The political exploits of Ben Carson may be interesting to follow, but he’s never going to win the Republican nomination for the presidency.
Jonathan Bernstein made a great point the other day about the ongoing political adventures of Ben Carson, the African American heart surgeon turned Fox News pundit and presidential aspirant. As he put it, “Carson isn’t going to get anywhere close to the nomination.”
Bernstein linked to his previous arguments about this in the piece but I’ll just summarize the major points here. In order be win the nomination of one of the two major political parties candidates have to clear at least two bars. They have to be within the mainstream of their parties position on the issues (sorry Bernie Sanders, Democrats aren’t socialists) and have to conventional qualifications for the White House. What are conventional qualifications? Be sitting President or former Vice President, or have at least four years in state wide office as a Senator or Governor by Election Day (senior generals and significant House members might be able to win as well, but they haven’t since Ike).
Every nominee since the modern nomination system was adopted in 1972 has met these qualifications, and to find a presidential nominee that hasn’t you have to go back to Dewey in 1944.
So sorry Dr. Ben, being a heart surgeon (or a cable news talking head) doesn’t count.
Bernstein was responding to an article in the The New York Times about a Carson, and it’s a good read about what he’s up to these days, hint he doesn’t like Obamacare, but there’s just no way Carson is going to win.
This doesn’t mean Carson won’t be able to raise money, have some good debate performances, or even do will in some opinion polls. But at the end of the day the GOP party actors that control the nominating process are going settle on a candidate and it’s not going to be Carson.
Or as Bernstein puts it:
In fact, as chaotic as the process may seem, and whatever public opinion polls or reporting may suggest, party actors will eventually settle on a plausible nominee—or at the least narrow the field down to two or three choices they find acceptable. They’ll funnel sufficient resources to that candidate or candidates (money, opinion leadership, personnel and more) to lock everyone else out of the nomination.
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