Candidate Profile: Ben Carson (R)

  • Full Name: Dr. Benjamin Solomon Carson
  • Occupations: Retired Neurosurgeon, Author
  • Education: B.A. Psychology, Yale University; M.D., University of Michigan
  • Age: 63
  • Party: Republican
  • Notable Endorsements: Kid Rock

Dr. Ben Carson’s life personifies the American Dream. Raised in inner city-Detroit by a single mother, he faced struggles such as poverty and crime that surrounded him, yet he was able to lift himself out of the situation, finding refuge in his high school’s ROTC program and was later admitted to Yale University following graduation. Carson later attended medical school and became a neurosurgeon and professor at Johns Hopkins Hospital, having enormous success in the field of pediatric neurosurgery, as he was the first surgeon to separate two conjoined twins connected at the head in 1987.

Now retired, Carson has thrown his hat into the political ring. Since coming to public attention at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast, Carson has become a charismatic, yet controversial conservative figure in recent years, mainly due to his views on social issues such as same-sex marriage and healthcare. Arguing he can fix Washington and restore morality to the nation, he announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for President in his hometown of Detroit on May 4, 2015 and is currently the only African-American candidate running for either party.

Economy & Taxes

Carson argues that the United States should ratify a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution to cut down on the national debt, prohibiting the government from spending more than its income on a yearly basis.

Carson promises to reform the nation’s tax code, which he describes as too complex and contains too many loopholes at the expense of most Americans. He is also in favor of a flat tax on income instead of the current progressive income taxation.

Environment

Carson has stated that debates over climate change are “irrelevant” and is not convinced that is threat to the environment. He does not believe it there is scientific proof of its existence.

Foreign Affairs

In order to prevent a “cataclysmic terrorist attack,” Carson believes that the interrogation facilities at Guantanamo Bay must continue to remain open and that inmates should not be granted trial by civilian courts.

The United States must keep all options on the table, with regards to Russian aggression, Carson argues.

Carson also noted that the United States must strengthen ties with Israel in the Middle East.

Healthcare

In 2013, Carson claimed that Obamacare was “the worst thing to that has happened in this nation since slavery,” arguing that the legislation had its foundations in the early Russian Bolshevik leader, Vladimir Lenin (Obamacare actually has its origins as a concept created by the conservative think-tank, The Heritage Foundation, in 1989, as a capitalist alternative to single-payer health care).

Carson is in favor if establishing Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to allow families to have more control over their healthcare and drive down health costs.

Marijuana Legalization

Carson believes that marijuana should not be legalized, claiming it to be a gateway to more dangerous drug activity.

Same-Sex Marriage

Carson considers marriage to be between man and a women and is not in favor of the legalization of same-sex marriage.

In an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity in 2013, Carson said: “Marriage is between a man and a woman. No group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA (an organization against age of consent laws), be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn’t matter what they are. They don’t get to change the definition.” These comments drew criticism for comparing homosexuality to pedophilia and bestiality.

Carson also believes that homosexuality is a choice, and in an interview earlier in March on CNN, he claimed that “a lot of people go into prison straight, and when they come out, they’re gay.” He later apologized for his remarks via Facebook.

Carson supports civil unions for same-sex couples.

Abortion

Carson believes that human life begins at conception and is in favor of banning abortions after 20 weeks with exceptions to rape, incest or potential fatality to the mother.

Education

The federal government should not be involved in education standards, Carson argues. He is against the Common Core for national education standards and is in favor of vouchers and charter schools, believing that students that are home-schooled, from private schools or charter schools perform better than students from public schools.

Carson generated controversy over his comments regarding AP US History, believing it spoke too much of slavery, genocides of Native Americans and Japanese- American internment camps, asserting that after taking the course, students will want “to go sign up for ISIS.”

Final Verdict

While Carson’s expertise in the field of pediatric neurosurgery is without doubt, his lack of experience in politics and public policy coupled with his controversial statements may doom his candidacy. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan were both considered outsiders during their campaigns, but also had experience as Governors of their respective states prior. Lack of experience could especially harm him in the first primary debates, as it may be difficult to persuade the electorate that his experience on corporate boards can transfer to presiding over legislation in Washington. His political incorrectness also has the potential to cause major harm to his campaign and statements like his one’s regarding homosexuality have already put major rifts in his campaign. Carson’s best chance for success rests in the first primary in Iowa, where the state’s many evangelical voters would be more likely to support his conservative views on social issues. However, a poor showing in Iowa may likely mean game over for Ben Carson’s bid for the White House.

Image Credit to ABC News

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