The week has not been good for the GOP. In Tuesday's midterms, the party lost badly to the Democrats, even in red Ohio and Kentucky, primarily on abortion.
And Wednesday night's NBC debate, the best-moderated debate so far, showed how woefully inadequate the second GOP line-up is. Only Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former UN ambassador Nikki Haley showed some promise. Vivek Ramaswamy was running to be Trump's VP.
With polls from every media outlet consistently showing that former President Donald Trump is the overwhelming favorite to win the GOP nomination next year, the obvious parlor game has become: Who would Trump pick as his running mate?
An excellent choice would be former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson. We understand that no candidate would dream of announcing this far ahead - after all, the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary in the snows and bitter chills of January - are two months away. But this election cycle is different from all others in recent memory.
At 57.9%, Trump outpolls all of his competitors combined. It is an extraordinary situation, not just because it is a snapshot of this week. The former president has been leading this way since August 2022. At CPAC 2022, which we covered gavel to gavel, Trump came in at 69%. Unless Trump is physically impaired or becomes a convicted felon, he will be the standard bearer of the GOP for the third consecutive presidential election. It is an astonishing grip on the party.
Last weekend, major mainstream media outlets, including NYT/Sienna and CBS News, released polls for an expected Trump-Biden rematch. Nearly all showed Trump beating Biden in the battleground states except Wisconsin, which was close. In the NYT/Sienna poll, Trump's lead in Nevada, Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, and Pennsylvania was much higher than Biden's victory margin in those states in 2020. It was a surreal moment for the media, providing split-screen coverage about the gory details of Trump's legal troubles and perceived unpopularity but grudgingly conceding that he could well become the nation's 47th President.
In the most recent I&I/TIPP national poll, Biden and Trump are in a dead heat. Trump is supported by 45% of women, while Biden has 35% support among them. Among minorities, Biden enjoys strong support at 61%, while Trump has 23% support.
The poll also showed that Kamala Harris leads among Democratic contenders as a potential replacement for Biden.
For Trump to ensure victory, he needs a rock-solid partner by his side, one who is able in his own right, believes in the MAGA agenda, and is eminently loyal. Ben Carson ticks off all these boxes.
Ben Carson is a reliable MAGA voice. In Iowa last week to endorse Trump for the nomination, Carson said: "I want to offer my most confident and full endorsement of Donald J. Trump. He believes in our freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to keep and bear arms. So we can fix our country and we can make America great again. And President Donald J. Trump is the person to do that."
Addressing the Biden administration's and other Leftist actors' lawfare against Trump, Carson tweeted later: "Donald Trump lost millions, if not billions of dollars. And he's been attacked constantly and demonized, and yet, he's still there. They haven't gotten rid of him. They're trying to do everything in their power to get rid of [him]. Because he's the biggest threat to the administrative state and to the swamp."
As a V.P. candidate, Carson, who is Black, is no comparison in academic and professional standing to Kamala Harris, the presumptive V.P. nominee for the Democrats.
With a B.A. degree from Yale and an M.D. from the University of Michigan, Carson pursued neurosurgery as his specialization. He became the director of pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center in 1984 at age 33—the youngest chief of pediatric neurosurgery in the United States, writing over 100 neurosurgical publications. In 1987, he led a team of surgeons in the first known separation of conjoined twins joined at the back of the head. In 2008, Carson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States. Twenty-eight years after that record surgery accomplishment, even the Washington Post, not necessarily the best media outlet to write puff pieces about conservatives, published a story lavishing praise on Carson.
Carson was among the few cabinet officials who served throughout Trump's first term. Never seeking the spotlight as HUD secretary, he was wise not to play doctor during the worst pandemic in a century, although he was eminently qualified. He never made public comments undercutting Trump, displaying a restraint that speaks volumes about his character. He knew his official limits and chose not to cross them, a welcome departure from the likes of Chris Christie, who can't stop rushing towards a T.V. camera at every chance.
According to the NYT/Sienna poll, Trump is already attracting 22% of the Black vote, an incredible level unseen in modern history. Ben Carson on the ticket will cement and increase that lead. At 72, Carson is relatively young and maintains excellent fitness. With the Oval Office just a heartbeat away, Carson would be a calm, assured, soothing voice to debate and contrast Kamala Harris.
Trump should pick Ben Carson to be his running mate. It's a no-brainer of a decision (no pun intended).
Rajkamal Rao is a columnist and a member of the tippinsights editorial board. He is an American entrepreneur and wrote the WorldView column for the Hindu BusinessLine, India's second-largest financial newspaper, on the economy, politics, immigration, foreign affairs, and sports.
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