UPDATE 11/7: According to ABC, Dr. Carson has officially announced his candidacy for President
After securing his place as an underdog candidate for 2016, Dr. Ben Carson officially switched from independent affiliation to the Republican Party on election day. With a small but outspoken portion of conservative voters hoping Carson will make a bid for the White House, Tuesday’s official switch could indicate a big step in that direction.
Carson, a pediatric neurosurgeon and bestselling author, made national waves last year when he gave a speech at a National Prayer Breakfast that some perceived as critical of the administration. A cursory look at Dr. Carson’s books reveals that he is a tried-and-true conservative who would have little in common with the beliefs championed by the White House. Carson claimed he was asked to apologize to the president following the breakfast, an invitation he declined.
Carson outlined his beliefs in an interview Tuesday, insisting that when it came to the Republican Party, “the fit is pretty good.” He said that his beliefs include support for “reasonable sized government,” individual responsibility, and the free market. He said that although he grew up a Democrat, he changed party affiliations after listening to the speeches of Ronald Reagan. He chose to go independent after the impeachment of President Clinton left a bad taste in his mouth.
Now he’s back, and more than a few conservatives hope he’s got some political gusto in the tank. Never having held public office, Carson will have a tough time of the primaries, to say nothing of the general election. It’s not an automatic disqualifier, but it would put Carson in rare company if he managed to pull the ultimate upset; only 7 other presidents in history can claim the same.
I’m not convinced yet that Carson is the best candidate we can put forward in 2016, but there are a couple of reasons I’d like to see him make a strong showing. One, it would be hilarious to watch liberals try to explain why Republican voters were suddenly so not-racist. They’ve played the race card so many times in the last decade that a black Republican presidential nominee would throw a huge monkey wrench into their narrative. Two, the man has an intelligent energy about him that is undeniably refreshing. He has a penchant for exaggeration that I don’t love, but he’s not in outer space like Ann Coulter.
With each passing day, the GOP field grows more and more intriguing. Bush, Paul, Cruz, Christie, Perry, Huckabee, and Ryan are among the potential candidates getting most of the publicity. Each one of them brings a different style to the table. With Carson in the mix and the ever-present rumors of a Romney comeback, Republican voters will not have a lack of options in 2016.