"The GOP base is a 3 year-old who ate 2 cupcakes and a juice box about a half hour ago," concludes freelance journalist and blogger Jeffrey Feldman, now that a new poll shows Ben Carson pulling up alongside an idling Donald Trump (at 21,000+ shares right now). "Top contenders in the GOP field are Donald Trump and a black neurosurgeon. What a crazy election this is," realizes David Ferris with E&E Publishing. "Trump's rival has finally emerged & he's not from the GOP establishment. Is Ben Carson proof of GOP voter rebellion?" wonders NYT's Jonathan Weisman. "Take this poll for what you will, but I wouldn't feel any more comfortable with Ben Carson than I would Donald Trump," confesses Jamil Smith at The New Republic. Although, as Gerald Seib with the Wall Street Journal observes, the poll also reveals a "Meaningful number: Two-thirds of Republican primary voters say they haven't made up minds yet."
On that note, don't forget: tomorrow night is CNN's much anticipated GOP debate, during which time the network hopes to "capture candidates' combative spirit." Doesn't take too much to read between the lines, there, does it. Also, check out these ads running against Trump in Iowa.
More than three years ago, Russia allegedly proposed that President Bashar al-Assad could step down as part of a Syrian peace deal, but according to the Guardian, the West ignored that offer. "If true West ignored Russian offer to have Assad step aside, price of that lost opportunity=220k dead & 11m displace," The Nation's Alec Luhn points out. Meanwhile, for those who remain in Syria, life is a nightmare. "Those refugees traversing Europe are the lucky ones," decides Megan O'Neill at The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Checking in on #BlackLivesMatter, Ta-Nehisi Coates penned a new must-read on the black family in the age of mass incarceration, and if you haven't clicked that yet, you must rectify that mistake immediately. Or as Deadspin's Greg Howard puts it, "DIDN’T KNOW IF I WANTED TO WATCH FOOTBALL OR PLAY FETCH WITH MY DOPE CAT BUT THAT NEW @tanehisicoates JUST DROPPED SO ..." Simulataneously, in a Medium post, Mark Luckie confesses what it's like to be a Black employee at a tech company. "The name of the black employees group at Twitter is 'Blackbirds,'" notices freelancer Jennifer Lee. And looking to the plight of another disadvantaged group, Capital New York shines a light on the fact that women remain underrepresented at the top levels of New York's Cuomo administration.