2016 Candidate Analysis: Ben Carson

Ben Carson occupies a unique niche within the Republican party. And as far as the potential 2016ers, he is the the only African-American, and, apart from Carly Fiorina, the only Non-Politician. At first I thought that a Carson campaign would not be taken seriously, but two things changed my opinion. First, I read his book One Nation, and was very impressed. Second, I saw that a draft Carson super-pac, Run Ben Run, out raised Ready for Hillary in 2014.

  1. Prior Political Victories: F. Carson has never run for office before, and this is an obvious drawback. First, it is unclear what his positions are, and second, he has never been “tested in fire” so to speak. He is prone to gaffes and has never faced the rigor of any campaign, much less the breakneck pace of a Presidential race. The last non-politician to be elected was Dwight Eisenhower, and times have changed dramatically since the 1950’s. This does come with one advantage: He will be able to define himself without worrying about past issues.
  2. Broad Base Support: C. Carson is adored by conservative activists, and respected by moderate members of the party. He is supported by the tea party, the religious right, and many other niches of the party. He has the ability to tap into a number of factions of the party, but he has no one area. The tea party has flashier options like Cruz and Paul, and the Religious Right has battle tested warriors like Santorum and Huckabee. I also doubt that the big donors would back a candidate with no experience.
  3. Enemies: A+. Carson hasn’t been around long enough to develop any enemies, but he has been around long enough to develop a few important friends. He scores high marks on this area.
  4. Fundraising Abilities: A+. One of the few areas that Carson has been tested is in fundraising. A draft Ben Carson PAC out raised Ready for Hillary PAC in 2014, and he has been employed by the Republican National Committee as a fundraiser.
  5. Humility: A+. One of the things that stood out to me in Carson’s book was that he seemed to approach everything he did with a deep aura of true humility.
  6. Clean Record: A. I give Carson an A on this issue because his record is so nonexistent that it is clean. This gives him and his campaign a unique ability to make him whomever he wants to be, and to define himself before they define him. This is a very strong advantage.
  7. Fortitude and Endurance: F. We have know way of knowing anything in this area about Carson, as he has never run a campaign before.

“On the Issues” Political Spectrum

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