Ben Carson’s most surprising policy positions

Carson says he believes in socio-economic affirmative action — what he calls “compassionate action” — not affirmative action “attached to any ethnicity.”

“You know we’ve always pulled for the underdog, but I don’t think the underdog has a particular ethnicity attached to it,” he said.

“If we’re talking about applying to Yale University and, you know, my son is applying and, you know, the son of coal miner who got killed in a mine, who’s been working since he was 12 to help support for the family, is applying, and they have similar academic records, I’m going to give the edge to the coal miner’s son because he’s had a much harder road, and that’s the way the program should work. It should not be attached to any ethnicity.”

On the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country, Carson says he would  “of course allow [illegal immigrants] to have a pathway to citizenship. That’s the only humane and reasonable thing to do.”

He also said the U.S. should  “just look to our north” to figure out how to reform America’s immigration system.

“How does Canada do it and why don’t they have the same problems that we do?” he asked, rhetorically. “Because they have a very well formulated guest worker program. People come, seasonal workers come, as needed, and a lot are needed. They can come and they can go. They pay taxes. They’re registered. It seems like a perfectly reasonable solution. I’m not exactly sure why we have to make it a big political issue.”

On CNN Sunday, Carson said he was not a Republican but an independent. He explained to TheDC that he used to be a Democrat.

“I was a very strident Democrat, but then I felt that the party was leaving me behind,” he said.

“Because they used to believe a lot of the same things that I believe in terms of personal responsibility and they seem to have left that behind and that’s where I had to part company because, you know, I think that when you take the downtrodden and you kind of pat them on the head and say, ‘There, there you poor little thing, I’m going to give you this and this and this,’ I don’t think you’re doing them any favors. I think you’re actually keeping them in that subservient position. And I strongly disagree with that approach.”

Carson placed his exodus from the Democratic camp “toward the end of [Ronald] Reagan’s second term,” but conceded that he “thought there were some very good things about [Bill] Clinton.”

“He had the ability to be flexible,” Carson said.

Carson declined to say if he voted for Clinton.

“I don’t want to say whether I voted for him or not,” he said.