Ben Carson: I think I can win South Carolina

posted at 11:21 am on February 11, 2016 by Allahpundit

I’ve already adjusted to the reality that Trump’s going to be the nominee. Now it’s a matter of adjusting to the reality that he’s probably going to be the nominee soon, without needing a long primary to put Cruz away. Ben Carson’s here to help.

I like the phrasing here: “A lot of people who continue to make donations” are telling him to stay in, whatever the polls might say, so whaddaya gonna do.

“I still have millions of supporters. … We have a lot of people who continue to make donations, and they’re saying, ‘Please, please, please, please don’t drop out. Please stay in, because your strong states are going to be coming up,’” Mr. Carson said in an interview that aired on Wednesday’s “Hannity” program on Fox News.

“And I believe that to be the case. I believe you will see a significant improvement right here in South Carolina, and the more times we have an opportunity to get in front of audiences and actually explain what our policies are, it makes a huge difference,” he said…

“They have their own personal reasons, but I was petitioned by the people — I’m a member of ‘we the people,’ ” he said. “And as long as I have the support of ‘we the people,’ I will continue to go, particularly with them saying please don’t drop out.”

In Iowa, his strongest state, he had the support of 9.3. percent of “we the people.” In New Hampshire, it was 2.3 percent. The three polls taken in South Carolina taken in January all put him at 8-9 percent, but those numbers will likely be affected by his dismal showings in IA and NH. Some chunk of his voters may have already split between Cruz, Trump, and Rubio, leaving him in the low single digits. That’s the best-case scenario if you’re anti-Trump, that Carson staying in at this point doesn’t do much of anything to hurt Cruz or Rubio since there are, essentially, no more Carson voters left. The worst-case scenario is that Carson’s still holding on doggedly to his 8-9 percent, most of them likely evangelicals, and that fighting on for several more weeks will make Cruz’s task of catching Trump that much harder. As Ross Douthat put it last night, Carson could end up playing the same role for Trump vis-a-vis Cruz that Fred Thompson played for McCain in 2008 vis-a-vis Mike Huckabee, scooping up just enough Christian voters to deny the evangelical candidate a victory over the not-at-all-evangelical one. Then again, to believe that you need to believe that Trump and Cruz are right now basically neck and neck in SC even though Trump has led consistently by double digits and is coming off a momentous win in New Hampshire. It may be the case (I’d even say it’s likely the case) that Trump’s lead over Cruz in the next polls will be large enough to make Carson’s voters irrelevant. We’ll see.

Besides, even if Carson changes his mind and pulls the plug today, Cruz will have fierce competition for Carson’s voters from Marco Rubio. Watch the second clip below to find Rubio repeating the same “dirty trick” charge against Cruz that Carson and Trump have been pushing lately. I thought Rubio’s new strategy in South Carolina would either be to go hard after Trump in the name of elevating himself as the strongest “Not Trump” in the race and/or to go hard after Jeb in hopes of eliminating Bush ASAP. Instead he’s pandering to Carson’s voters by coming after Cruz, which not only reduces Cruz’s chances of picking up the evangelicals he needs to win but may damage Cruz among other undecideds by painting him as a cheater. The beneficiary, of course, is Trump. Frankly, I’m having a hard time reconciling Rubio’s “kill Cruz” approach here with the endless complaints from Rubio fans about Jeb Bush’s “kill Rubio” strategy. What made Jeb’s strategy in New Hampshire so objectionable, I thought, was the fact that he was a longshot candidate bombing a guy with a much better chance to stop Trump from winning the nomination. I hate to break it to you but that’s essentially the position Marco’s in now in South Carolina — a longshot bombing a guy who not only has a much better chance to stop Trump but might now have the only chance. If the answer to that is “Marco’s comeback depends on weakening Cruz so that he can finish a strong third in South Carolina,” how come the same defense didn’t work for Jeb in NH? That was his plan all along with Rubio — beat up the guy in front of him, beat expectations, and then surf the “comeback” narrative.

