Farewell Dr. Ben Carson

Yes, he briefly surged into a lead in the polls for the Republican nomination, and, to his credit, he never stooped to name-calling that has characterized the Repub race. Heck, he never even interrupted to get extra time during debates (which, unfortunately, because rudeness pays, meant he got less speaking time than those who were willing to interrupt and to keep talking after their time expired).

But Dr. Ben Carson today announced his withdrawal from the race for the 2016 GOP nomination. He did not adopt the current stylized language of “suspending” his campaign. He announced that he would not participate in the next debate (this Thursday evening) and that: “I do not see a political path forward in light of last evening’s Super Tuesday primary results.”

His support base had dwindled so much that this is unlikely to affect the race much. He seemed to draw support from evangelical Christians, so his withdrawal could benefit Sen. Ted Cruz, but also from those looking for an “outsider” to the Republican establishment, so that might cause some supporters to consider Donald Trump. On the other hand, apparently a poll conducted by “Morning Consult” indicated that Marco Rubio (who was the second choice of 25 percent of Carson supporters) might benefit more than Trump (who was the second choice of 19 percent). Cruz led in this soon-to-disappear category of second choice of Carson voters with 29 percent. Given how few Carson supporters were still in the mix, a difference of 10 percentage in a race to be the second choice of disappointed Carson backers amounts to little.

Carson had won eight delegates to the Republican Convention, so those are up for grabs. This leaves just four active candidates (and while I’m naming them I’ll throw in their current delegate totals): Trump (334 delegates), Cruz (233), Rubio (116), and John Kasich (25). (I took the delegates counts for the first from fivethirtyeight.com, but they didn’t have a figure for Kasich so I looked elsewhere.)

A small but obvious point. As I was watching the results late last night, I recall Megyn Kelly interject as breaking news hot off the wire that “Ben Carson is not dropping out.” The point is that no one ever says they might drop out until they actually do. Until anyone actually “suspends,” all statements that they are staying in should be taken as meaningless.

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/02/2016 - 02:31 pm.

    Ben Carson will be remembered

    mostly for his spectacular overestimation of his importance.
    He seemed to feel that all that he had to do was get up and recite his life story and everyone would bow before him an acclaim him President. He’s just not nearly as well known as he thought he was.
    Of course, it’s also possible that he was simply and cynically flogging his books and presentations, and never expected to be taken seriously as a nominee. Hopefully it’s not that simple — I’d like to think better of him as a person, if not as a politician.

  2. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/02/2016 - 02:43 pm.

    Getting what you want, finally….

    From June, 2015


    “I really don’t want to do this, to be honest with you,” Carson, one of a dozen or so conservatives who hopes to capture the GOP presidential nomination, said to a town hall crowd of more than 100 Iowa voters on Friday. “I was looking forward to a relaxing retirement, you know, with a beautiful home in Florida by a golf course.”

    When asked about how his Christian faith could influence his decisions as president, Carson explained the role his religion has played in declaring his candidacy.

    “I finally said, ‘Lord, I don’t want to do this, but if you’re going to open the doors, I will go through with it,’” he said.

    Carson went on to describe a laundry list of things he was planning to do during his retirement, including reading books, learning to play the organ and finally watching “The Godfather” and “Rocky.”

    “People are always shocked. They say ‘You never saw “The Godfather,” you never saw “Rocky”?’ I didn’t have time to see that,” Carson said as the crowd erupted in laughter.

    Carson has been emphasizing his reluctance to run for president for a while now — actually, since before he even formally jumped into the race. Asked in March how he’d feel if his campaign flopped, Carson told the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons: “I would say ‘Whew!’ because it’s not something I ever really wanted to do, and the only reason I’d consider it is because there’s so many people across the nation clamoring for me to do it.”


    (end quote)

  3. Submitted by Roy Everson on 03/02/2016 - 06:04 pm.

    Legacy of Dr. Ben

    Here is a man who will be remembered for gentle soul, humility and thoughtulness. Some will recall some sympathy for him when damaged by dirty tricks in Iowa. Few will retain the fact that his popularity rose immediately after his expressions of religious bigotry against Muslims.

    Too bad he didn’t get to see The Godfather before running. He might have learned some useful things from the don to prepare him for the Donald.

    • Submitted by Dan Hintz on 03/03/2016 - 03:12 pm.


      I can’t think of too many people with less humility than Carson, who has a ridiculously inflated opinion of himself. The guy has a painting of himself with Jesus in his house.

      Carson’s true legacy will be his weird lies about his formative years, his extremely cruel positions on LGBT issues, and his clownish statements about grain storage pyramids and secret electric pulse weapons.

      The only downside of him leaving the race is no longer having his ample comedic material available for SNL skits.

  4. Submitted by Jim Million on 03/02/2016 - 06:19 pm.

    Final Sentence

    Well, I saw Dr. Carson briefly address what might bring him to drop out of the race.
    He was not specific about triggers, but general about circumstances.

    I did watch various pundits report that he had said he would stay in as long as there was a purpose to it.

    Speculation as late as yesterday was he might be a cabinet member candidate when all is settled. He’s a good man who would serve well in several positions, perhaps.

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