The success of so-called “outsider” candidates has been a feature of the GOP presidential nominee race. So far, Donald Trump has won almost every poll since he entered the race. That changed this week.
Until now, it was possible to put the success of complete f**kwits like Trump, Mike Huckabee, and Ted Cruz down to name recognition. When someone like Carly Fiorina was noticed in the debates and talked about in the media, she went into the mix too. Currently Fiorina’s not being talked about nationally, so her numbers have slid a bit.
However, both the latest Quinnipiac University poll and the highly respected Des Moines Register poll have come out this week with Carson well ahead in Iowa. Given that Carson was politically a virtual unknown before his controversial speech at the National Prayer Breakfast on 5 February 2015, it may be that this is a sign of genuine traction with voters. (Although I’m still struggling with the fact that the US has a thing called the “National Prayer Breakfast” in the first place. Surely the fact that it’s seen the rise of Carson to political prominence is reason enough to ban it, quite apart from constitutional reasons.)
It may be that Carson has actually been leading in Iowa for longer than just the last week or so too. A ‘Club for Growth’ super-pac poll was released on 6 October that showed him well in the lead, but was dismissed by pundits because it was used by them to claim that their US$1 million worth of TV ads opposing Donald Trump’s support for eminent domain laws was working. However, the release of two quality polls showing even better results for Carson indicates he may have been leading in Iowa for a while now.
Iowa is traditionally the first state to caucus in the January before the election and a win there is sought after by contenders. GOP caucus voters there are dominated by evangelical Christians. According to Vox:
The key to winning the Republican Iowa caucuses is winning the evangelical vote. Though evangelical or born-again Christians make up about a quarter of the state’s population, they made up 57 percent of GOP caucus attendees in 2012 and 60 percent in 2008, according to entrance polls.
In 2008 the state was won by Mike Huckabee and in 2012 Rick Santorum was successful there. Both have strong appeal to evangelical voters, as does Carson.
Overall, Trump continues to bleed female voters (see what I did there – that was for you Megyn Kelly), and they appear to be going to Carson. According to the Quinnipiac survey, Trump has only 13% of female voters while Carson has 33%. Trump and Carson are doing equally well will male voters though – 24% vs 25% respectively. Carson has 32% of self-identified Tea Party voters, while Trump scores 20% with them. The other big difference in their supporters is with White Born-Again and Evangelical voters and those who identify as “very conservative.” Carson has 36% and 32% of those respectively in Iowa; Trump 17% and 16% respectively. In fact, Ted Cruz also beats Trump with both Tea Party (21%) and very conservative (18%) voters. Marco Rubio beats Trump with women voters (15%) along with Carson.
So the news is out: Trump is vulnerable and can be beaten.
Now it’s understandable that Carson would appeal to the Republican caucus voters of Iowa. They don’t care about the controversial positions he’s taken on several issues. In fact, as this portion of the Des Moines Register survey shows, they positively revel in them:
It’s pretty scary so many people with the ability to vote hold these opinions. The Des Moines Register poll showed that these views are normal amongst GOP caucus voters. 69% thought it was unacceptable for a Muslim to be president of the United States (25% acceptable), and 75% think the Benghazi investigation is worth the time and money (19% don’t).
What’s an awful lot scarier is that Carson believes that his god, the Christian God who thinks the bizarre Seventh Day Adventist sect he belongs to are the chosen people, is behind all this:
You heard that right. This is what he said:
I said, Lord, I don’t particularly want to do this … but if you want me to do it open the doors and I’ll walk through them. And if you close the doors, I’ll sit down. And the doors began flying open, much to the consternation of all the professional class and all the pundits, who said it’s impossible, you can’t possibly put together a national organization as a political neophyte, you don’t know any of the people, you’ve no money, you can’t do it. It’s impossible. Forget it. And yet, you see, it’s happening. And they don’t understand the power of God.
Carson has made a series of controversial political statements, but disagreeing with someone politically isn’t a reason for them to be dismissed as I do Carson. Carson is unfit to hold high political office because of statements like the one above. Many people won’t see anything wrong with his statement – declarations of faith in US political candidates have become a requirement for public office.
But let’s just replace Carson’s faith in his god with Santa, fairies, or a deceased grandparent. Would people still look so benignly on his statements? No. They’d be seeking psychological of psychiatric help for him. Carson either believes his god is literally giving him messages to run for president or he’s lying. Either way it’s seriously problematic.
The First Amendment of their Constitution is the most admirable thing about the United States. Candidates like Carson who want to ride rough-shod over that are dangerous. He likes the look of a theocracy – a Christian theocracy. Be careful what you wish for USA – you just might get it.