Is the dig-up-the-dirt model of campaign journalism no longer working? The attacks on Carson’s credibility by means of stories that quibble with relatively minor details in his past life seem not to be working. At least so far. Some of the attacks have been proven mostly wrong, as in the case of the West Point full scholarship story. Rich Lowry delving into Carson’s years at Yale haven’t caused much of a storm at all, coming on the heels of the other attacks.

But is it too early to come to any conclusion to how voters decide on a candidate’s suitability and credibility? An anonymous campaign staffer – maybe calling from South Florida? – told the media that these stories will eventually lead voters to realize that Ben Carson does not have the experience, consistency, or political chops to be president. And that their anonymous candidate has all of those things in abundance.

As Carson builds his lists of donors – like an online marketing guru deciding how much to spend to garnish leads for his grand launch – he has come a long way in his fundraising. But he has nowhere near the war chest of someone like Jeb Bush. His top asset is not his mind and skills as a surgeon, but rather seems to be his authenticity. His supporters trust him as an outsider and a man of faith. One would assume they believe strongly that he also has the mind to deal with a job like the presidency. And that he will be wise enough to choose his advisors well.

Does Carson have to amp up his debate performances? He has managed to have a precious handful of memorable moments in every debate. But they have not been those nail-the-topic policy ideas. Rather they have tended to display humor and graciousness over the process itself of campaigning. Carson is about social media and direct marketing, not mic-drop sound bites. Is his the new model of a successful campaign? It’s as if Carson’s campaign was designed by millennials, while targeting evangelicals and other conservatives. So very 2015.

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