Everyone who has written Dr. Ben Carson off as a fringe candidate might need to rethink their evaluation. Carson scored a shocking upset at this year’s Southern Republican Leadership Conference, winning the majority of the vote in the annual Oklahoma straw poll. While the win doesn’t necessarily portend a surprise victory for the surgeon next year, it would be just as foolish to pretend that it means nothing. And that, unfortunately, is exactly what most political writers are claiming.
Carson, who became the event’s keynote speaker when Ted Cruz withdrew at the last minute, secured the victory with 25 percent of the votes. He was closely followed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Cruz, both of whom got 20 percent of the vote. From there, it was Chris Christie and Rick Perry at 5 percent each, and the rest of the field – including presumed frontrunners Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio – tied with 4 percent of the vote.
Critics are insisting that Carson came to Oklahoma to win, and his campaign did everything possible to secure that victory. Meanwhile, several of the candidates, including Cruz and Paul, were back in Washington, tied up with the Patriot Act. Bush said early on that he had no interest in participating. If that casts a shadow over Carson’s win, it doesn’t make it the empty victory the media is making it out to be. There is substance here. Carson may be gaffe-prone and a little rough around the edges, but he’s no joke.
Is he the best candidate? That’s for you to decide in the coming months. But that’s the thing. You decide. Don’t let the media do it for you, even when it’s conservative media. Plenty of these sites have connections to the candidates that run deeper than ideology. Some get their marching orders straight from the Republican Party. And the liberal sites have their own reasons for dismissing far-right contenders. If they can orchestrate a victory for Bush, a guy widely disliked among the conservative base, they think they can run over him just as they did Romney and McCain. You saw how frightened they were when wildcard Sarah Palin came out of nowhere. They systematically destroyed her. And conservatives who started out loving Palin generally came to believe everything they heard.
If we want to really change the country, we have to stop letting the biased media tell us who to vote for. We have to stop going to the polls to vote for the candidate who will win. Your vote is not a wager. The only way you can “throw it away” is to vote for someone you don’t actually want to win. The media’s game is to make you think the outcome is preordained. Don’t fall for it. They are only right when voters willingly fulfill their prophecies.