Ben Carson Is V. Chill

The former pediatric neurosurgeon is the literal sleeper candidate of the Republican presidential race.

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Sep 17 2015, 2:00am

Ben Carson, the anti-Donald Trump. Screencap via CNN

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The Most Surprising Moment from the CNN Republican Debate

Ben Carson didn't look much more awake Wednesday than he did the last time he showed up at a presidential debate. As he was then, the 63-year-old former pediatric neurosurgeon looked practically passed out when he took the podium at the CNN presidential debate, his somnolent, soft-spoken style a complete foil to Donald Trump's bombast.

But Carson's slow, spaciness belies his surprising success—if anything, Carson should be excited about the momentum he's been building since the first presidential debate. A renowned Johns Hopkins physician and conservative folk hero, Carson has capitalized on his lack of political experience, riding a wave of voter discontent up the Republican 2016 polls. After nailing the last 10 minutes of the first debate with an anecdote about being the first person to separate conjoined twins, Carson jumped five points in the polls—an increase of about 70 percent.

He got another big jolt this week, on the eve of the second debate, with the release of a new New York Time/CBS poll that shows him pulling nearly even with Republican frontrunner Trump.

Part of that can be explained by the fact that Carson, like Trump, is an outsider. Faced with the idea of another Bush or a Clinton in the White House, many Republican voters seem to be opting to fuck with the system, picking candidates that have never been elected to public office.

"I don't really want to get into describing who's a politician and who's not a politician, but I think people have kind of made that decision for themselves and will continue to do so."

Carson's recent success in the polls could give Republican voters uncomfortable with the idea of President Trump an opportunity to rally behind a more low-key candidate. And as Carson demonstrated Wednesday, he is definitely the most chill Republican running for president in 2016.

But while the doctor may be a more personable choice than The Donald, Carson's political views tend to fall on the far right. For instance, he advocates for imposing a "tithe,"contribute 10 percent of his or her income in taxes, thinks homosexuality is an abomination, and feels that climate change is irrelevant.

During the debate, Carson didn't speak often, but he expanded upon his views on immigration and the minimum wage. For instance, he's chill with immigrants staying in the states illegally as long as they're willing to toil in fields. "I've talked to farmers and they've said they cannot hire Americans to do the kind of jobs I'm talking about," he reasoned.

What's more, he's chill with raising the minimum wage, as long as there's a second minimum wage for new workers, so that it's not "impractical" for employers to hire them.

Unfortunately, during a conversation about drug use, it was only Jeb(!) Bush who chimed in and admitted to smoking the stuff—albeit 40 years ago.

Ben Carson is chill, but he's not that chill.

Follow Allie Conti on Twitter.

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