(Jim Clark) – The second of twelve planned Republican primary election debates is now history. Since this process started, the degree of public support for the various candidates of both major parties has been highly fluid and as mercurial as the stock market. Added to that is the fact that after two GOP debates, the contenders have barely scratched the surface of the many critical issues facing our country. Nevertheless, I am prepared to beat out ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox News by months. Clark’s Fearless Forecast is ready to call not only the Republican Primary result but the General Election result as well. Who will be elected as leader of the free world next November? Dr. Ben Carson, that’s who.
What’s behind this bold prediction? Trend lines plus my keen analysis. In the hype leading up to the second GOP debate, the media stressed that the theme would be “get even with Trump”, the challengers being Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina. Trump dissed Bush’s energy and lack of vigor both in statements to the press and in a clever TV ad. Trump also made unflattering statements about Fiorina’s looks so this was to be the battleground where both would verbally slaughter Trump. What happened? Bush didn’t and Fiorina did, firmly but so subtly that there was barely a ripple in the flow of the debate.
As the three hour debate dragged on (and on), the exercise became one of Trump “zingers” and “so’s your mom” responses except for Gentle Ben who gave only soft spoken replies to the moderators and refused to demean any other candidate even when Trump called the distinguished neurosurgeon “an OK doctor”. That’s when it hit me.
If you go back to 2007-08 when Hillary Clinton was first billed as the “inevitable” Democratic standard bearer, her only opposition was a little-known, first term African American senator named Barack Obama. His style was understated, eloquent and optimistic. He called America a “magical place” and a “beacon of freedom and opportunity” to the world. He promised a post-racial America in which we would all be “as one nation, as one people.” His theme was “fundamental change”, free from the squabbles, charges, counter-charges and “zingers” that have characterized American elections since 1800. He promised a new era of harmony and racial reconciliation.
After he won, Obama intentionally began to divide Americans on the basis of race. Starting early in his term with the flare up in Cambridge through the ensuing six years and up to the riots in Ferguson and Baltimore, Obama took sides based on skin color of those involved before the facts were known. Nevertheless his pre-election flowery rhetoric was good enough to get him elected. I’m betting that Dr. Ben Carson will also pursue an optimistic campaign, similar to Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America” theme.
And then there are the trend lines. According to a Rasmussen poll last spring, only 25% of likely GOP voters thought Ben Carson would end up as the nominee at the time he announced. After the CNN debate, that poll figure is now 59%, ahead of Trump’s 58%.
Moreover, GOP kingmakers do not want a candidate who can be mauled by negative advertising. Imagine what the Democrats would do with Trump’s remarks on Latinos, women, etc. Carson’s platform is straight out of the Republican playbook and he is not tarred with extreme positions on immigration.
Another issue no one talks about: if Trump were elected President, all of his assets would have to go into a blind trust. They are real estate development, casinos and entertainment . . . all require constant active management. So is Trump really running or just using his fame to change the conversation?
So that’s my prediction, folks. Our next president? Ronald Reagan in Technicolor. Gentle Ben.
Jim Clark is President of Republican Advocates. He has served on the Washoe County and Nevada GOP Central Committees. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.