We aren’t even into 2015 yet, and already people are being coy about their likely 2016 presidential runs. Of course, making your intentions known early is a smart move for relatively unknown political players, who will need an extended period to introduce themselves to the voters, try to woo donors and supporters early before they declare support for other candidates and to do general profile raising.
Then again, for some contenders, profile raising is as far as they are going to get in this race. One example is Tea Party activist Ben Carson, an African American conservative pundit and doctor, as well as a newly mined social conservative darling. Carson, who is known best for panning President Barack Obama at the 2013 Presidential Prayer Breakfast, recently quit his Fox News commentator position after a publishing both a book and a film biography that screams “2016 presidential race” to all who have seen it.
Now, he’s coyly suggesting God has called on him to throw his hat into the ring. Whether he’s divinely chosen or not, however, he will not be president in 2016. Here are five reasons why:
1) He actually uses phrases like “women’s lib” even though it’s not longer 1978. Did you know all of the anger in Ferguson has nothing to do with an unjust police system but is really a result of women who refuse to stay married and selfishly raise children in single parent homes? So says Carson, who says black teens don’t obey authority because they lack father figures to teach them. “I think a lot of it really got started in the ’60s with the ‘me generation.’ ‘What’s in it for me?’ I hate to say it, but a lot of it had to do with the women’s lib movement. You know, ‘I’ve been taking care of my family, I’ve been doing that, what about me?’ You know, it really should be about us,” Carson told American Family Radio, according to Right Wing Watch.
2) He’s only recently become a Republican. Can the GOP, the party of purity tests, really accept a nominee who wasn’t even a Republican until just a few months ago? Not likely. Especially when Carson admits during his party switch that he would rather be an Independent but is changing for political expediency. “It’s truly a pragmatic move because I have to run in one party or another. If you run as an independent, you only risk splitting the electorate,” he told The Washington Times just after election day, a mere three weeks ago. “I clearly would not be welcome in the Democratic Party, and so that only leaves one party.” Even worse, in the 70′s he was actually a registered Democrat.
3) He thinks having a black president has actually added to racial issues in the country. Most people considered the election of President Barack Obama to be a momentous occasion for race relations. Carson, like many conservatives, seems to think it actually made race issues worse in the country. “I actually believe that things were better before this president was elected. And I think that things have gotten worse because of his unusual emphasis on race,” he told Hugh Hewitt in November, adding that he felt the President took advantage of the Trayvon Martin shooting and accused him of “manipulating” minority communities to make them think they were victims. He then stated that structural racism in our society is “for the most part, you know, that’s a thing largely of yesterday.”
4) He is in favor of some forms of gun control. If all of these other comments make Carson seem like the perfect GOP nominee, well, his stance on guns sets him far apart. Unlike most Republicans, who pull their 2nd Amendment talking points straight from the NRA handbook, Carson actually favored minor gun control policies back in 2013. When on the Glenn Beck show, he said he would be in favor of limiting access to semi-automatic weapons for those who live in highly populated urban areas where they could cause a bigger threat to more people. “I think if you live in the midst of a lot of people, and I’m afraid that that semi-automatic weapon is going to fall into the hands of a crazy person, I would rather you not have it,” he told the talk show host, adding that if you lived out in the woods alone, that was a far more appropriate place to have a semi-automatic weapon.
5) Except when he might run for president. Then no gun control. Then again, Carson’s gun control stance is about as unchanging as his political party. Less than a year after stating that semi-automatic guns don’t belong in highly populated areas, Carson began advocating against gun registration, stating that gun owners may need to have those weapons to protect themselves against martial law if the economy collapses.
“On Monday at The New York Meeting, Dr. Ben Carson said he does not believe in gun registration because America’s massive debt could transform the nation into a third-world country in which martial law may be imposed,” reported Breitbart News in March of 2014. “Carson, the retired neurosurgeon who has been getting buzz in conservative circles, said that he changed his mind and was against gun registration because of the ‘sinister internal forces’ that could surface in that scenario. He said he ‘used to think they needed to be registered, but if you register them they just come and find you and take your guns.’”
Ben Carson may be many things — pundit, doctor, new conservative star of the week — but his history and policies are such a mish-mash of conservative hot topics that even if he did manage to pull off a nomination out of it, he would subsequently be unable to translate that into a general election win.