I'll say a few things about Ben Carson. To begin with, if it was a choice between Trump and Carson in the primaries, I'd vote for Carson in a heartbeat. Likewise, it if was a choice between Hillary and Carson in the general, I'd vote for Carson in a heartbeat.
I don't know quite how to account for Carson's popularity. I think it's partly due to some conservative voters who seek a protest candidate, and he's more acceptable than Trump.
Thus far there's been a disconnect between his popularity and his debate performances. There's an ironic sense in which Carson is intellectually lazy–something he shares in common with Trump. "Ironic," I say, because he's very intellectually disciplined when it comes to neurology. But outside his specialization, Carson seems to think his personal experience of triumph over adversity equips him with all he really needs to know to make domestic and foreign policy judgments.
One reason that hasn't hurt him thus far may be that his reputation precedes him. He's been a regular on the 700 Club. So I'm guessing he had a following even before he threw his hat into the ring. And it's the kind of following that's normally invisible to pundits, because they don't move in the same circles or watch the same media.
Likewise, there's a movie about him–the kind of inspirational movie that's family viewing for a certain Christian audience. Here's a review:
All this flies under the radar of the pundits.
One of Carson's potential political liabilities is that his so much of his popularity is based on personal appeal and his inspirational biography. That means he has nothing to fall back on if his reputation is tarnished.
In that respect, one problem is his use of ghostwriters who embellished his record. In addition, there's evidence that he himself has a weakness for flattering tall tales:
In addition, he used to be pro-abortion:
One would like to know when and why he supposedly become prolife.
Actually, his (former?) pro-abortion position is consistent with his Seventh-Day Adventist faith. Although it has a conservative reputation, it takes a very liberal position on abortion. And not just on paper. SDA hospitals routinely perform elective/theraputic abortions:
In that respect, it's not surprising that he used to be pro-abortion. One wonders how firm his current prolife posture actually is.
Then there's his reported position on the infamous Terri Schiavo case:
He has a bad habit of attempting to wing it on very serious issues.