With the field still wide open for the 2016 Republican presidential race, supporters of Dr. Ben Carson making a long-shot bid for the GOP ’s nomination were out in force at the Western Conservative Summit this weekend.
Hawking “Run, Ben, Run” posters and “Ben Carson for President” regalia such as hats, buttons, and T-shirts, backers of the retired neurosurgeon made their presence felt at the Denver Hyatt Regency, according to the Washington Times.
“We’re getting a lot of response,” Colorado aircraft mechanic Art Dubus told the Washington Times. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm for him here.”
It’s not just in Denver. While Carson would be a newcomer to politics as a candidate, his presence has been growing on the national political stage since February 2013. That’s when his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast criticizing Obamacare – with President Obama in attendance – made Carson a virtual household name in the national conservative movement.
The National Draft Ben Carson Committee has raised a total of about $7.2 million, the Times reported. And while that’s a pittance compared to what a presidential campaign would cost, it’s not exactly tip money.
And Carson hasn’t been very clear on whether he’s even seriously interested in taking it on.
That didn’t stop the chants of “Run, Ben, Run” that greeted Carson’s featured speech at the summit Friday night, according to the Times – where Carson currently holds an opinion writer slot.
In the speech, Carson argued that a conservative successor to Obama is vital to the country’s recovery from what will be by 2016 eight years of the most progressive – to be charitable – president in the country’s history.
“Our country is in critical condition right now. And if we don’t do something about it in the relatively near future, it’s going to be over,” Carson said, according to the Times. “If we get another progressive president in place and they get a chance to appoint three more Supreme Court justices, that’s the end of the United States as we know it. So this is the most serious situation we’ve had in a long time.”
Carson’s speech contained a message possibly aimed at some of the Republican Party’s most conservative voters – many of them his own supporters: That defeating the Democrats’ candidate in the next presidential election is more important than any intra-party differences that divide voters on the right.
“Some people are not going to like what I’m about to say, but after the primaries are over, if your candidate didn’t win, don’t take your marbles and go home,” Carson said.
“[The winning candidate] may not agree with you on everything, but it is much better to work with somebody who agrees with you 90 percent of the time than someone who disagrees with you 100 percent of the time.”
And that’s tough to disagree with.
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