Here’s Why Other Candidates Are Giving Ben Carson a Pass

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Why didn’t any of the other candidates go after Ben Carson last night? He’s a frontrunner, isn’t he?

Yeah, he is. Here’s my guess: when you see a guy digging himself into a hole, why get in the way? More and more, as the stress of the campaign gets to him, Carson is freely exposing himself as an honest-to-God crackpot. Not just a hardcore conservative like Ted Cruz or an ego-driven windbag like Donald Trump, but a true Glenn Beck/Michele Bachmann/Alex Jones type who really and truly believes in fever swamp conspiracy theories. Criticize his past and he goes full frontal on every bit of listserv crankery about Barack Obama—and he does it pretty fluently, too. He obviously knows this stuff cold. Push him on his odd world view and he starts spouting off about how “secular progressives” are destroying America and probably trying to kill him. Ask him about his theory that the pyramids were built by Joseph to store grain, and he doesn’t blink. Sure he still believes that. Put him in a friendly setting and he’ll give you the full nine yards about how political correctness is responsible for everything from drug addiction to persecution of Christians to Marxist tyranny and gun confiscation.

This is a guy who’s set to implode all by himself, so why waste energy attacking him? Eventually he’ll suggest that the pope is actually Satan or something, and then he’ll be forced to slink back to the rubber-chicken circuit—with a higher speaking fee to soothe his pain. In the meantime, better to worry about the folks who might actually pose a real threat.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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