Why a strategic exit for Ben Carson would be to endorse Marco Rubio

If Carson gives Rubio his support, things could change for the Republicans.

Baruch Stein,

OpEds Baruch Stein
Baruch Stein
INN: Stein

It has become clear that Ben Carson will not be the republican nominee. As that reality, and the dynamic of a Trump verse all contest with Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio fighting to be the anti-Trump, are reinforced with time, Carson’s numbers can be expected to drop further. I sympathize with the adrenaline based need to fight to the end, but there is space between suspending your campaign and quitting.

The suspension of a campaign is often followed by the endorsement of another candidate. The intensity of the competition means that Carson’s
Trump’s fumbling in his handling of an endorsement by KKK leader David Duke, and Cruz’s fumbling in his handling of an endorsement by a pastor many regard as an anti-Semite, are among the worst in the republicans’ history of being seen as a party for white men.
support could have a major impact in tipping the balance of the scales in favor of one of the other candidates, and should be a coveted prize for whoever manages to get it.

This is the height of Carson’s clout and the moment to cash it in. If he waits he will lose it, along with his vote tallies. Carson should offer his endorsement in exchange for a prospective vice presidential pick, but given what remains the reality of his lack of political experience and his background as a doctor, he should be willing to accept a negotiated prospective appointment as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Despite the illusion of Trump’s success, not a single one of his victories prior to Super Tuesday was won with a majority of votes. Each involved a splitting of the difference where Trumpeteers were outnumbered by non-Trumpeteers, but the non-Trumpeteer vote was divided between so many candidates that none emerged at the top. A non-Trump nomination will in fact require consolidation.

Assuming he is not a potential Trumpeteer, and given his accusation of “dirty tricks” by Cruz’s campaign, Carson’s endorsement is likely hanging there for Rubio to have or not have.

Republican resistance to affirmative action, and to making political issues out of things like diversity and race-relations notwithstanding, the political reality is that diversity is a necessity for an American cabinet today, even under a republican president, and Rubio’s Cuban descent will not suffice on its own. That, and the clout he has amassed for himself within the Republican Party, make Carson a sensible choice for a cabinet secretary.

Given Rubio’s need to fight off Cruz and consolidate the non-Trumpeteers in order to challenge Trump, he should be willing to offer a cabinet post in exchange for Carson’s entrenched involvement in his campaign, beyond a simple endorsement.

My respect for Carson’s candidacy has more to do with the diversity it brings to the Republican Party than any policy position or qualification he may have. The greater the extent of Carson’s continued involvement in national politics the greater the impact of that diversity.

Negotiating an exit at the right moment is not folding, it is ensuring your best outcome. Carson’s ability to find a way to continue public involvement beyond his candidacy is an opportunity to reinvent himself and get a fresh start, and is the best available way to continue providing diversity to the Republican Party at a time when its identity, and that of the entire country, hang in the balance.

Trump’s fumbling in his handling of an endorsement by KKK leader David Duke, and Cruz’s fumbling in his handling of an endorsement by a pastor many regard as an anti-Semite, are among the worst in the republicans’ history of being seen as a party for white men. This at a time when the Oscars are under intense criticism for the lacking diversity, and the country is still reeling from a series of incidents involving police handling of minority suspects going back to the August 2014 episode in Ferguson.

Though the Trump and Cruz fumbles aggravate the republicans’ image, a Rubio nomination with visible Carson involvement is a ready antidote, and the apparent failure of previous efforts to address race-relations in America, such as affirmative action, makes the topic ripe for a republican alternative to the democrats’ seeming monopoly on the issue.




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