Congratulations, Ben Carson! You won!
By any measure, Ben's 2015 project has been a complete success, accomplishing everything it was designed to do: Ben raised millions of dollars, sold a ton of books, upped his speaking fee, and turned the heads of every cable news casting director in the country.
And sure, he's never going to be president, and his poll numbers are falling, and he just lost two top campaign advisors. But so what? He's got money!
"Ben Carson loses two top aides as his campaign flounders," reports the LA Times, still operating under the assumption that Ben's running a campaign for president rather than a get-richer-quick scheme.
Departing the Carson enterprise this week are campaign manager Barry Bennett and communications director Doug Watts. Why are they leaving? Who knows. We're close to the Iowa primaries, which is probably about as far as Carson intends to go — he'll lose there, then in New Hampshire, then mmmmmmmmmaybe he'll stick around long enough to win some approval from a few voters in South Carolina, and then it's time to pivot back to public speaking, endorsements, and auditioning for Fox News.
At that point, who needs campaign managers and political communications? Doug and Barry's departure makes perfect sense. (Also they apparently hated one of Carson's friends, so there might've been a little drama there.)
It's been a wildly profitable year for Carson. His "presidential campaign" just announced that they've raised $23 million over the last three months (on top of $32 million earlier in the year), and most of that money's going right back into raising even MORE money. Carson's speaking fees brought in $4.3 million over the last two years. Since May, he's done seven paid events, for which he was paid somewhere between a quarter and a half million dollars. In September, one speech at an anti-abortion gathering brought him $15,000 to $50,000. And he's sold 52,000 copies of his book, probably mostly to reporters trying to unravel all his tall tales.
His polls numbers are shitty, but his money-numbers — which are what really matters — have the other candidates beat.
In fact, Carson might flee the race sooner rather than later. His favorability peaked around October at 53%, and it's been sinking fast — it's just 28% now. That's still pretty good, but he might want to get out while the getting's good. Cash in that 28% with a book tour, a "charity," a radio show, whatever.
But for now he can probably just relax, kick back, and enjoy the last few hours of what was probably the most profitable year of his life. Pretending to run for President is one of the best-paying jobs in the country.