The case for Carson is all about math and race. Carson is African-American and his supporters think that will be his path to victory. He's "a respected figure among black Americans," the video explains, and if he can win just 17 percent of the black vote, it is "mathematically impossible" for a Democrat to win the White House.
Vernon Robinson, a former three-time congressional candidate and George H.W. Bush appointee, started the draft campaign with John Philip Sousa IV and others. He says Carson, who is scheduled to speak Saturday at CPAC, is the only candidate who can broaden the GOP base among minorities, while passing muster with conservative primary voters.
"At 17 percent, Hillary loses all of the swing states and the Roosevelt Democratic coalition is destroyed," Robinson explains. "In addition, Ben Carson is able to clearly and calmly articulate conservative positions in a way the average voter can understand.… He's the only guy who can bond with all of the American people."
The draft committee raised $2.83 million from 47,000 donors in its first six months of operation, which ended in late February. "We crushed Ready for Hillary in fundraising," Robinson gloats. The main group supporting the former secretary of State raised $1.25 million its first six months, and then $2.75 million in the next half-year.
"This isn't something that three drunks came up with at a bar," he continues.
The group is trying to run a sophisticated, if quixotic, campaign. They're modeling themselves not after a national Republican group, but Organizing for America, the pro-Obama group, and Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign, which Robinson holds up as the model of responsiveness and agility.
There's a long history of draft campaigns in American politics, with former NATO leader Wesley Clark being perhaps the most recent semi-successful example.
But is Carson even interested? The famed neurosurgeon, who wrote controversial political books before emerging on the national scene last year when he challenged President Obama during the National Prayer Breakfast, has said he might be open to running if no satisfactory candidate emerges.
And "Carsonologists," as Robinson calls the devoted fans who parse every word from Carson's mouth like it was coming out of the Politburo, have noticed a subtle but potentially meaningful shift in his tense choice lately. Carson has gone from saying he "hopes" the right candidate will emerge to saying he "hoped" one would, perhaps indicating that he's moving toward a run. Robinson is trying to push Carson there by sending him 4,000 petitions a week urging him to get in the race.
Robinson, who proudly notes that he raised $6 million during his three runs for Congress, has spoken to Carson only three times, each of them brief. The first time, at a book signing, Robinson asked the would-be presidential candidate to sign not Carson's book, but Robinson's copy of a book about the successful campaign to draft Barry Goldwater.