The fifth GOP debate took place on Tuesday night, with nine candidates taking the stage for the primary event and four others relegated to the undercard. And once again, Jim Gilmore failed to make an appearance. The former governor of Virginia hasn't been on the stage since the first debate, but he has somehow continued with his campaign. Still, though Gilmore's the obvious choice to be next on the chopping block, the next candidate to drop out should be Ben Carson. Having given the weakest performance during Tuesday's prime-time debate, he may very well have thrown in the towel onstage at the Venetian in Las Vegas.
The retired neurosurgeon's performance was lackluster. While some might attribute this to his cold, Carson once again stumbled with foreign policy knowledge, and for the first time all election season, he complained about the amount of time that he was given to speak. Despite the complaint, and despite talking the fifth-most out of the nine candidates, Carson did little to utilize his debate appearance, instead side-stepping important questions about national security and only displaying a cursory knowledge of important issues and current events. Regarding what he would do about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Carson highlighted what he says is a growing military, but did little to address how he'd combat it.
Carson has consistently looked to better himself and his knowledge of foreign affairs, long thought to be one of his weakest points. Despite a trip to Jordan and a planned trip to Israel, the candidate is rapidly losing momentum. His debate tactics have yet to change, and he seems to be attracting fewer and fewer supporters. Though the political newcomer has previously prided himself on his resilience and fortitude, even a successful medical professional such as himself must be aware of his campaign appearing to draw to a close. In a NBC / Wall Street Journal poll taken prior to the latest debate, Carson's numbers had plummeted from an October high of 29 percent to just 11 percent, putting him in fourth place.
He's also waging an incredibly costly campaign. According to The Wall Street Journal, Carson spent the most out of any candidate last quarter — and a dizzying 72 percent of money raised has gone toward attracting more donors. Carson's campaign is not only expensive but also appears to be less and less effective, given the aforementioned numbers.
He has found success in speaking engagements, however. Carson's reportedly earned nearly half a million dollars from such events. For him to drop out next would make perfect sense from a financial as well as a political standpoint. He could continue to add a bit of outsider perspective to the election via public speaking, while also reaping ample monetary rewards. The timing is currently ideal for Carson to drop out of the election and make the most out of a failed campaign.