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Ben Carson Threatens to Quit GOP

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Ben Carson isn’t waiting to see what happens next summer when Republican Party delegates gather in Cleveland to nominate their standard-bearer in the race for the White House. Carson issued a statement Friday, reported by the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post, declaring if party officials and leaders decide the nominee instead of delegates, he will leave the Republican Party and take his conservative supporters with him:

Out & About's James Allen Grady, one of the leading voices covering the LGBT community in the American south, responded to Carson's "tantrum," as Salon called it, with a sarcastic tweet:

All this follows a report in the Post Thursday that said “several longtime Republican power brokers” want party leaders to lay the groundwork for a floor fight that would focus the might of the GOP’s mainstream supporters around an alternative to controversial billionaire Donald Trump. 

This plan, the Post reports, would go into effect if Trump were to emerge from next year’s Republican primaries as the eventual nominee. It was reportedly hatched Monday when more than 20 GOP officials and leading figures dined in Washington, D.C., at and event hosted by Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus.

In a statement responding to that report that the Post described as “unusually aggressive,” Carson made references to the front-runner’s repeated remarks that if treated "unfairly,” Trump would quit the party:

“If this was the beginning of a plan to subvert the will of the voters and replace it with the will of the political elite,” said Carson in his statement, “I assure you Donald Trump will not be the only one leaving the party. I pray that the report in the Post this morning was incorrect. If it is correct, every voter who is standing for change must know they are being betrayed. I won't stand for it."

According to the Los Angeles Times, RNC spokesman Sean Spicer responded to Carson’s statement with one of his own: "His prayers have been answered," signaling to the paper that ultimately voters, not back-room bosses, will decide the Republican nominee next summer.

It would be a shock to see anything less than the now-familiar and mundane gathering to choose a candidate, through the accumulation of delegates in state primaries and caucuses. There has been a clear favorite going into both major parties' conventions for many years — Americans have not seen anything resembling a brokered or splintered nominating process since 1976, the last time the race to lead the party was decided at any political convention. Ronald Reagan just barely lost the Republican presidential nomination that year to incumbent President Gerald Ford, who ultimately lost the election to Jimmy Carter. Reagan would rebound and claim the nomination as well as the White House four years later. 

Carson’s record is literally nonexistent, given that he has never held any elected office, but The Advocate has logged the many nonsupportive positions he has taken on LGBT issues in the 2016 campaign. 

If Carson were to drop out of the GOP and run as a third-party candidate, he’d likely campaign on several worrisome platforms: that marriage equality will lead to polygamy and that it’s just as sinful as murder, bestiality, and pedophilia; that LGBT and single parents are not of “equal value” to straight married parents; that sexual orientation is a choice as proved by the fact people in prison engage in same-sex acts; and that a sitting president can simply ignore the U.S. Constitution, especially as it applies to the June 26 ruling guaranteeing marriage equality across America.

Other potential platform planks would be what Carson believes is the power of states to pass “right to discriminate” legislation to allow businesses to legally refuse to serve LGBT people; that elected officials like antigay Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis have a religious right to turn away LGBT people; that transgender Americans should be relegated to using separate “trans-only” bathrooms instead of those assigned for use by men and women; and that allowing transgender members of the armed services is turning America’s military into a “laboratory for social experimentation.”

Read more about Carson’s positions, which he believes are not homophobic, here, or transphobic, here. 

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