Dr. Ben Carson was born into an impoverished family in Detroit. At the age of eight, his father abandoned his family and his mother was forced to work multiple jobs and long hours to sustain the family and their one-bedroom apartment. Dr. Carson describes his childhood as one of anger and volatility, culminating in an attempted stabbing of his friend when he was in 9th grade. After the event, Dr. Ben Carson turned to the Bible, began reading, and improved his grades in order to be accepted to Yale University. Parts of Dr. Carson’s childhood, as detailed in his autobiography Gifted Hands, have come under scrutiny during the 2016 presidential election, including the story of the attempted stabbing and his claim that he received a full scholarship from West Point. The latter issue has since been clarified by Dr. Carson, though the claim is for the most part true.
After graduating in 1973, Dr. Carson went to the University of Michigan Medical School, where he received his MD in 1977. Dr. Carson completed his residency at John Hopkins hospital in Boston, where he would return as Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery. While Director, a position he would hold for 26 years, Dr. Carson became nationally renowned in 1987 when he completed the first successful separation of twins conjoined at the back of the head. Dr. Carson is also celebrated for his development of new-age hemispherectomy, a treatment for epilepsy, as well as other groundbreaking procedures and his unique surgical skills.
After publishing eight books, two of which were New York Times Bestsellers, Ben Carson gradually entered the political fray with a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast that was highly critical of President Obama and his signature health care plan. In May of 2015, Dr. Carson officially entered the race for the Republican nomination. Dr. Carson has been very outspoken against the Affordable Care Act, calling it “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.” He has instead proposed the creation of Health Care Savings for all Americans upon birth into which the government pays insurance subsidies. Dr. Carson supports increased border surveillance and a pathway to legal status for illegal immigrants currently residing in the country. He also supports tax-code overhaul that would create a flat-tax at 15%.
Dr. Ben Carson saw a surge in the polls in the fall of 2015, reaching Donald Trump and even eclipsing him in some polls nationally. However, after the December terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Dr. Carson has lost support given his inexperience on foreign policy issues. His grasp of homeland security and defense issues has come into question, and his debate performances have done little to quell concerns.