When Ben Carson endorsed Donald Trump, it was yet another moment when we had no choice but to wonder whether Carson is some kind of mad scientist or, better yet, a somnambulist Batman villain. Not to relitigate the past, but Carson has a license to cut into the human brain, while he's also one of the most bizarre characters to step onto a presidential debate stage.
In some ways, the endorsement made sense. Carson is almost as much of a blurter as Trump, only Carson blurts weird and inexplicable things in slow motion. So, oddly enough, they're similar in terms of demagoguery, yet they move at different speeds. Plus, Trump and Carson never really sparred during the debates -- though Trump once joked that Carson behaves like a child molester. Oh, Trump, you orange scamp.
The child molester thing aside, it kind of makes sense, then, that Carson would endorse the frontrunner. But it turns out, Trump offered Carson political favors in exchange for his support. Specifically, Trump offered Carson a roll in the would-be Trump administration. ("Trump administration" ought to give any rational American's external genitals withdraw into their body cavities.)
How do we know this? Ben Carson blurted it. In slow motion. Said Carson to reporters:
“I will be doing things as well … Certainly in an advisory capacity [in Trump’s administration],” Carson said. “We haven’t handled out all the details but it is very important that we work together in this country … Again, I’m not going to reveal any details about it right now because all of this is still very liquid.”
Interesting, and not at all surprising. Quid pro quo deals are well-known features in American politics. The problem is this: such deals are rarely if ever spoken out loud in public. Why? Because quid pro quo deals are a violation of federal law. We turn now to 18 U.S. Code § 599:
“Whoever, being a candidate, directly or indirectly promises or pledges the appointment, or the use of his influence or support for the appointment of any person to any public or private position or employment, for the purpose of procuring support in his candidacy shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if the violation was willful, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”
Yep. If Trump indeed promised Ben Carson a role in his administration, Trump broke the law. That'd be a second violation, punishable by up to one year in prison (for less wealthy people we can presume), on top of a series of violations in which Trump abused his free speech rights by inciting violence against anyone who farts in his general direction.
Will Trump be held accountable? Hell no. Will Trump be the subject of congressional hearings and grilled for 11 hours? Absolutely not. Will the Republican establishment, which quietly claims to oppose Trump, join with the Democratic Party to make sure justice is served against the clown-faced sideshow geek? Not in a million years.
To that last point, the Republican establishment will never really stand up against Trump. Wait, come to think of it, allow me to qualify that. It's unlikely the GOP establishment will make any moves to strip the nomination from Trump should he surpass the required delegate threshold. Like Ben Carson and Chris Christie, the GOP would rather stay-the-course with a single nutbag as the nominee than to explode the party via a contested convention, which would surely guarantee the end of the Republican Party as we know it.
With Trump as the nominee, the Republicans will lose big in November, but they'll perhaps live to fight another day. So, don't expect the GOP to take serious issue with Trump's illegal and dangerous actions.
As for Ben Carson, it's very likely that right now, as you read this, he's contemplating another brain surgery. For his patient's sake, let's hope he's not whacked out on Ambien while he's doing it.