Dr. Ben Carson Vs. Republican Insiders–Et tu, Brute

Ben CarsonCarson Top Aids Resign from the Campaign – Barry Bennett & Doug Watts

Outsider Candidates Beware

Republican/Conservative Candidates often quickly rise in public popularity as the public is seeing the candidate “raw”, unpackaged by handlers.   Then, the candidate hires staff and begins to stumble and falter following attacks by the MSM and the candidate’s opponents.  Eventually the candidate looks and the mirror and says my campaign does not represent me.  Why?

The Washington insiders have created the election/governing framework that we are subjected to.

  • This includes campaign finance rules that favor big money/big interest groups and leaves out the average person.
  • Sitting atop of the framework are the Democrat National Committee (DNC) and the Republican national Committee (RNC).  These two organizations create party “platforms” or goals that may or may not actually reflect the day to day legislative and governing actions of either party.
  • The RNC/DNC also control a great deal of the financial support that people running for office have to have to be elected or re-elected.
  • The RNC/DNC have a tightly symbiotic relationship to the party’s President, Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader, Senate Majority Leader, and the Senate Minority Leader.  Within their respective party, these individuals not only set the agenda, but insure that contrary views and movements are killed.
  • The two parties have created a whole industry of professional campaign managers and consultants.  While many of these individuals claim to be independent and that they can represent any candidate, the results tend to prove the opposite. The more conservative the candidate, the less likely their campaign will be successfully managed by this group.  Further, this group tends to feed off of each other so campaign management paradigms get set in stone and they steer their candidates towards these paradigms.  For example, Republican candidates must pander to Hispanics by being soft on immigration; They must downplay their anti-abortion stances and not lose the women’s vote; they must downplay their traditional marriage views so they do not offend the LGBT voters; or, they must downplay their aggressive use of the US military.

The Last Time We Elected a Non-Conforming,

Conservative Candidate was Ronald Reagan. 

The Republican insiders, MSM, and republican pundits did backflips trying to discredit and defeat Reagan.  Now they all call on his name in almost a religious context but still eschew his philosophies and governance.  (Even Obama likened himself to Reagan!) Reagan never abdicated control over his elections nor his office once elected.  Ed Rollins is probably a nice guy and everyone looks to him as a guru because he served as Reagan’s National Campaign Director in 1984.  1984, not 1980.  By 1984, an orangutan could have taken Reagan to a victory over Walter Mondale given Reagan’s popularity and the economic recovery that was taking place.  Reagan took 525 out of 538 electoral votes and carried 49 out of 50 states.

Today, the hired guns may seem to be giving 100% for their outsider candidate but they all look to the future and see their bread and butter coming from RNC favored candidates.  The outsiders are seen as an anomaly.  If I were a cynic, I could make a case that these campaign management hired guns actually work to the detriment of their outsider candidate.  The results certainly point one in that direction.  Trump seems to be immune from all conventional wisdom but then he is not beholden to the RNC nor the professional political campaign managers.

So, How Does This Impact Dr. Ben Carson?

Dr. Carson was basically drafted by people who were impressed with his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast.  (Except for President Obama!)  He began his campaign low key and speaking from the heart.  He continued to climb in popularity and he started climbing in the polls.

Enter the Washington Establishment Professional Campaign Management Class. 

Dr. Carson was convinced that he had to have a traditional campaign staff that included Barry Bennett and Doug Watts.  When Dr. Carson was attacked by the MSM and others for “errors” in his biography, (read, they made up stuff that was not true about Dr. Carson,) his counter punching was to defend his biography rather than go after those spreading the lies and then disproving the lies.  This defensive posture is the same mistake Herman Cain made.  What is worse, his staff was unprepared for these attacks. Really?  This is the same failed approach that the venerated Karl Rove convinced Bush to take when he was attacked by “Bush Lied, People Died”.  So, after hiring top notch operatives, Dr. Carson found himself sinking in the polls and unable to gain traction.  He should have shaken up his campaign right then and there.

But, he continued but then came under attack for not being knowledgeable on foreign affairs.  Give me a break.  One, his high paid staff should have been giving him daily briefings.  Two, he is a bright man who is probably a lot more well versed in foreign affairs than the MSM gives him credit.

Turnaround Possible?

As of today, the day of the resignation of his two top tier hired guns, he has slipped down to 9.4% in the RCP National Polling, in fourth place.  He is also about the same percentage and position in Iowa which should have been more aligned with Carson’s faith and philosophy.  Can Dr. Carson reverse his downward spiral?  I think the answer is Yes, if he takes it one step at a time.

  1. Dr. Carson knows his core message, go back to it and stick with it.  If you lose, lose by being who you are and not what others try to make you.  If someone tells you they have to make over your image, FIRE THEM.  You are not Hillary Clinton with all of her baggage.
  2. For each of the major topics, Foreign Affairs, Immigration, etc., know your positions and stick to them.  As far as Syria goes, in 12.5 months the situation in the Middle East will have changed either for the better or for worse.  Stick to strategy and don’t get bogged down in tactical details as they won’t apply in 2017.
  3. Be Provocative.  Outsider candidates will not get the same air time as insider candidates.  Take a page from Trump and use Twitter and Facebook to get noticed.  You have to effectively use the new media to force your way onto the old media!
  4. Don’t attack Trump!  Rubio is the one just above you in the polls.  He is your target and he is a target rich environment!  Then take on Ted Cruz, then if that succeeds, Trump is your next opponent.
  5. In the event you still lose, make sure you can look in the mirror and say the “Real Dr. Ben Carson” lost.  There is no shame in this in any respect.  You are 12 out of 350,000,000 who gave it a shot in 2016!
  6. If you do not win but another Republican candidate does, try for Secretary of HHS or another cabinet position.  You are young and can and should try again.

Good Luck Dr. Carson

 

Hat Tips:

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-12-31/ben-carson-looks-to-reset-amid-campaign-turmoil

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/05/ben-carson-2016-campaign-staff-power-players-117598

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/

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