The only real difference between what Jeb did to Rubio in New Hampshire and what Rubio’s doing to Cruz in South Carolina is that Rubio stands a much better chance head to head against Trump than Jeb does in a two-man race. If you’re all about beating Trump, obviously you should prefer Marco to Bush. That’s true, and I’ve made that point myself. If tearing down Cruz would push us into a Trump/Rubio race for the nomination, that’s worth doing if you’re an “Anybody But Trump” conservative. But I’m not so sure anymore that blowing up Cruz would give us that race. Rubio is damaged and Jeb is weak. Taking out Cruz, I think, is as likely to give us a runaway Trump juggernaut in the primaries as it is a Trump/Rubio or (God help us) Trump/Bush race. You want to roll the dice on that by having Marco bomb Cruz as a cheater? Exit quotation from Scott Lincicome: “The fate of The Republic could very well depend on underachieving politicians humbly and graciously accepting defeat. Hence, we’re doomed.”



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Comments

Dream on…

OmahaConservative on February 11, 2016 at 11:22 AM

I like the phrasing here: “A lot of people who continue to make donations” are telling him to stay in, whatever the polls might say, so whaddaya gonna do.

Expect a max donation from Donald J Trump.

libfreesMom on February 11, 2016 at 11:25 AM

I doubt it Ben. And I like you too, you’re a good guy. But I don’t think so.

Then again, what do I know? It’s been a strange election so far and the polls have been wacky.

Who can say?

Agent Cooper on February 11, 2016 at 11:25 AM

Sure he can. Now that he’s gotten all the fresh clothes he needs, he can focus on campaigning again.

Doughboy on February 11, 2016 at 11:26 AM

No, you are not Ben.

jake49 on February 11, 2016 at 11:27 AM

…Iowa too!

JugEarsButtHurt on February 11, 2016 at 11:28 AM

“Ben Carson is unhinged.” -Jeb Bush

Flange on February 11, 2016 at 11:28 AM

With every passing day, Carson destroys his reputation. From a new black voice speaking out against Obama’s policies and personality to guy hungry for attention and hawking a book.

lowandslow on February 11, 2016 at 11:28 AM

Working as a spoiler at this point and a job with Trump. I give credit to the ones who had no chance and have dropped out to clear the field.

CW20 on February 11, 2016 at 11:30 AM

The State of Denial has a primary?

trigon on February 11, 2016 at 11:31 AM

Sounds like the neurosurgeon has some neurons missing.

Vigilante on February 11, 2016 at 11:36 AM

“So you’re telling me there’s a chance?……YEAH!”

-Dr Carson/Lloyd Christmas

libfreesMom on February 11, 2016 at 11:39 AM

“He’s trying to re-establish his Iowa momentum” — Marco

Schadenfreude on February 11, 2016 at 11:41 AM

He said he was open to being Trumps VP, which of course means nothing other than that he has accepted he can’t win this thing. Time to drop out.

Jeffrey on February 11, 2016 at 11:41 AM

Yeah……nope

cmsinaz on February 11, 2016 at 11:43 AM

Well, here’s the thinking.

Rubio pulls a Christie and lays into Cruz at the debate, trying to cut him down. He sacrifices his own campaign to help Mr. Establishment, who, I guess, at this point is Kasich, hoping to be rewarded with his noble self-sacrifice with a cabinet position by the Establishment, or at least the leadership in the Senate.

If the GOPe can drag enough of Cruz support away, they’ll have that much more to support the Establishment candidate.

I’m still of the mind that Trump will be forever stuck at 30% due to unfavorables, and once the race is down to 3 people, Trump will be in a fight for his life. But that will need to happen sooner than later, or there will be too much delegate leakage to challenge Trump.

Nethicus on February 11, 2016 at 11:44 AM

Good news for Trump.
Carson will siphon votes from Cruz and Rubio more than he will from Trump.

NeoKong on February 11, 2016 at 11:44 AM

Exit speculation: Dr. Carson’s campaign already imploded in New Hampshire with ‘non essential workers’ dismissed. Translation: he’s running out of $$$, and supporters out of enthusiasm. Carson is done after S. Carolina.

