Good old-fashioned outrage is still best way into campaign donors’ hearts and wallets.
For Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson, months of robocalls, campaign speeches, and merchandise sales paled in comparison to the campaign donations he received after a series of anti-Muslim remarks. Carson, who drew widespread criticism after declaring on Sunday that the United States should not elect a Muslim president, is now raking in the cash from donors who share his anti-Islam sympathies.
“We sent out an email to Carson supporters, and we’ve never had an email raise so much money so quickly—it’s unbelievable,” John Philip Sousa IV, chair of the National Draft Ben Carson for President PAC, and great-grandson of the marching band icon, told The Washington Times.
Carson delivered his original anti-Muslim remarks Sunday on Meet the Press, telling host Chuck Todd that “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”
During a Monday appearance on Fox News, Carson clarified that he would accept a Muslim candidate, so long as they renounced the central tenets of their religion and culture.
Apology or not, Sousa says Carson struck a chord with voters, specifically with those who fear that a Muslim president will bring America under the reign of Sharia.
“My phone has exploded over the last 48 hours—of people wanting me to pass on to Dr. Carson how much they respect his truthfulness and believe in the American system, and how absolutely not should anyone who believes in Sharia law come close to the White House. The people are on Dr. Carson’s side on this one—sorry NBC, you lose,” Sousa said.
The support of the people is worth at least $1 million, Carson says.
“The money has been coming in so fast, it’s hard to even keep up with it,” Carson told Fox News on Wednesday when asked about his comments’ effect on contributions. “I remember the day of the last debate, within 24 hours we raised $1 million. And it’s coming in at least at that rate if not quite a bit faster.”
$1 million is a significant sum for any candidate, particularly Carson, who has been largely supported by small donors. His campaign took in approximately $20 million between March and September, placing him far behind frontrunners like Jeb Bush, who has pulled in over $120 million, and Hillary Clinton, who has raised over $65 million.
Even without the additional contributions, Carson is rallying in the polls, while better-funded opponents like Scott Walker drop from the race. A Tuesday survey from Public Policy Polling found Carson in second place among Iowa Republicans, polling at 17 percent behind Donald Trump’s 24 percent.
Among these voters, Carson’s brand of anti-Muslim concern trolling is an asset, rather than a liability. 69 percent of Iowa Republicans polled said that Barack Obama had waged a war on Christianity. Only 49 percent of respondents said Islam should be legal in the United States, with 30 percent answering that it should be criminalized.