For months now, Donald Trump has dominated the Republican presidential primary field both nationally and in almost every state-level poll that’s been taken. But for the first time this week, Dr. Ben Carson is pulling ahead. In a new poll out from the New York Times and CBS News, Republican primary voters prefer the retired neurosurgeon to every other candidate in the running.
Carson leads nationally with 26 percent of primary voters, leaving longtime frontrunner Trump with only 22 percent. The New York Times was quick to point out that this difference falls within the sampling error, meaning the two could still be essentially tied nationwide. But even if that’s true, Carson is ahead in Iowa according to nearly every poll.
The rest of the field is struggling, to say the least. The poll has Marco Rubio in third place with 8 percent and Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina each have 7 percent. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, and John Kasich are all hovering at 4 percent.
What’s fascinating about Carson’s rise is how invulnerable he is to mainstream media attacks. The press has been merciless over the past week, hammering Carson on abortion, his religious beliefs, and his insistence on comparing political injustices to Nazi Germany. And even though every liberal writer in the country has called him a moron, his numbers keep going up. You would have thought these scumbags would have learned their lesson with Trump; the more you attack him, the more popular he gets.
So now the fun begins. Trump has already sensed his campaign is in trouble, and he has revised his message accordingly. He’s made some pointed comments about Carson’s religion – Seventh Day Adventist – and he’s hit him with the same “low energy” comments that worked well against Bush. But for the first time since he landed in the race with a big splash, Trump is now fighting from underneath. It will be interesting to see how that changes his approach, if at all.
If there’s any way to read into the Republican race so far, it might be that voters are looking for authenticity above all else. In Carson and Trump, they have found two candidates who made their names in the private sector, coming to the race without the stink of Republican failure clouding their appeal. Love them or loathe them, not even their liberal detractors doubt their sincerity. Compare them to Hillary Clinton and it’s no contest. She is everything they’re not and vice-versa.
What more could we want from a presidential election?