}

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Has Carson just quit?

I’ve had a rule in my posts about the campaigns for the nomination for US President in both parties: I don’t post about any presidential candidate dropping out until the mainstream media officially report it, which usually happens after the candidate makes an announcement. But today Ben Carson, the Don Quixote on the Republican Clown Bus, seems to have dropped out of the race, though the media isn’t sure. He released this statement on his website*:
I have decided not to attend the Fox News GOP Presidential Debate tomorrow night in Detroit. Even though I will not be in my hometown of Detroit on Thursday, I remain deeply committed to my home nation, America. I do not see a political path forward in light of last evening’s Super Tuesday primary results. However, this grassroots movement on behalf of “We the People” will continue. Along with millions of patriots who have supported my campaign for President, I remain committed to Saving America for Future Generations. We must not depart from our goals to restore what God and our Founders intended for this exceptional nation.

I appreciate the support, financial and otherwise, from all corners of America. Gratefully, my campaign decisions are not constrained by finances; rather by what is in the best interests of the American people.

I will discuss more about the future of this movement during my speech on Friday at CPAC in Washington, D.C.
It’s certainly not unusual for Carson to say something and for normal people to have no friggin’ idea what he just said. So, does “I do not see a political path forward in light of last evening’s Super Tuesday primary results” mean he’s quitting? Particularly since he’s not attending the debate? I’ve decided to break with my own rules and say, yes, he’s out.

Because, why on earth would he remain in the campaign?!

Despite being the darling of far-right Christians at one point, Carson never—ever—stood any chance whatsoever of winning the Republican presidential nomination. He made so many incredibly stupid—and even downright bizarre—statements over the years that he just couldn't be taken seriously by anyone.

The most ardently politically religious among the USA’s far-right Christians backed every other candidate other than Carson—Cruz, most obviously, but also Rubio and even Trump (!). Like most voters, they want to back a candidate who might actually win, and Ben “Mumbles” Carson was never going to win the nomination, much less the presidency.

One could speculate about why he stayed so long in a clearly hopeless campaign, but if I was to bet, it would be that the answer will be revealed in his promised CPAC speech: He’s probably morphing his campaign for office into some other sort of religious/political crusade that will pay him well. That’s what a great many failed Republican candidates have done, so there’s definitely precedent for that.

So, now what? Who stands to gain from Carson’s departure? Everyone and no one. Carson did so badly that his votes could all go to one candidate and it would probably make little difference. However, it would probably help Rubio the most: If Carson’s supporters all backed Rubio, it might help him come in second all the time, but it wouldn't help him beat Trump.

Rubio will probably get some of Carson’s support, but him being promoted as the candidate of the elites in the Republican Party means that Carson’s support would most likely go to Cruz and Trump. Again, not enough to help Cruz beat Trump, but maybe enough to keep trading second place with Rubio.

The one least likely to gain from Carson’s exit is John Kasich. Although a radical right Christian, too, he’s trying to position himself as a “moderate” (yeah, right…), and that just won’t play well with the aggressively religious base of the Republican Party (that whole hiding one’s light under a bushel thing).

So: Mumbles the Clown is gone. Good riddance! Even though all the Republican clowns candidates are rightwing radicals, and most of them are aggressively religious theocrats, Carson combined all that with a proudly-held ignorance of the US Constitution, of history, and even—weirdest of all—of science.

So, Bye Felicia. Don’t let the door pinch you on the way off the bus!

Now, who do we contact to store grain in the Egyptian pyramids?

*The link above is to Mother Jones, because I won’t link to Carson’s site in any way whatsoever; the link above, however, has a link to his site.

Update: Not long after I wrote this post, AP reported on the story, with a bit of equivocation: “Ben Carson said he is effectively ending his bid for the White House Wednesday…” Effectively? Yeah, not even the AP was sure what Carson was saying.

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