The other beta males are simply egoists who are in it to force a brokered convention – designed to keep a Trump or Cruz from securing the nomination.

locomotivebreath1901 on February 11, 2016 at 11:45 AM

Scott Lincicome: “The fate of The Republic could very well depend on underachieving politicians humbly and graciously accepting defeat. Hence, we’re doomed.”

You gotta love that quote.

Meremortal on February 11, 2016 at 11:45 AM

ben-carson-i-think-i-can-win-south-carolina/

if I join up with the real winner in SC, Donald Trump

Senator Philip Bluster on February 11, 2016 at 11:45 AM

He’s essentially being paid to be a candidate. Why resign and forfeit all that lovely money?

cynccook on February 11, 2016 at 11:48 AM

At least it’s a much shorter trip from SC to FL. He can go home and change clothes several times.

Marcola on February 11, 2016 at 11:49 AM

Working as a spoiler at this point and a job with Trump. I give credit to the ones who had no chance and have dropped out to clear the field.

CW20 on February 11, 2016 at 11:30 AM

I was told that the candidates can and have to do anything to win? Does that not apply now?

NWConservative on February 11, 2016 at 11:49 AM

Exit quotation from Scott Lincicome: “The fate of The Republic could very well depend on underachieving politicians humbly and graciously accepting defeat. Hence, we’re doomed.”

LOL.

Oh, wait, that’s not so funny when you come to think about it.

Bitter Clinger on February 11, 2016 at 11:49 AM

I don’t know why people assume Caron’s voters would go mostly to Cruz. Especially after what happened in IA, Carson voters may go to Trump. Also, Carson and Trump seem to have a good relationship so it could very well be that Carson endorses Trump if he drops out.

Paperclips on February 11, 2016 at 11:50 AM

I’m still of the mind that Trump will be forever stuck at 30% due to unfavorables, and once the race is down to 3 people, Trump will be in a fight for his life.
Nethicus on February 11, 2016 at 11:44 AM

He just got 35.3% in New Hampshire.

I know, I know. *Mind Blown*

NWConservative on February 11, 2016 at 11:51 AM

I really like you Ben, but…

Nuh – uh.

How about a nice Surgeon General position instead?

ICanSeeNovFromMyHouse on February 11, 2016 at 11:51 AM

I thought Rubio’s new strategy in South Carolina would either be to go hard after Trump in the name of elevating himself as the strongest “Not Trump” in the race and/or to go hard after Jeb in hopes of eliminating Bush ASAP.

I’m trying to recall, if candidates who posed themselves as the not-nominee-presumptive have ever been successful. I don’t believe so. It’s pretty much a desperation thing e.g. Santorum was the last not-Romney standing last time around.

whatcat on February 11, 2016 at 11:53 AM

I don’t know why people assume Caron’s voters would go mostly to Cruz. Especially after what happened in IA, Carson voters may go to Trump. Also, Carson and Trump seem to have a good relationship so it could very well be that Carson endorses Trump if he drops out.

Paperclips on February 11, 2016 at 11:50 AM

Because Cruz has his “Jesus #1 Fan” cap on again in South Carolina that he threw into the bargain bin for New Hampshire. Carson draws from the same pool of voters.

So I hope he stays in and gets Cruz clobbered by Trump like he was in New Hampshire. :D

Although Rubiobot could eliminate Cruz at the debate, since he easily destroys Cruz every time they debate. It’s talking points program is better than whatever Cruz has with his feeble human memory banks.

NWConservative on February 11, 2016 at 11:55 AM

Exit speculation: Dr. Carson’s campaign already imploded in New Hampshire with ‘non essential workers’ dismissed. Translation: he’s running out of $$$, and supporters out of enthusiasm. Carson is done after S. Carolina.

The other beta males are simply egoists who are in it to force a brokered convention – designed to keep a Trump or Cruz from securing the nomination.

locomotivebreath1901 on February 11, 2016 at 11:45 AM

Yup. Ben’s running on empty, or close to it. I expect after SC he’ll fold up the tent.

whatcat on February 11, 2016 at 11:56 AM

the reality that Trump’s going to be the nominee

Yes! Not a creepy televangelist or some GOPe squish, but TRUMP!

