|Illustration by DonkeyHotey.|
By David Corn
When retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, the current GOP 2016 front-runner, campaigns, he routinely pitches "common sense solutions from We the People." But it seems the candidate who celebrates a cheerful and straightforward populism has a fair bit of disdain for many of his fellow citizens, for at a videotaped event last year, while discussing the American people, he declared, "Many of them are stupid."
Carson made this observation while speaking at the Richard Nixon library on October 19, 2014, as part of a book tour. After a fifteen-minute talk—prior to a book-signing—Carson was asked if he might run for president as an independent. He vowed not to do so, noting this would fracture the Republican vote. He then pivoted to another topic: unnamed political foes—presumably liberals, progressives, secularists, Marxists, or whatever—penetrating key elements of American society to gain control of the nation:
They can twist and turn things as much as they want. But what they don't understand—and they miscalculated. They were doing a great job in terms of fundamentally changing this nation. In terms of infiltrating the school systems. In terms of infiltrating the media. All of this—they've done a great job. Everything was perfect. Except they underestimated the intelligence of the American people. The people are not as stupid as they think they are. Many of them are stupid. Okay. But I'm talking about overall.
The crowd laughed when Carson made that crack about dumb Americans, and Carson let out a loud guffaw.