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Ben Carson thinks slaves were immigrants who came to America in search of a better life.

The new Housing and Urban Development secretary was speaking to his employees in Washington, D.C., on Monday, about America as a “land of dreams and opportunity” when he added this: “There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even harder, even longer for less. But they too had a dream that one days their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great grandsons, great granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”

That Carson apparently sees no difference between voluntary immigration and enslaved men and women being brought to toil in America against their will should be shocking. But the world-renowned neurosurgeon has lots of weird ideas about slavery: that women who receive abortions are like slaveholders, for instance, and Obamacare is “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”

This is yet another head-scratching comment from Carson that proves you can be brilliant in one specific discipline (neurosurgery) and woefully ignorant in general.

June 26, 2019

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Welcome to TNR’s coverage of the Democratic debates.

Yes, the debates are upon us, a mere 16 months before voters will cast their ballots to decide whether President Trump should get a second term. In that time, babies will be conceived and born, the earth will orbit the sun and then some, and Democrats will, with any luck, choose a champion from the two dozen candidates running for the nomination. It all begins tonight, with the first of two debates in Miami this week featuring the 20 candidates—ten each round—who qualified to participate by either polling at 1 percent in three surveys or receiving 65,000 individual donations.

The staff of The New Republic will be watching the proceedings, offering running commentary and post-debate analysis, and hopefully answering any questions readers might have. Who’s up, who’s down? Who, if anyone, seems qualified to stall America’s spiraling descent into a fiery wasteland overseen by Trumpian kleptocrats? And who is Eric Swalwell, anyway? Pop by TNR’s Minutes blog at 9 o’clock EST tonight and tomorrow night to find out!