Who’s Hot: Ben Carson, the Leading Un-Trump

September 11, 2015

by Steve Wagner


Photo credit: Joshua Pinho

Photo credit: Joshua Pinho

The latest CNN national survey puts Donald Trump in the lead among Republicans with 32 percent; Carson second with 19 percent.  But Carson has gained more since the August CNN poll: 10 percent to Trump’s 8 percent.  No other candidate was up significantly, and Rubio, Bush, Walker, Kasich, and Paul have lost ground.  Team Governor (the sum of support for all of the governors in the race) is down to one-quarter support, while Team Outsider is up over half.  Trump and Carson are also the leading second choice candidates, which is interesting; it means they both have more upside potential.

So Carson and Trump are pulling away from the pack, and Carson is emerging as the Un-Trump, or at least as Trump-Very-Lite.  Carson is the clear second choice of Iowa Republicans and within spitting distance of Trump there; in New Hampshire, he shares second place with John Kasich.

Watching Donald Trump’s campaign is like watching a drunk walking a tightrope without a net.  There is a certain morbid fascination waiting for the inevitable misstep.  So far, Trump has recovered from each swoon.  But the question of who will emerge as the alternative to Trump if the fall comes is a key variable in this race, and right now that person is Ben Carson.

Unclear is what Ben Carson represents as a candidate.  The first word that comes to mind to describe him is “meek.”  He holds the microphone with both hands close to his mouth and speaks in a very subdued voice.  There was this week the hint of a Carson attack on Trump, but that turned out to be a false alarm (although the Donald pounced anyway).  Carson defies the expectation that the Republican electorate is auditioning for an anti-Hillary attack dog.  Carson v. Sanders?  What that would lack in sheer entertainment value, it might make up for in seriousness.

Not Hot:  Bobby Jindal, for his over-the-top attack on Donald Trump.

Bobby Jindal is in a race to the bottom with Jeb Bush, who last week also released a silly attack on Trump.  First, in a speech yesterday at the National Press Club, Jindal assumed the role of clinical psychologist, and diagnosed Trump as a narcissist.  Here’s what he said:

  • Donald Trump is shallow. Has no understanding of policy.
  • Donald Trump is for Donald Trump.
  • Donald Trump is a narcissist and an egomaniac.
  • Like all narcissists, Donald Trump is insecure and weak, and afraid of being exposed.
  • Donald Trump is not a serious person.
  • Nominating Donald Trump is a certain way for us to miss our opportunity to make America Great Again.

The Donald’s response: “Bobby Who?”  The odd thing about attacking Donald Trump as a narcissist is that Jindal is himself exhibiting narcissistic behavior: “Stop paying attention to him, pay attention to me.”  And turning the political conversation away from what the voters what to talk about (which clearly is not Trump’s state-of-mind) in favor of what you want to talk about is itself a kind of narcissism–and politically dangerous.  If Jindal wants to position himself as the alternative to Trump, maybe he should be attacking Carson.

His speech was accompanied by this weird video using Charlie Sheen to discredit Trump:

Steve Wagner is president of QEV Analytics, a public opinion research firm, and a senior fellow at the American Principles Project.


Steve Wagner is president of QEV Analytics, a public opinion research firm, and a senior fellow at the American Principles Project.

Archive: Steve Wagner

4 comments on “Who’s Hot: Ben Carson, the Leading Un-Trump”

  • bigrkam says:

    mac0043 Do you really believe that Mr. Trump is the only person who will be able to help our country? I respectfully disagree. Mr. Trump has brought things up that have needed to be brought out in the open. and that is a good thing. But why is it that whenever he is asked a question he dont like, or if some one disagrees with him he goes off like a raving lunatic. I s this really the person you want representing our great country? Obama has made us the laughing stock of the world, and what do you think leader around the world are thinking when they see us even considering this guy? He cant seem to keep his mouth shut,and he is rude and obnoxious. Why does he think he is so special. If other candidates  said some of the things he says the media would crucify them. Mr. Trump just happens to be the flavor of the month right now. Time for him to check his ego at the door and learn a little humility, or better yet , just go away

  • bigrkam says:

    Do really believe that Donald is the only one who is able to help our country? I respectfully disagree. Mr. Trump has said things that needed to be said, and thats a good thing. but why is it that anytime anyone disagrees with him or asks him a question he dont like he goes off like a raving lunatic. Is this really the person you want representing our great country? Mr Obama has made us the laughing stock around the world, and what do you think world leaders are thinking right now with the fact the we are even considering this guy? If he believes he can treat other world leaders the way he treats people he dont like in America, he is dead WRONG. Donald time for you check your humility at the door, and do us all a favor and think be fore you talk. Why does he get to say and do things other politicians would get crucified for? I can tell you why, because he is rude and obnoxious.  He had his time in the lime light. which is wonderful for that giant ego.  Do us all a favor Mr. Trump, be nice or just go away.

  • mac0043 says:

    Donald Trump is the only one who will be able to help our country. Ben Carson has changed his ideas about Amnesty and I do trust him. I do notice how Trump gets trampled on by people like Carson who are always spouting religion. What is the difference between a Seventh Day Adventist and a Protestant like Trump ? In God’s eyes their is none so, why does Carson go on and on about it. John F Kennedy , the only Catholic to be president, said religion and state must be kept apart.

  • bigrkam says:

    You may think that Bobby Jindal is not hot, I got a little news for you Mr. Wagner, you just dont get it do you?  Donald Trump needs to go away. Is this who we want to represent our country? sure he said some things that need to be said, but now he  cant keep his mouth shut. Take a hike Donald

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