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Evangelicals and the Carson Illusion


The conservative mood is angry, frustrated, fed up. People have had enough, they’re tired of making excuses, they’re ready to really let their party have it.

I’m not talking about the voters, though — I’m talking about pundits and political professionals. Over the last month, as Donald Trump expanded his polling lead, prominent conservatives passed from a mild bemusement to a weary patience to a slow-burning fury with the voters — the “Trumpen Proletariat,” as National Review’s Jonah Goldberg memorably dubbed them — who support him.

The fed-up columnists have reasonable questions for Trump-supporting Republicans. How can fiscal conservatives support a single-payer-praising crony capitalist? How can social conservatives support a thrice-married sybarite? How can anyone who mocked the celebrity element in Obama’s 2008 campaign embrace the host of Celebrity Apprentice.

But if you’re looking for the candidate whose polling surge looks most like a march of voter folly, the Donald and his Trumpistas wouldn’t be the place I’d start. Instead, I would pick the Ben Carson phenomenon, and the evangelical Christians who increasingly form the core of his support.

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