Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon with “gifted hands” but perhaps not such a gifted brain, has announced that he will no longer be actively running for president and plans to drop out of the next Republican debate – a venue in which he was almost certainly going to be universally ignored. Carson acknowledged that with roughly zero support, he doesn’t see a “path forward.”
So does that mean he is suspending his campaign? Not exactly. According to Carson, his campaign will continue to exist, at least in theory, and he will make another statement on “his future” at the end of the week. The collapse of Carson’s presidential run has been a long time coming. After a brief moment as a potential front-runner, Carson’s insane beliefs (e.g. The Pyramids were made to hold grain, the biblical figure of Noah would make a great president, baby Hitler) saw his chances plummet. On Super Tuesday when the other candidates were racking up wins, Carson came in dead last… in every state.
Why not just suspend his campaign?
That’s easy: Carson can still operate his grift for a little bit longer.
Even before Super Tuesday’s defeats, Carson seemed aware that he had absolutely no chance of winning the election. Instead, he said his campaign would continue to shamble on if only to keep the money rolling in. In a statement, Carson made no secret about it:
It is a fundamentally undemocratic response to insinuate that people should be stripped of their choice ‘for the good of the party.’ That’s why I’ve vowed to continue our campaign as long as we have revenue and support, until the people have decided.
Much of Carson’s “support” involves the pyramid scheme he built his campaign around. Carson wrote a book, he traveled the country selling the book to gullible people. Actually trying to get elected appears to be less than an afterthought. His advisers were even worse. They plundered his campaign war chest with abandon. Or as The Atlantic observed:
That’s because Team Carson has been plowing a huge portion of the money it raises back into fundraising, using costly direct-mail and telemarketing tactics. Pretty much every campaign uses those tools, but the extent to which Carson was using it raised eyebrows around politics. First, many of the companies being paid millions and millions of dollars are run by top campaign officials or their friends and relations, meaning those people are making a mint. Second, many of the contributions are coming from small-dollar donors. If that money is being given by well-meaning grassroots conservatives for a campaign that’s designed not to win but to produce revenue for venders, isn’t it just a grift?
When Carson finally recedes into the shadows – probably next week – he will be an extremely wealthy man and one that accomplished nothing politically. Mike Huckabee, the original Republican huckster, would be proud.
Carson himself noted that his campaign operated in a manner that most would consider “fraud” in any other context. Addressing the obscene amount of money he spent on a losing campaign he remarked:
We had people who didn’t really seem to understand finances,” a laughing Carson told CNN’s Poppy Harlow on ‘CNN Newsroom,’ adding, “or maybe they did—maybe they were doing it on purpose.
They were doing it on purpose. The Carson team used his ailing campaign to make a fortune – opportunistic bloodsuckers feasting on a dead whale as it slowly sinks to the bottom of the ocean. But before it can, Carson’s team needs his campaign to stay afloat for just a little longer. As long as Carson isn’t technically finished, they can continue to take and spend campaign cash at will. And that’s the whole point, isn’t it?
Featured image via Flickr