Opinion: Is Ben Carson starting to dwindle?

Ashley Atherton is a junior political science major and columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]

Ashley Atherton

Ben Carson was on top of the Republican World for a while. He was even beating Donald Trump in a national poll at one point. But recently, Carson has seen a slide in his numbers and fell behind Trump once again.

So what happened? He’s an outsider, which seems to be the battle cry of the 2016 presidential election. Carson’s supporters love his calm personality and conduct, believing he is the most fit to be president. People found him likeable, enjoying his simple and straightforward opinions and statements. He seemed sincere and he is an antiestablishment, so even though many of his early controversial comments people were willing to give him some wiggle room.

Personally, I have a problem with that. If you are going to be running for president, even as an antiestablishment candidate, you better be ready to face harsh media questions, scrutiny and be accountable for your own words and statements—whether you’re a seasoned politician like Jeb Bush or an outsider like Carson. If you’re running for president, get used to it.

Why has Carson suddenly slipped in the polls? Easy answer: his many controversial comments finally caught up with him.

I think this is partially because his supporters were cutting him some slack. When he realized they supported him through comments such as how the candidate would “handle” an active shooter and his belief that the Holocaust would never have happened if the German people had guns, he began to think he could get away with basically any statement he made. He felt like Trump for the first time in his campaign, believing he could say crazy things and still be on top in the polls.

Unfortunately for Carson, his stint as Trump was short lived. For starters, Carson has made many controversial statements, only two of the many stated above. His recent and possibly most well-known controversy about West Point was a big issue in the media. Since then he’s had trouble with his statements about being offered a full ride scholarship to West Point, an academy he never applied for and West Point has no record of.

Not to mention the fact West Point is a tuition-free academy. He boiled up more controversy with his violent childhood, which no one except Carson seems to remember. His only response was shaky at best, saying to reporters they would not understand his young temper if they weren’t there.

Apart from Carson destroying his own campaign, the attack in Paris may have been the nail in his presidential campaign coffin. We all know national security is not his strongest area; every politician has a weak area. But in the wake of these terror attacks, Carson’s presidential future looks dim.

He has attempted to lose his passive image when it comes to ISIS in the aftermath of Paris, but when a presidential candidate can’t name countries he would enlist in the fight against ISIS on national television, it doesn’t make him look too great.

Between terrorism and Carson himself, his campaign is slowly but surely running itself into the ground.

Ashley Atherton is an opinion writer for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].