for President?

bccurrentI think that Ben Carson would make a fine president of the United States of America.

Dr. Carson is an incredibly intelligent, accomplished man who rose from humble beginnings to become the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Dr. Carson is obviously intelligent, he seems to be very principled, and he garnered much conservative attention and praise for his 2013 keynote address at the National Prayer Breakfast. I believe that a President Carson would be wise, humble, and confident enough to put the right people around him to both compliment his strengths and compensate for his weaknesses – which are most notably lack of military or political experience.

But I do not think that he will be President Carson, or at least not in 2016, because I do not think he can win the Republican primary. Here’s why:

The Republican Party is a coalition of people who are Republicans for different reasons, and I think Hugh Hewitt has a good paradigm for understanding this coalition with his “Six-Party System.” Hewitt identifies that the three key groups of Republicans are identified by their primary priority when it comes to politics and government: the Party of Faith, the Party of Wealth, and the Party of National Security. In 2006, Hewitt added that an Immigration and Border Security faction was  growing, and I would add that there is now a growing libertarian wing in the GOP.

My two main concerns for Dr. Carson’s potential campaign are that 1) I think he will have little success winning votes outside of the Party of Faith crowd, and 2) there is an abundant supply of potential candidates vying for Party of Faith votes. Let’s look at how these five groups within the GOP – libertarians, immigration & border security, national security, wealth, and faith – may view Dr. Carson.

Assuming he runs, Senator Rand Paul will have a lock on the libertarian votes in the GOP primary, which fortunately for Sen. Paul represents a somewhat decent floor for his candidacy but unfortunately also represents most of its ceiling, in my opinion. Dr. Carson is likely to struggle with the libertarian wing of the GOP if he has to compete with Sen. Paul for their votes.

Immigration Enforcement and Border Security voters may give Dr. Carson a shot, but will likely be looking for a candidate with an applicable track record – which Dr. Carson simply does not have.

I think Dr. Carson would appoint a stellar Secretary of Defense and lean on a strong support team of military and foreign policy advisors, so that this potential weakness would be mitigated in his presidency. Dr. Carson has also demonstrated that he understands the threat of Islamic terrorism. However, I doubt Dr. Carson will be anywhere near the top of the list for GOP primary voters whose main concern is National Security, especially in the wake of the fiasco that has been the Obama/Clinton/Kerry foreign policy. Russia, China, Iran, Islamic terrorists, etc. have National Security Republicans begging for a strong Commander in Chief.

Party of Wealth voters will likely want a “known commodity” and support someone more along the Mitt Romney/Jeb Bush mold. Dr. Carson is simply not their guy.

All of which leaves Dr. Carson vying for votes in the Party of Faith crowd, potentially with the likes of Cruz, Jindal, Huckabee, Walker, Rubio, Santorum et al with all of the GOP candidates saying what the Party of Faith wants to hear and a chunk of Party of Faith voters looking to non-Party of Faith candidates for who will be the “most electable” option in November.

Therefore, I would put Dr. Carson’s chances in the 2016 GOP primary as “slim-to-none.” That said, I hope that he has a significant influence on the GOP primary, either as a candidate or with the field vying for his endorsement – either of which would benefit both the GOP and the country, and could also be an avenue toward a cabinet position such as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

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February 22, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment