Dr. Carson has not placed among the top three in any of the primaries thus far, and even though his supporters are asking him to stay in the race, he will have to face the harsh reality sooner rather than later. Republican primary voters are favoring an angry, aggressive candidate as Donald Trump’s landslide victory in South Carolina seems to indicate. It goes almost without saying that Trumps’ and Carson’s styles could not be any more diametrically opposed. If voters want an angry candidate, they are not going to get it from Carson, whose demeanor is unswervingly cool and deliberative.
Still there is some room to maneuver for Carson. Whether he can add value as someone who reduces competition for Trump, or increases the viability of the Rubio campaign remains to be seen. At first glance it would seem that Rubio, both because of his Florida base (which he shared with Jeb Bush) and his establishment credentials, will inherit establishment votes conceded by Bush in his exit from the race. The competition for second place is where the race is at right now. Cruz needs every vote he can get – and that places Carson in a prime negotiating position. On the other hand, the Trump campaign is clearly worried about a surging Rubio after his campaign finished unexpectedly strong in the three primary contests thus far. The Trump campaign may see Carson’s exit from the race as an opportunity to boost Cruz and hamstring Rubio’s momentum.
Those who know, respect, and love Dr. Carson all want the best for him. When it’s all said and done, no matter how it turns out, Dr. Carson will have established a new model for an outsider candidate in Republican Presidential politics. He continues to build on a groundswell of goodwill and popularity all over the country that is sure to carry over into anything he decides to do next.