If there’s one thing conservatives hate more than Trump, it’s Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who once said he’d be the “strongest man on the face of the earth” if he was president.
The Carson-Trump rivalry is even worse, as both candidates are deeply disliked by a growing swath of the electorate.
But Trump has been making a lot of noise about it lately, and now it seems that his biggest problem with the other GOP candidate may not be that he’s wrong, but that he isn’t a conservative at all.
He might not be a conservative even if he were, in the minds of some voters.
“I think the Trump brand is pretty awful,” says Doug Kellogg, a conservative columnist who has published a book on the GOP and has long campaigned for Trump.
“I think that it’s a combination of things that have been going on for a long time, and the lack of conservative credentials.
I don’t think Trump is a conservative because he is a businessman.
I think he is.
I see the Republican Party as a company that has a lot more money than any other business in America.”
So what makes Trump such a bad candidate?
Kellogg says that, in part, it is a matter of his unwillingness to embrace a conservative agenda, and in part it is due to his refusal to stand up to the political establishment.
“I’ve been an ardent Trump supporter since I was a kid,” he says.
“He was the one who started the business.
He’s the one that has made the most money in the history of the Republican party.
He has taken on Wall Street.
He took on the establishment.”
He is also, perhaps, the biggest target of the GOP’s “establishment” wing, which has grown more emboldened since Trump won the GOP nomination.
The more moderate Republican establishment is already calling on Trump to step down, and it’s already trying to get his supporters to leave the party in droves.
Kellogg is among those who have resigned from the Republican National Committee and the Republican state parties in the wake of the party’s disastrous convention last week, and Kellogg has a theory about why.
“It’s a way for them to make a political point,” he said.
“The problem with that is that it doesn’t really have anything to do with conservatism.
It’s not that conservatives aren’t in the party anymore.
I know plenty of Trump supporters who are still in the GOP.
I’ve known a lot.
But they are a very small percentage.”
It’s not just Kellogg who sees Trump’s failings as rooted in his unwillingness or inability to stand against the establishment.
“Trump’s not a conservative by the way he talks,” he told me.
“In fact, he’s a conservative.
He doesn’t even know it.”
Trump’s problems aren’t limited to the GOP establishment.
Kellog has argued that Trump’s views on abortion, homosexuality, guns, religion, the death penalty, and, most recently, gun control are all anti-conservative.
But that doesn’t stop him from arguing that Trump is just as wrong as Carson on these issues.
“That’s a very hard-line position,” he explains.
“And if you say that you have to be pro-life, or you have a gun-free zone, or if you’re against gay marriage, or for the death of criminals, it really makes the conservative feel bad.”
The reason why Carson is so much better on these topics than Trump is that he has a history of being consistent.
Kellogs father was a conservative congressman in the 1980s, and he went on to be a major advocate for conservative legislation in the 1990s.
Kelligs father was also a major booster of Carson during his time as the governor of the state of Nevada, and when Carson ran for president, Kellogg’s father was among the first people who encouraged Carson to run.
“If you look at Carson’s positions on abortion and homosexuality, he was a supporter of abortion and gay marriage before he was even a Republican,” Kellogg said.
Trump hasn’t changed his positions on these subjects since his campaign.
And his opponents are still saying the same thing.
Kellg says that he was dismayed to see Carson on the campaign trail again this year, and that Trump has a better chance of winning if he does something similar.
“You know, I’m a big believer that there’s only one way to win in the Republican primary,” Kellog said.
But he also thinks that Carson would be a much better candidate if he actually tried to run on the issues he cares about.
Kellogl says that if Carson did anything on abortion or homosexuality, the public would see it and start to want a different candidate, and Carson would lose.
There are other, more subtle differences that make Carson more electable.
KellOG thinks that if Trump were to run as a third party