Just like Trump, his appeal is in large measure his biography — born in hardscrabble poverty in Detroit, he survived a stutter, a departed father and a raging temper he claims to have cured as a teenager by reading the Book of Proverbs to attend Yale and Johns Hopkins and become a genius of a neurosurgeon.
And yet it is not the American Establishment, where he would easily have fit, with whom Carson has affiliated himself. It is the Religious Right — the anti-Establishment, especially for an African-American. He speaks the language of religious social conservatism in a way no one in the race but the political has-been Mike Huckabee does.
And he has been treated like a folk hero at conservative gatherings for several years, ever since he emerged as a leading critic of the president and his agenda at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2013 — with Obama only a few feet away.
So while Trump’s rise was not predictable, Carson’s rise was — because it was predicted.