Dick Richard on February 11, 2016 at 11:58 AM

The State of Denial has a primary?

trigon on February 11, 2016 at 11:31 AM

Winner, everybody go home.

playblu on February 11, 2016 at 12:01 PM

The Walter Mitty candidate…

albill on February 11, 2016 at 12:01 PM

Working as a spoiler at this point and a job with Trump. I give credit to the ones who had no chance and have dropped out to clear the field.

CW20 on February 11, 2016 at 11:30 AM

I was told that the candidates can and have to do anything to win? Does that not apply now?

NWConservative on February 11, 2016 at 11:49 AM

It’s hardball but your question is phrased on the basis of when did you stop beating your wife. Trump is showing a willingness to say what his audience wants to hear. CNN which I assume you are referring to hit it right on the head and Carson’s people said it. These people have egos. Nothing wrong with that.

CW20 on February 11, 2016 at 12:07 PM

Why should anyone be required to drop out until they are good and ready? And I say that as a guy in Cruz’s camp at the moment.

If they want to go on, keep on going.

If this gives Trump the nod, so be it. It’s how it works. Then I and others have to decide if we like Trump.

Zomcon JEM on February 11, 2016 at 12:07 PM

He just got 35.3% in New Hampshire.

I know, I know. *Mind Blown*

NWConservative on February 11, 2016 at 11:51 AM

Which is great in a 3 person race. In a two-person race, that kinda sucks.

Nethicus on February 11, 2016 at 12:08 PM

You want to roll the dice on that by having Marco bomb Cruz as a cheater?

Yeah, actually. It’s not Marco’s job to make things easier for Cruz.

(and Cruz did actually play some dirty tricks w/ Carson in Iowa. That’s only excused by the conservative commentariat because the dirty tricks weren’t exactly a game changer in terms of vote percentages)

And the simple matter, of course, for all of those now beating the “if you want to stop Trump, you HAVE to support Cruz!!!!” drum, you’re basing your argument on the flawed presumption that for some of us, a Cruz nomination is preferable to a Trump nomination.

No.

The tea party & talk radio / “entertainment” wing of the party helped build up Trump because of his populism, and more importantly to them, his nativist rhetoric.

So own him. Don’t expect some of us to now come in, like the calvary, and save your actual preferred candidate (Cruz) from the Frankenstein monster you helped create. I know I’m not so inclined.

You wanted to “burn it all down,” right?

Vyce on February 11, 2016 at 12:15 PM

And you also think the Egyptian pyramids were used for grain, so …

MJBrutus on February 11, 2016 at 12:15 PM

Which is great in a 3 person race. In a two-person race, that kinda sucks.

Nethicus

11.7% has got to really suck then.

xblade on February 11, 2016 at 12:15 PM

Carson signed on to the trumplantation. Dr. Ben, we thought we knew your heart and now we find it dishonorable.

Lee Jan on February 11, 2016 at 12:16 PM

He’s essentially being paid to be a candidate. Why resign and forfeit all that lovely money?

cynccook on February 11, 2016 at 11:48 AM

“You mean I have to go back to flying commercial? And the books, what do I do with all of the books?”

jnelchef on February 11, 2016 at 12:20 PM

I do not see him pulling enough to matter anymore. Really, I think it backfires on trump because the story of Ben Carson saying he would love to be Trumps vice president is circulating widely

OregonPolitician on February 11, 2016 at 12:22 PM

The Kasich-Bush-Rubio GOP Establishment Hydra is essentially vying to see which head will be left to be Trump’s VP.

Herod on February 11, 2016 at 12:29 PM

Which is great in a 3 person race. In a two-person race, that kinda sucks.

Nethicus on February 11, 2016 at 12:08 PM

It wasn’t a 3 person race.

Your guy tied for third with Bush,Rubio, and himself and there were two candidates above him.

The first place winner was 23.5 points higher than your guy.

So is 11.7% a great finish? LOL.

