By: Brent Raines ~Sports Editor~
Let’s get this out of the way now: Ben Carson and Donald Trump are irrelevant.
Neither will be the Republican nominee or your next president. Despite what esteemed Opinions and Editorials Editor Jonathan Hogue wrote in this space last week, their words should not be taken as a hateful and racist voice of the Republican Party.
It is easy to look at the polls and assume that Trump and Carson are truly the voice of the Republican Party, as Mr. Hogue claimed.
They have been, after all, first and second in most of the recent polls to come out, and in a normal election cycle that would be an indicator of the Republican Party’s collective mood.
But can a candidate truly be the voice of his party without having its support?
Despite his name recognition, Republicans do not particularly like Trump. The percentage of Republicans who view him favorably hovers around single digits, a death knell for a candidate with his level of name recognition.
Even with far less name recognition, candidates such as Marco Rubio and Carson are well over 35 percent.
It is also unclear whether Trump has any support beyond the 25 percent or so of votes that he is receiving now.
Usually, those who win the primary have to unite several wings of their party. That might be a problem for an individual whose support is coming from a strange, surprisingly non-Tea Party niche.
When the Republican field inevitably consolidates, there is no indication that any more support will come Trump’s way.
Furthermore, Trump’s campaign is built on getting attention, and campaigns such as those typically post the best numbers this far in advance of the primaries.
Like 2008, when famous names such as Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton were the early leaders, do not expect voters to simply vote for the most famous candidate once they begin to pay attention.
While Carson does have more legitimate support, he is basically filling the evangelical Christian candidate void. There is one of these candidates every cycle, from Mike Huckabee to Rick Santorum, they never win nor gather much support outside of their niche within the party.
He represents the whole party as much as independent senator and admitted socialist Bernie Sanders represents the Democratic party.
It’s also worth noting that polls have done a horrible job of predicting
elections recently, yet they are the basis for Mr. Hogue’s claim that these two represent a racist and bygone party.
Despite all of the reasons above, Mr. Hogue’s editorial might be a compelling argument if not for one fact: The GOP is actively working against Trump and Carson. Chairman of the Ohio GOP Matt Borges said the party would “hand the election to Hillary Clinton — and try to salvage the rest of the ticket” were Trump to win the nomination.
A republican senator told The New York Times that the GOP knows it would “get wiped out” if Trump wins. Similar attitudes have been expressed about Carson.
It is also worth mentioning that although Carson and Trump have never been nominated by the GOP for any political position, Mr. Hogue claims these niche candidates represent the GOP.
Much like the case of Sanders in the Democratic primary, the media is the reason that Trump and Carson get the attention they do. This allows Mr. Hogue to confuse their voices with those of the majority of the party.
The media needs to sell stories, which is why they propped up Sanders as a serious challenger to Clinton rather than conceding to the real evidence: nothing short of a major scandal will derail Hillary from winning the Democratic nomination. Showcasing Trump and Carson as two crazy outsiders dominating GOP politics sells better than acknowledging the general chaos and wide-open nature of the race, whether the Republican majority likes it or not.
In time, the primaries will consolidate the party behind a true Republican leader and that individual, who will not be Trump or Carson, will be the voice of a party ready to move forward in a new generation.