Donald Trump is secretly an atheist

Ben Carson overtakes Donald Trump

Ben Carson was the first and so far only presidential candidate to see Ferguson. In the suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, riots broke out last year after white police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed the unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. Ferguson has reinvigorated the black, criminal and civil rights debate in the United States. The Republicans had largely left out these topics. Carson himself has accused his party of neglecting black voters.

When the Republican visited Ferguson in September, he criticized the police there. She behaved disrespectful to the population by leaving Brown's body on the street for hours. But he also said the blacks in Ferguson were "unwilling to acknowledge that Michael Brown was not clean."

Carson knows about inequality in America. He grew up in poor conditions with his single mother in the violent downtown Detroit. His two older cousins ​​were killed on the street. He himself believed that he would not be older than 25.

His mother, who was illiterate, urged him to read a lot. Her son's education was very important to her. Carson became a famous neurosurgeon at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. In 1987 he led a medical team that separated for the first time conjoined twins who had grown together at the back of their heads.

In the last two presidential elections, Republicans only got single-digit support rates for black voters. Carson hopes to change that. But according to the University of Arkansas political scientist Prof. Angie Maxwell, Barack Obama's presidency and incidents like Ferguson have made black Americans lean towards the Democrats more than ever.

Ben Carson (left) with fellow Republican candidates in a televised debate

Support through grass roots campaign

Carson did not join the Republican Party until 2014 after initially registering as an independent candidate. He has never held a political office and even points out this lack of experience as positive. "I'm not a politician and I don't want to be one," Carson said when he announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination in May. "Politicians do what is politically opportune. I want to do what is right."

Like Donald Trump, Carson benefits from his status as a political outsider among the Republican grassroots. While the media focused primarily on Trump, Carson has quietly put himself at the head of the applicants.

According to a nationwide poll by the New York Times and CBS on Tuesday, Carson is four percentage points ahead of Trump. In Iowa, which is considered a pioneering state on the way to nomination, the neurosurgeon is even 14 percentage points ahead of the real estate mogul, according to a survey by Monmoth University. As a Seventh-day Adventist member, Carson also mobilizes white evangelicals, one of the most important Republican support groups.

"He plays the evangelical card a lot better than Trump," says Angie Maxwell. "Religion is probably the mainspring of Republicans. If there's no other real evangelical in the running, Carson has these people behind him."

With his grassroots campaign, he also knocked other applicants out of the field when collecting donations. Carson brought in $ 20 million in the third quarter of 2015, almost twice as much as Jeb Bush.

Carson gained political fame in 2013 when he spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast, an annual Christian event in Washington in which the President also attends. Just a few meters from Obama, Carson railed against Obama's health insurance reform. It became the darling of the conservative media practically overnight.

Carson has seen a rapid rise

Controversial views

In the same speech, Carson also debated political correctness, calling it "dangerous" and a "terrible thing". He also entered the nomination campaign with the topic. As a candidate, he has expressed controversial views about homosexuals and Muslims. When asked in September on NBC whether Islam was compatible with the American constitution, Carson said he was "not in favor of putting a Muslim at the head of this nation."

Carson is also against gay marriage. In an interview with CNN in March, Carson said homosexuality was the result of a personal choice: "A lot of people who go to jail go in straight and when they get out they're homosexuals," he said.

In 2006, in a discussion with scientist and atheist Richard Dawkins, he said he did not believe in evolution. The neurosurgeon and devout Christian said Darwin's theory of evolution was "the work of the devil".