NWConservative on February 11, 2016 at 12:37 PM

Which is great in a 3 person race. In a two-person race, that kinda sucks.

Nethicus

11.7% has got to really suck then.

xblade on February 11, 2016 at 12:15 PM

Thinking similar things…

NWConservative on February 11, 2016 at 12:38 PM

Always know when you’ve been defeated to live to fight another day.

Carson is toast with no serious path to the nomination – short of Trump and Cruz having a heart attack on the stump.

Even then, he’s required to revive them per his hippocratic oath – either way he’s toast.

rgrovr on February 11, 2016 at 12:42 PM

The Kasich-Bush-Rubio GOP Establishment Hydra is essentially vying to see which head will be left to be Trump’s VP.

Herod on February 11, 2016 at 12:29 PM

it better be NONE of them. I know the party will insist on one of them, like they did to Reagan in ’80 with Bush, but NONE of them could give a stump speech for Trump cuz they DON’T BELIEVE in the things that Trump’s supporters do.

will any of them talk about a wall, or deporting illegals? hell no they won’t, cuz they don’t believe in any of it, and the people know it.

Senator Philip Bluster on February 11, 2016 at 12:46 PM

Working as a spoiler at this point and a job with Trump. I give credit to the ones who had no chance and have dropped out to clear the field.

CW20 on February 11, 2016 at 11:30 AM

I was told that the candidates can and have to do anything to win? Does that not apply now?

NWConservative on February 11, 2016 at 11:49 AM

It’s hardball but your question is phrased on the basis of when did you stop beating your wife.

I’m not trying to trap you. I was told for the last week that a candidate must do whatever it takes to win, is that not true now?

And if they want to win, why should they not pursue every avenue?

Trump is showing a willingness to say what his audience wants to hear.

Yes and “TO GOD BE THE GLORY” and “It’s time to awaken the body of Christ that we may pull back from the abyss,” is an example of being completely genuine while smearing another candidate and lying to voters within an hour of the vote. So Christ-like. It was so genuine that you didn’t even see it in New Hampshire. But we got a drug reference during the debates.

But the genuine Cruz is back with “Jesus #1 Fan” cap in South Carolina running ads highlighting that fact.

CNN which I assume you are referring to hit it right on the head and Carson’s people said it. These people have egos. Nothing wrong with that.

CW20 on February 11, 2016 at 12:07 PM

Exactly. And if Carson thinks he can win, regardless of whether you or I think he will play spoiler at this point, who cares? You all were saying that lying to voters faces right before they voted and sending threatening letters was cool.

NWConservative on February 11, 2016 at 12:46 PM

I think Ben is a great guy, but doesn’t have the temperament for the presidency. Good luck Ben in your future endeavors as the HHS secretary.

RoddREpub on February 11, 2016 at 12:49 PM

Sorry Ben.I live in South Carolina. You don’t stand a chance. However you will be great for Donald Trump in that you will pull away evangelical sheep votes from the Dominionist anointed one, Ted Cruz.Have fun in the Upstate.

redware on February 11, 2016 at 12:50 PM

Also, Carson and Trump seem to have a good relationship so it could very well be that Carson endorses Trump if he drops out.

Paperclips on February 11, 2016 at 11:50 AM

What exactly was the interchange between Trump and Carson during their belated entry to the debate stage?

onlineanalyst on February 11, 2016 at 12:54 PM

He’s just not presidential. And in his case that’s a compliment.

Iblis on February 11, 2016 at 1:04 PM

Ben, you’re a great guy. Get out of the race.

Philly on February 11, 2016 at 1:07 PM

If Carson stays in, Cruz doesn’t have a prayer.

cimbri on February 11, 2016 at 1:25 PM

Awesome, Ben. The Theocrat gets his comeuppance for his dirty tricks in Iowa when Carson steals away that crucial 1-2%.

Cruz can drop out and run a ministry alongside Creflo Dollar.

ak90049 on February 11, 2016 at 1:46 PM

I want Carson’s stump speech to include “Now that Ted Cruz has Dropped out, if you were thinking of voting for him you should take another look at me.”

Skipity on February 11, 2016 at 1:57 PM

The Kasich-Bush-Rubio GOP Establishment Hydra is essentially vying to see which head will be left to be Trump’s VP.

Herod on February 11, 2016 at 12:29 PM

it better be NONE of them. I know the party will insist on one of them, like they did to Reagan in ’80 with Bush, but NONE of them could give a stump speech for Trump cuz they DON’T BELIEVE in the things that Trump’s supporters do.

will any of them talk about a wall, or deporting illegals? hell no they won’t, cuz they don’t believe in any of it, and the people know it.

Senator Philip Bluster on February 11, 2016 at 12:46 PM

Amen, Brother Bluster. If the GOPe managed to get one of them as VP, the next step would be to send Trump on a trip to Fort Marcy Park.

Yankee Doodle on February 11, 2016 at 2:04 PM

It wasn’t a 3 person race.

Your guy tied for third with Bush,Rubio, and himself and there were two candidates above him.

The first place winner was 23.5 points higher than your guy.

So is 11.7% a great finish? LOL.

NWConservative on February 11, 2016 at 12:37 PM

Evidently, it’s hard for you to read. In a two person race…

Trump’s unfavorables are above 50%. How can you win with that kind of immediate reaction? And that’s with near 100% name recognition!

The only thing Trump has going for him is that Hillary’s unfavorables are also above 50%– but 10% lower than Trump’s.

So, in a two person race, which this will become sooner rather than later, what happens to Trump’s numbers? Will he gain support? Or will a Ted Cruz or a Kasich, who have higher favorable ratings, draw in the voters from the other candidates who have dropped out?

As I said early (which you also ignored), Trump’s doing well in a 3-person race. It will not stay a 3-person race, and the general will be a 2-person race.

That’s what you should be worried about.

Nethicus on February 11, 2016 at 3:23 PM

The enemy of the enemy is my friend, and everybody but Jeb! is Ted’s enemy. There are disadvantages to being universally loathed, especially in the Survivor series Republican primary.

ezspirit on February 11, 2016 at 3:51 PM

Bless his heart.

wyntre on February 11, 2016 at 4:14 PM

And if Carson thinks he can win, regardless of whether you or I think he will play spoiler at this point, who cares? You all were saying that lying to voters faces right before they voted and sending threatening letters was cool.

NWConservative on February 11, 2016 at 12:46 PM

Carson is very smart.
Carson let go half his campaign staff.
Carson got 2.3% in New Hampshire-less than 2 candidates (Christie and Fiorina) who subsequently dropped out.
Carson is polling in the 8-9% range in SC.
Carson is not favored to win a single state.

So, does Carson really think he can win?
Or is he posturing to continue to raise money?

And has anyone found a single voter that changed their vote based on a report that Carson was dropping out?

talkingpoints on February 11, 2016 at 5:05 PM

No you can’t Ben Carson. It might be time to pack up and go home. No poll no where shows you doing good in any state.

Politricks on February 11, 2016 at 5:09 PM

BTW Marco Rubato, the “recorded calls” were not recorded by the Cruz campaign. The calls that were made, were made live by the Cruz campaign. They were “recorded” by the recipients. Yes, the NYT and other trustworthy sources headlined these as “recorded calls”, but the stories describe the calls as recorded by the recipients. I can find no actual reports that phone calls were recorded by the Cruz campaign for the purpose of stating Carson had dropped out.

Which is more problematic, staff members reporting a CNN headline during a caucus without knowledge of the candidate, or a candidate, making a statement in an interview, with plenty of time for reflection, that falsely states a campaign made recorded calls spreading a false rumor?

Which actually shows malignant intent on the part of the candidate?

Cruz apologized to Carson, even though he didn’t do anything wrong.

Are you going to apologize to Cruz?

talkingpoints on February 11, 2016 at 6:01 PM

I have lost any shred of respect I had for Carson. It’s quite clear he’s in this for the money and that’s all. Ugh.

idalily on February 11, 2016 at 6:49 PM